Miller: My 4 Favorite Under-the-Radar College Football Bets for Saturday
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: ECU Pirate
- Kyle Miller covers betting angles for four under-the-radar college football games.
- He's looking at ECU-Navy and Georgia State-Western Michigan, among others.
You’ll hear lots of complaints from college football fans about the lack of Top 25 matchups this week, but you won’t hear anything of the sort from me.
There’s money to be made all over the country in games involving smaller conference teams, so I don’t need marquee matchups to get me excited for college football.
The lines often aren’t as sharp and there aren’t as many eyes on the games. If you know personnel mismatches, coaching staffs and advanced stats for Group of Five teams, you can put yourself in a good position to fire and make some money.
Every Saturday, I’ll be putting out a few of my favorite bets in some under-the-radar games. This week I’ve got four, so let’s get to it.
Miller’s Favorite College Football Picks for Saturday
All odds below as of Friday at 2 p.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
ECU at Navy
- Spread: Navy -7.5
- Total: 53.5
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
East Carolina was one of my favorite teams coming into the season, and I’m putting my money where my mouth is this week.
Coach Mike Houston won an FCS national title at James Madison and is now tasked with rebuilding ECU.
He’s got a lot more talent on the roster than the Pirates’ 6-18 record over the last two years suggests. Quarterback Holton Ahlers is a dynamic athlete who can make this offense go when he’s on.
— ECU Athletics (@ECUAthletics) September 9, 2019
In their Week 1 game against NC State, East Carolina was out gained 505-269. I’m not going to look too hard into that outcome, because the Pirates were just at a large talent disadvantage.
They easily took care of Gardner-Webb in Week 2, racking up 365 rushing yards in the win. Similarly, I’m not putting much stuck in that game either. I was high on this team in the preseason and I haven’t been given a reason to change my mind yet.
Navy can be one of the most difficult teams to prepare for in the country with their unique triple option offense, but I’m still low on the Midshipmen after a down year last year.
I have Navy as a 2.5-point favorite in this one so I’m happy to take the points with ECU.
The Pick: ECU +7
Georgia State at Western Michigan
- Spread: WMU -8.5
- Total: 69
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
Giving up 582 yards and 51 points to a stale Michigan State offense is a really, really bad look. I was one of many disappointed bettors on Western Michigan last week that watched the Spartans run up and down the field through wide open holes all night long.
Fortunately, there are things to be learned by bettors even when taking a loss. I learned that this WMU team is not to be bet on until they show a sign of a defense.
The offense scored just 17 points in that game but they gained 352 yards against one of the best defenses in the entire country, so I was really encouraged by that. They do it with quarterback Jon Wassink and a really talented receiving corps led my Mississippi State transfer Keith Mixon Jr.
Keith Mixon Jr. doing Keith Mixon Jr. things.
— WMU Football (@WMU_Football) September 8, 2019
WMU doesn’t play fast, but is very explosive and rank 115th in rush play percentage.
This offense is built to put up big numbers through the air.
Georgia State started their season off with a monster upset against Tennessee. While that win is certainly impressive, they did allow 400 yards of offense to Tennessee.
The Panthers’ defense then gave up 42-points and 526 yards to FCS Furman, proving that this team has some defensive problems of its own.
They’ve given up a ton of explosive plays and rank dead last in defensive efficiency. That’s a very dangerous combo.
Georgia State’s offense is very up-tempo and run heavy. It’s a unit that ranks 27th in offensive efficiency and should be able to take advantage of Western Michigan’s leaky defense.
Tune in to ESPNU as the Panthers leads Tennessee 21-17 in the 3rd quarter. pic.twitter.com/aSjzenzWhn
— GSU Football (@GeorgiaStateFB) August 31, 2019
I made a play on The Action App on the over 65 earlier in the week and now this total sits at 70. I feel comfortable playing the over at that number as I don’t see either defense getting many stops.
The Pick: Over 70
Northern Illinois at Nebraska
- Spread: Nebraska -14
- Total: 54.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: Fox Sports 1
I’ve made it very well known that I’m low on Nebraska this season so instead of beating a dead horse, I’ll talk about the Northern Illinois Huskies. First time head coach Thomas Hammock returned to his alma mater to keep them in the upper echelon of MAC programs.
After a week one win over Illinois State, a good FCS team, NIU was challenged with heading to Salt Lake City to play Utah. The Utes are one of the top teams in the country and Northern was able to hang around with them. NIU wound up dropping the game 35-17 but they were down just four points at the half.
Quarterback Ross Bowers is a grad transfer from Cal and he looks like a huge upgrade over previous Husky quarterbacks. The makeup of this offense is unrecognizable to the last few years as they use a very slow tempo and lots of passing. This play below looks like a totally different team than the Rod Carey days:
TO. THE. HOUSE.
— #MACtion (@MACSports) September 7, 2019
Something isn’t right with Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez and I’m just not getting a good vibe out of Lincoln. NIU came to town in 2017 and beat the Cornhuskers so they won’t look past Northern, but I make this game much lower than 14 so I’m happy to take the two touchdowns.
The Pick: NIU +14
San Diego State at New Mexico State
- Spread: San Diego State -15.5
- Total: 50
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: Aggie Vision
Look, this might be the grossest game of the entire slate on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bet on it. These offenses rank 126th and 111th respectively in efficiency and 114th and 125th in explosiveness. To say these are two of the worst offenses in the country would be a massive understatement.
On the flip side, San Diego State has the No. 8 defense in yards per play allowed and hasn’t given up an explosive play. The combined total of San Diego State’s first two games is 43. The Aztecs beat Weber State 6-0 in Week 1 and allowed just 14 points to UCLA last week.
New Mexico State has a bad defense to pair with their anemic offense, but I don’t see this SDSU team scoring more than 35 points. And there’s no way NMSU scores more than the 14 UCLA tallied on the Aztecs last weekend.
This is a game that you bet, enter into The Action App, and don’t get a notification until the middle of the second quarter.
It’s a low total but as long as it’s at 49 or higher, it’s far too high for these two teams.
The Pick: Under 50