College Football Moneyline Underdogs: Value on NC State & UConn in Week 2
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For the sixth straight season on our college football betting podcast, Big Bets on Campus, Collin Wilson and I pick our two favorite moneyline underdogs for each week's slate.
Last week, ULM got to the window for me as a nice sized underdog. We won't talk about what happened to Collin's Mean Green, who also had me fooled.
- 2018-22: 60-98 +8.3 units
- 2023: 1-1 +2.0 units
- Overall: 61-99 +10.3 units
For this week, Collin will get us started at noon in one of the highest-profile games of the day before I finish things up in primetime with a matchup that won't find its way onto many television sets.
If you're feeling lucky, a parlay of both pups pays out just over 7-1 at the time of writing this.
Wilson: NC State +250
The Notre Dame defense has yet to allow a touchdown through two games this season, limiting Navy and Tennessee State to a field goal apiece.
Meanwhile, quarterback Sam Hartman has dominated two inferior defenses.
Both will now face a major step up in competition, though, when Hartman rolls back into the Carolinas to take on a Wolfpack defense that's had historical success against the quarterback under coordinator Tony Gibson.
Gibson is the master of the 3-3-5 scheme, stunting gaps and hiding coverage with the ultimate goal of confusing opposing quarterbacks into mistakes. Over the past two seasons, Hartman has logged five touchdowns to six interceptions against NC State.
More importantly, two of the three worst performances from an adjusted completion rate standpoint for Hartman have come against the NC State defense. His sack rate has also skyrocketed against the Pack relative to his career average.
In fairness, he now has a better offensive line in a new scheme, but I still have questions about the wide receiver corps.
On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame must find a way to contain Virginia transfer quarterback Brennan Armstrong. The super senior frequently leaves the pocket, generating plenty of scrambles and busted play touchdowns.
A rule of thumb with betting on or against a quarterback like Armstrong is the fundamentals of the opposing defense. Through two games, the Notre Dame defense ranks 95th in tackle grading, per PFF, despite the lack of competition.
I also think new offensive coordinator Robert Anae will open things up more in the passing game this week.
I just think Notre Dame comes in a bit overvalued after hammering two cupcakes it should have hammered. Armstrong and the Wolfpack defense should make enough plays to give the team a very good shot of pulling off this upset in front of a raucous home crowd.
Stuckey: UConn +135
If not for a late pick six and a very questionable spot on a fourth-down attempt, Georgia State may have lost at home to Rhode Island in its opener.
And it's not like the Rams are an FCS powerhouse with former Maryland transfer Kasim Hill throwing for over 400 yards, which he's never done dating all the way back to his time at Maryland in 2017.
That's an ominous sign for this Georgia State defense moving forward and something new UConn quarterback Joseph Fagnano can exploit. He definitely should be much more comfortable in his second start for the Huskies, especially after facing a stout Power 5 defense in NC State.
Most importantly, the UConn defensive front seven should be able to slow down the heavy rushing attack of Georgia State, led by running back Marcus Carroll and quarterback Darren Grainger. If you can slow down the Panthers' ground game, you can cripple their offense.
Ultimately, I project this game as a coin flip, and I like some of the schematic advantages for UConn, so I'll happily take a shot on the small road pup down in Atlanta.