Week 9 College Football Group of 5 Parlay: Our Top Bet, Including BYU vs. Virginia
Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Viliami Tausinga (left) and Morgan Pyper (right).
- Another college football parlay means another Group of Five parlay from Mike Calabrese.
- Calabrese breaks down three games for his parlay, and it all wraps up with BYU vs. Virginia at 10:15 p.m. ET.
- Check out all three legs for this Week 9 parlay 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.
Last week, Florida State carpet-bombed UMass at Doak just as I predicted, but a last-second backdoor cover from Nevada really dampened what should have been a profitable card from this column.
But just like a team with no bye weeks between them and the end of the season, there’s no time for me to feel sorry for myself.
Motivated to deliver for our readers, I’m forecasting an old-school SWC shootout between Houston and SMU, a 60-minute score-a-thon between the Wahoos and Mormons in Provo, and a nasty defensive struggle between Florida Atlantic and UTEP in Boca Raton.
Reported odds and specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.
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UTEP vs. Florida Atlantic
Florida Atlantic has been a boom-or-bust offense all season long. The Owls have scored 38 points or more in four of their seven contests this season. In the other three, they’ve averaged 11.6 points per game, all losses.
What’s puzzling is that they recently faced one of C-USA’s best defenses (UAB) on the road and entered as a 3.5-point dog before exiting as a 17-point loser.
UTEP, statistically, is a better defense in every meaningful metric, yet it’s being listed as an 11-point underdog in Boca Raton.
I fully understand the perception that the Miners offense is held together with Scotch Tape and Elmer’s super glue. They like to run the ball a lot (62.3%, 14th), but they don’t do it very well (3.6 ypc, 90th).
And when they do put the ball in the air, it’s more or less a coin flip that someone on the team is coming down with it (55.3%, 107th).
But there’s a reason UTEP has become the Iowa of C-USA. It thrives in low-scoring brawls, evidenced by its 6-1 record straight up and its 5-2 record against the spread.
How good is this defense? The Miners rank top-10 nationally in the following metrics:
- Yards Per Play
- Opp. Completion Percentage
- Opp. Yards Per Carry
- Points Per Game Against FBS Opponents
If there was ever a team to “muck it up” and hang around in a one-possession game, it’s UTEP.
My power rankings called for this game to be FAU -4, so I’m happy to cross over two key numbers and nab the red-hot Miners at +11.
Pick: UTEP +11
SMU vs. Houston
This total is predicated on Houston’s pass defense, which has an impressive résumé.
Fueled by a ferocious pass rush (13.66% sack rate, 3rd), UH has limited teams to just 173 yards per game through the air. But that includes games against Grambling and Navy.
Digging deeper, UH hasn’t been disruptive from a “passes defended” standpoint (108th), and it’s only picked off opponents six times in seven games. So essentially, this unit is only elite at one thing: Getting to the quarterback.
Luckily for SMU, and by extension, this over, the Mustangs are the best pass-blocking team in the nation. No team has surrendered fewer sacks than SMU, and that includes teams that barely throw the ball at all (Looking at you, Service Academies). Despite attempting 39 passes per game, the Mustangs have allowed just two sacks in 2021.
So, with SMU likely to have the time to throw the ball all over the yard, the question for this over is can Houston pull its weight against a feisty Mustang defense?
Clayton Tune has gotten better as the year has gone on and is currently on a four-game run in which he’s tossed eight touchdowns against just one interception.
Southern Methodist is 99th against the pass and buried in the 100s in overall Havoc because it can’t create negative plays. If it weren’t for the interception rate, teams would be bullying the Mustangs up and down the field.
That’s why Tune’s mistake-free play as of late is critical in this spot. If he maintains a clean sheet, UH should be good for at least 28 points in this one, which would bode really well for this over.
Pick: Over 62
Virginia vs. BYU
Bronco Mendenhall cut his teeth as defensive coordinator, and when he replaced head coach Gary Crowton in Provo back in 2005, it was clear he wanted to give BYU an edge on that side of the ball.
Very quickly, he turned the Cougars into a defensive powerhouse, winning 22 games between 2006 and 2007.
But by the end of his tenure at BYU, Mendenhall’s teams were better known for offensive playmakers like Taysom Hill, Jamaal Williams, and Cody Hoffman. It took some time, but that level of offensive production has made its way to Charlottesville.
Virginia, led by All-American candidate Brennan Armstrong, has scored 40 points per game across its last four. In his last three performances alone, the lefty has accounted for 1,357 total yards and 12 touchdowns. Even a stout BYU defense is going to have major issues slowing this offense down.
And when the Cougars have the football, they’ll find the sledding easy, particularly on the ground. The Wahoo run defense is made of papier-mache.
Virginia checks in at 113th nationally against the run, while BYU grades out as the 16th-best run-blocking team in college football (PFF). Tyler Allgeier, in the midst of a hot streak (515 yards, 4 TDs in his last four), is primed to run all over UVA.
My power rankings called for this total to be set at 70, so I would play the over at any number up to 67.