Week 13 College Football Group of 5 Parlay: Our Best Bet, Including USC vs. BYU
Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: BYU Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall (3).
- Week 13 is here, which means it's time for some Group of Five action.
- Mike Calabrese broke down three games for a three-leg parlay, including San Diego State vs. Boise State and BYU vs. USC.
- Check out his betting breakdown for all three legs below.
Each week, to coincide with the release of the “Group of Five Deep Dive” under the Big Bets On Campus podcast banner, I’ll be sharing my Group of Five parlay of the week.
The G5 Parlay hit rock-solid gold last week. A clean sweep, including my pick of the year (thanks, Boise special teams!), made for one happy handicapper.
But with time running short in 2021, there’s no time to rest on my laurels.
Seeing as this is the time of year when most of the country is on the move, I’m smitten with the road warriors this week. I’m backing a feisty bunch of pick ax-wielding overachievers in Birmingham, believing in the Broncos on Black Friday, and banking on a BYU blowout in Los Angeles.
Hopefully, come Saturday night, you’ll all be thankful for this column.
Reported odds and specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.
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Boise State vs. San Diego State
College football is filled with odd scheduling quirks, but I have to say this one is just bizarre. This game kicks off at 9 a.m. local time.
For a San Diego State offense that will be lucky to crack 24 points in this game, some home-field advantage sure would have been nice. But when you mix the early kick on Black Friday with a stadium that is over 100 miles away from campus in Carson, California, you have a recipe for a nonexistent home-field advantage.
Then you pepper in this Boise State program that is rolling. The Broncos have won five of their last six, including wins over nationally-ranked BYU and Fresno State.
The balance they’ve achieved between the run and pass has made all the difference. George Holani, after a slow start to his 2021 campaign, has hit the century mark in three straight games.
Hank Bachmeier has done a great job protecting the football in the last month, with a 6:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in his last four starts. That’ll be critical against a salty San Diego State defense.
The Aztecs are top-five in every meaningful run defense metric and top-10 in every one against the pass.
But as good as the SDSU defense is, the offense is just as bad. It generates just 316 total yards per game (116th) and can’t pass worth a lick.
I’ll take the Broncos and their surging special teams (2 blocked punt TDs last week) against a listless SDSU offense.
Pick: Boise State -3
UTEP vs. UAB
I’m a major proponent of fading teams during bowl season that are coming off of a loss in their conference championship game. The wear and tear of an extra game mixed with an emotional letdown is a recipe for a poor performance.
In the last 10 bowl cycles, fading those teams has produced a handsome return (62.5% ATS).
This same concept can be extended to teams that have been eliminated from conference title competition late in the season. UAB was on the precipice of winning the C-USA West title, only to lose on the last possession with three seconds remaining to UTSA.
That is a gut punch and brings UAB’s motivation into question.
Enter a UTEP Miners team that is in the midst of its best season since 2014. The Miners have swung their pickaxes effectively on defense all season.
No team allows a lower completion percentage (51.9%), and it’s mastered the art of not allowing the big play. And that’s the key in this spot. UTEP has lost by two touchdowns-plus just twice this season (Boise, UTSA).
Offensively, if it does fall behind, quarterback Gavin Hardison is coming off a career game and is a big play waiting to happen.
The boom-or-bust passer has helped the UTEP aerial attack record 17 pass plays of 40+ yards. That’s the third-best total in all of college football, five more than Alabama has completed this season.
So, if UTEP does need a late game, backdoor rally, I feel confident it can pull it off.
Pick: UTEP +13.5
BYU vs. USC
The Trojans just got humiliated by their crosstown rival, proving on the defensive side of the ball there is no rock bottom for USC this season.
The blue blood program is now 113th in yards per play allowed. Teams can run at will, and the big play is always available to USC opponents through the air. Teams have hit 38 pass plays of 20 yards or more this season, placing the Trojans 88th nationally in that statistic.
The Cougars enter on an absolute tear and are well-positioned to take advantage of every USC deficiency.
Jaren Hall has led an offense that is averaging 53 points per game across its last three.
As for a look at the game-within-the-game, BYU is Pro Football Focus’ second-ranked pass-blocking team. USC’s pass rush? It’s only gotten home on 5.76% of opponents’ dropbacks (85th).
With time to operate and a highly-skilled featured back behind him (Tyler Allgeier), Hall is in for another big game.
USC has a substitute teacher at the helm, nothing to play for and a dreadful defense. BYU, meanwhile, loves when it gets a shot at Power Five opponents and will relish running the score up in this one.
Pick: BYU -7
College Football Week 13 Group of Five Parlay (+600)
Boise State -3
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