College Football Group of 5 Parlay for Week 10: 3 Picks for Air Force vs. Army, UAB vs. UTSA & More
Dustin Satloff/Getty Images. Pictured: Army’s Tyhier Tyler.
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, I ended up in the hospital — not because of Old Dominion’s offensive performance, but the Monarchs' no-show in Atlanta certainly didn’t help.
After a successful surgery to remove my gallbladder, I’m ready to get surgical on an intriguing Group of Five slate this week.
We start on Friday night with a New England rivalry hotter than a large Dunkin’ coffee, then get up early for the critical leg of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy race and wrap things up in Conference USA between two offenses that beat opponents in completely different ways.
Reported odds and specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.
Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.
UMass vs. UConn
To quote my co-host Mike Ianniello, “You don’t just walk into the ‘Rent and walk out with a victory.”
He says that, tongue in cheek, because Rentschler Field has not exactly been a house of horrors for opponents. The Huskies started playing there in 2003, and UConn is 65-54 straight up and 54-56-3 against the spread at home.
But this year feels different. For starters, UConn is 4-5 on the season under Jim Mora, with those four wins representing more victories than it's had in a single season since 2015.
It's also found a way to do two things really well. The Huskies rank 22nd in explosiveness on the ground. They run it just about as much as any non-service academy team (9th) and rack up 178 yards per game on the ground (46th).
And when they’re on defense, they refuse to give up the big play through the air. No team in the entire country has limited explosiveness in the passing game better than UConn. For a team that had absolutely nothing to hang its hat on in recent years, this is a major development.
UMass, playing on short rest, looks a whole lot like the UConn teams of old. It can't pass the ball. It can't run the ball. This team is averaging 11 points per game against FBS opponents, and that's skewed by a 24-point “outburst” against Liberty that included a defensive touchdown.
In short, this team is the worst of the worst on offense, and it may play three quarterbacks on Friday night.
When UMass is on defense it’s dealer’s choice time. The Minutemen are equally punchless when opponents run or when you pass. Teams can hit big plays however they choose.
I foresee UConn breaking out with a 31-point outburst and holding UMass to single digits as they tiptoe one step closer to bowl eligibility.
Pick: UConn -15.5
Army vs. Air Force
A quick PSA: Don’t bet the over in this game. In the Commander-in-Chief series between Army, Navy and Air Force, these teams have faced off 51 times since 2005. The under has gone 41-9-1 over that time, coming in under the closing number by an average of 7.5 points.
This game will be low-scoring (O/U 40), and that means that the underdog will be within range all game long. There’s also a weird body clock element in this one. They’re playing this one at 10:30 a.m. local time in the morning like it’s a CYO football game. That could contribute to a sleepy start as well.
As it relates to the teams on the field, Air Force had high hopes in August for a dream season. It hasn’t materialized. In the last month, Air Force has beaten Navy by just three, lost outright to Utah State and scored just 14 points against Boise State.
Army, meanwhile, nearly knocked off UTSA in September, losing in overtime to the Roadrunners. Had it won that game, the narrative about this team and its season might be completely different.
The Cadets have scored 90 points in the last two weeks. They’ve won four of the last five in this series. And this particular matchup has always been close, as the last four in the Air Force-Army series have all been played within four points.
There’s too much value in a low-scoring game to pass on the underdogs here with a head coach who has won 14 games outright as a ‘dog since 2014.
Pick: Army ML +225
UTSA vs. UAB
The Blazers can run the ball and stop the pass. DeWayne McBride has been a bellcow and the lynchpin for the Blazers offense. UAB ranks fifth in rushing explosiveness but just 43rd in Success Rate.
The Blazers are 34th in Defensive Passing Success Rate and have grounded aerial shows from Western Kentucky and Charlotte in recent weeks.
But for all of those good things, UAB found a way to lose to Rice, WKU and FAU in October.
With its quarterback room banged up, UAB has failed to put games away and it's been bitten in close contests. Given the UTSA offense’s ceiling, it'll need more than McBride to put the Roadrunners away at home.
Frank Harris, UTSA’s QB1, ranks 25th in QBR and has 10 total touchdowns in C-USA play against just four turnovers.
He distributes the rock to the best receiving corps in the Group of Five. Zakhari Franklin, De’Corian Clark and Joshua Cephus have 18 receiving touchdowns combined this season.
Brenden Brady is also coming off of a career game at running back. The senior tailback went for 112 yards and a pair of scores in the Roadrunners’ four-point win over North Texas. They’ll need that balance to get by the C-USA's best defense.
This game opened as a pick'em and has moved to UTSA laying points. I would play this all the way up to -3, but I certainly like it a lot more below that key number.