Week 10 Group of 5 College Football Parlay: Our Top Bet, Including Troy vs. South Alabama & SMU vs. Memphis
Bobby McDuffie/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jalen Tolbert.
- Another week of the college football season means another Group of Five parlay from Mike Calabrese.
- Calabrese has three legs he likes for this week's parlay, including picks for South Alabama vs. Troy and SMU vs. Memphis.
- Check out all three legs for his bet 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, a furious UTEP comeback helped cash our parlay at 6-1. Special thanks to Gavin Baechle for his perfectly executed fourth-quarter onside kick. If not for his expert footwork, the easy overs experienced in SMU-Memphis and UVA-BYU would have been for naught.
This week I’m sprinkling in a moneyline underdog to beef up the payout for our readers.
In total, I’m expecting another AAC shootout, a Service Academy showdown to buck the recent low-scoring trend and a top-notch performance from a Sun Belt afterthought that continues to be one of the nation’s most underappreciated teams.
Reported odds and specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.
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Army vs. Air Force
Slow, plodding, triple-option offenses colliding in Colorado Springs; not exactly an over bettor’s dream headline, especially when you consider that the Black Knights and Falcons have exceeded this 37 number just once since 2014.
But this season is different.
As The Action Network’s Collin Wilson has pointed out, Air Force ranks just 82nd in defensive stuff rate. Army isn’t much better, checking in at 59th nationally.
And in a game where a long touchdown or two would do wonders to aid the over, the Falcons are more than happy to oblige. Air Force is 76th in terms of allowing running plays of 30 yards or more this season.
Quickly survey the Army schedule, and it’s easy to see that the over has been a profitable play in 2021. The Cadets have already played in four games that have exceeded 50 points, including shootouts with Western Kentucky and Wake Forest that produced 199 points in those two contests alone.
My power rankings call for this total to come in at 41, which is a fairly significant difference in a game with a total this low.
Both these teams like to start fast, with Army punching in 20.3 points per game in the first half. For that reason, I’d also advocate taking a look at the first half total over, which is currently sitting at 19.5 over at WynnBET.
Pick: Over 37
SMU vs. Memphis
The Mustangs may be the best “road offense” in the nation. The Ponies are piling up the points when they come down off the Hilltop, scoring 38 points per game on the road this season.
Tanner Mordecai, quite possibly the most impactful transfer of 2021, has thrown 14 touchdown passes in four road games this season while accruing a QBR of 76.1 away from Dallas. That’s the seventh-highest road QBR of any passer in the nation.
But it takes two to tango, and this over play comes down to the health of Seth Henigan. The freshman quarterback has made the Tigers offense sing. With him as their QB1, the Tigers are averaging 36 points per game.
As of publication, his status remains in doubt for Saturday. He’s been a limited practice participant since Monday, according to College Fantasy Update.
If he does play, I believe this over will fall early in the fourth quarter. Not only can both teams score, and score quickly, but their special teams could lead to non-offensive touchdowns.
Calvin Austin III is one of the nation’s best punt returners, and SMU both scored and allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown last week. Nothing gives an over a shot in the arm like a non-offensive touchdown.
At the very least, SMU’s 119th-ranked kickoff coverage team should serve up ideal field position for the Memphis offense.
Pick: Over 70.5
South Alabama vs. Troy
South Alabama is four points away from being one of the best stories in college football. In his first season, Kane Wommack has already exceeded last year’s win total in just eight games. And that includes a pair of two-point losses (ULL, TSU).
In short order, the former Indiana defensive coordinator has turned the Jags defense into one of the Sun Belt’s best.
South Alabama ranks 19th nationally in total defense, 30th in yards per carry allowed, and the scary part is its pass defense may be even better (55% completions, picking off nearly 5% of throws). This has led to a top-25 showing in turnover margin on the season.
And for as well as their defense has played, offensive coordinator Major Applewhite now has the Jags’ offense rolling in Sun Belt play. In its last four games, USA is averaging 33.5 points per game.
Jalen Tolbert has been doing the most damage, averaging 10 receptions and 141 yards per game during that torrid stretch. He’s nabbed five touchdowns in his last four and appears headed for the NFL next season.
If the Jags had upset Louisiana earlier in the season, this spread could easily be flipped in their favor. My power rankings call for it to be USA -3.5, so I’m more than happy to take the moneyline and tack that onto the card.