College Football Betting Pace Report: Week 3 Over/Unders to Watch, Featuring Troy vs. App State
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Appalachian State running back Camerun Peoples.
After an insane Week 2 with loads of upsets around the country, Week 3 might not provide us with a premier matchup between two blue bloods like Alabama and Texas. But it does feature a ton of underrated matchups.
And a few of those underrated matchups are very intriguing from a pace perspective, giving value to the over/under.
With head coach and coordinator changes, the transfer portal and new quarterbacks in new systems, we can't really rely on each team's pace numbers from last season. Instead, we have to take it on a case-by-case basis. So, until Week 4, plays per minute and plays per game numbers will not be provided.
Using those metrics, along with a look at the weather and key injuries, the goal is to hopefully help bettors beat the market before Friday and Saturday morning.
Now, let's dive into Week 3.
Ohio vs. Iowa State
-110o / -110u
|Iowa State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Iowa State played one of the best defenses in the country last week, so you could give them a pass. But the performance was pretty abysmal, as it gained omly 3.9 yards per play.
Brock Purdy, Breece Hall and Charlie Kolar are gone. Two starting offensive linemen have departed. Even with those players in the lineup, the Cyclones finished just 50th in Success Rate and 33rd in EPA/Play.
Hunter Dekkers — a former four-star quarterback — now takes over under center. He's a big lefty with great arm strength, but he's unproven. He averaged just 4.8 yards per attempt and threw two picks against Iowa on Saturday.
Iowa State brings back its top target in wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson, who hauled in 83 passes and posted an 83.4 PFF receiving grade in 2021. However, everyone else is gone.
Plus, the rushing attack — even with Hall in the backfield in 2021 — ranked 51st in EPA/Rush, 86th in Rushing Success Rate, 72nd in Offensive Line Yards and 105th in Stuff Rate Allowed.
Ohio brings back nine starters from last year's defense that was outstanding at not giving up big plays. The Bobcats ranked 15th nationally in explosiveness allowed and ninth in passing explosiveness allowed.
Penn State lit it up Saturday, but the Iowa State offense is nowhere near as explosive as Penn State, especially with the amount of production it lost.
Ohio brings back starting quarterback Kurtis Rourke, but that's about it. Both of its starting running backs are gone, and only one wide receiver who caught over 20 passes is back.
The Bobs struggled in a big way against Penn State, as they gained 4.0 yards per play and Rourke averaged only 4.1 yards per attempt.
Even though Iowa State lost a ton of starters on defense, it still has All-American edge rusher Will McDonald, who posted 11.5 sacks in 2021 and an 85.3 PFF pass-rushing grade.
He will also be going up against two tackles who have started a combined nine total college football games.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 23, 2021
Matt Campbell does not play a fast pace with the Cyclones ranking 105th nationally at 2.18 plays per minute in 2021. Ohio played even slower than Iowa State at 2.12 plays per minute last season. So, without many explosive plays, points are going to have come by long sustained drives.
I have just 42.6 points projected for this game. I like the value on under 49.5 points and would play it down to 47.5.
Pick: Under 49.5 (Play to 47.5)
Colorado vs. Minnesota
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Minnesota plays at one of the slowest paces in the country under offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, but a good lesson in betting totals is that pace is not the end-all be-all for deciding which side to pick.
There are a number of other different factors to consider, and one of those is efficiency. Are these two teams efficient on offense? In Minnesota's case, yes it is.
The Golden Gophers played two cupcakes in New Mexico State and Western Illinois and put up a combined 100 points, so there's not a lot we can glean from that.
If we go back to last season, the Gophers possessed a very efficient rushing attack, averaging 4.3 yards per carry and ranking inside the top 30 in both Power Success Rate and Stuff Rate Allowed.
Minnesota has all of its skill position players back on offense. Tanner Morgan returns at quarterback after averaging 8.1 yards per attempt and a 76 PFF passing grade in 2021. His top target, Chris Autman-Bell, comes back, along with his four other top pass-catchers.
Minnesota runs the ball 68% of the time, so it's important that it also brings back Mohamed Ibrahim after he suffered a season-ending injury in the first game against Ohio State in 2021.
If we go back to Ibrahim's last healthy season in 2020 — a shortened season — he rushed for over 1,000 yards, averaged 5.3 yards per carry and had an 83.4 PFF rushing grade along with 15 touchdowns in just seven games.
NEEDED 1, GOT 50 💪
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 3, 2021
The Minnesota rushing attack now gets to face a Colorado defense that just gave up 425 rushing yards and 6.2 yards per carry to Air Force's triple option. So, what do you think Ibrahim and the Gopher rushing attack is going to do?
I mean, this is a Colorado defense that allowed 6.1 yards per play and ranked 91st in Success Rate Allowed, 120th in Havoc and 86th in EPA/Play Allowed in 2021.
Not only that, but the Buffs return just five starters from that defense.
Minnesota is replacing a lot of production from a to- 20 defense a season ago, especially in the front seven. It lost three starters on the defensive line and top tackler Jack Gibbens at linebacker. Colorado is a rush-heavy offense, so it could find some success on the ground.
If Colorado got run over that badly by Air Force's triple option, I don't know how it's going to stop Minnesota's rushing attack. Even though the Gophers' pace is very slow, they should be able to move the ball with ease at six yards per play.
I have 61.3 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 47 points and would play it up to 55.
Pick: Over 47 (Play to 55)
Troy vs. Appalachian State
-105o / -115u
|Appalachian State Odds|
-105o / -115u
College GameDay heads to Boone, North Carolina, this week. and who could blame them? Not only did the Mountaineers pick up a massive upset over Texas A&M, but they also own one of the most picturesque backdrops in college football.
Stadium of the day, Appalachian State
📍Boone, North Carolina
🏟 Kidd Brewer Stadium
🗣 35.1k pic.twitter.com/aMQ75rBoYh
— College Football Hype (@CFB_Hype) May 4, 2021
Appalachian State needs to refocus after the big win because one of its Sun Belt rivals is coming to town in Troy.
The Mountaineers showed their offensive capabilities in their first game against North Carolina, putting 61 points on the board and averaging a whopping 8.22 yards per play against an ACC school.
Then, against Texas A&M, they controlled the ball and ran 82 plays to gain only 315 yards — but that was against one of the best defenses in the country.
Now, they're hosting a Sun Belt opponent, so it's time to take the weighted donut off the bat and step up to the plate to show what this offense is really capable of.
Clemson transfer Chase Brice is back at quarterback after posting a stellar 2021 season H.e averaged 8.5 yards per attempt, threw for 27 touchdowns and had a 78.6 PFF passing grade in 2021.
However, Appalachian State has a dynamic pair of running backs in Camerun Peoples and Nate Noel, who were second- and first-team All-Sun Belt last season, respectively. The pair combined for over 2,000 yards and 18 touchdowns while averaging over 5.5 yards per carry.
That allowed Appalachian State to rank 39th in Offensive Line Yards and 23rd in Finishing Drives. Well, guess what? The Mountaineers also have four starters back on the offensive line this year.
Troy was solid against the run last year, ranking 16th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. However, in its game against Appalachian State last season, the Mountaineers ran for 232 rushing yards on 55 carries.
The Trojans are in a new system with new offensive coordinator Joe Craddock, who previously served as the offensive coordinator at SMU from 2015-17 and then at Arkansas for the 2018-19 season.
In his three seasons at SMU, Craddock's offenses ranked top-25 in pace, running close to 80 plays per game. He'll have a whole host of weapons to work with at Troy because the Trojans return nine starters on offense.
Gunnar Watson is back as the starting quarterback, but West Virginia and Western Kentucky transfer Jarret Doege is waiting right behind him after transferring in.
This offense ranked outside the top 100 in a lot of categories, but it finished 44th in explosiveness. The Appalachian State defense, meanwhile, ranked 109th in explosiveness allowed and returns only six starters.
Plus, Troy finished 42nd in plays per minute in 2021, so it will be well-equipped to play in Craddock's fast-paced offense.
I have 60.4 points projected for this game, so I like the value on over 53.5 points. I would play it up to 54.5.
Pick: Over 53.5 (Play to 54.5)