Bethune-Cookman vs Miami Betting Picks & Odds: Expect Plenty of Fireworks
Via Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Van Dyke #9 of the Miami Hurricanes looks to pass against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at Hard Rock Stadium on October 23, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
- Miami takes on Bethune-Cookman to open up its 2022 college football season.
- Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke enters the year as a Heisman dark horse and will look to kick the season off on a high note.
- Alex Hinton breaks this game down and shares his top betting pick below.
Bethune-Cookman vs. Miami Odds
After three years, Miami let go of Manny Diaz after he went 21-15 in his tenure. Out goes the turnover chain and in comes Mario Cristobal from Oregon, as he will help Miami regain its swagger. Cristobal won two national championships as an offensive lineman at Miami in 1989 and 1991.
Miami had a strong close to its 2021 recruiting class and was very active in the transfer portal after hiring Cristobal. His first opportunity to get a win as Miami's head coach will come against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday.
Bethune-Cookman is coming off of a 2-9 season in 2021. Head coach Terry Sims enters his seventh season, as the Wildcats look to rebound.
Bethune-Cookman will enter as a heavy underdog at Miami, but I have my eye on the total in this matchup instead.
New Wildcats Offense Under Canales
Sims did not rest on his laurels following last season's disappointment, as he brought in Mike Canales to serve as offensive coordinator.
Bethune-Cookman also hit the transfer portal hard and brought in several former FBS players.
There are two quarterbacks to keep an eye on for Bethune-Cookman: Jalon Jones and Walter Simmons.
Jones was a four-star recruit out of high school and signed with Florida. He then transferred to Jackson State, where he threw for 1,898 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions while rushing for 643 yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons.
Simmons transferred in from East Carolina but did not play a down for the Pirates. Both likely will get time against Miami, but I expect Jones to start.
Bethune-Cookman has a pair of undersized backs leading its backfield in Que’shaun Byrd — who is 5-foot-8 and 170 pounds — and Jimmie Robinson III — who is 5-foot-7 and 175 pounds.
Byrd ran for 618 yards and five touchdowns while catching 20 passes for 114 yards last season. Robinson ran for 229 yards and had six touchdowns.
Darryl Powell is the team's vertical threat at 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds.
However, the team's best returning pass catchers are both tight ends.
Senior Kemari Averett began his career at Louisville. Last season, he had 888 and 11 touchdowns to put himself on the radar of NFL scouts.
Kahlil Overton was originally an FIU Panther and had 150 yards and a touchdown last season. Averett is 6-foot-6 and Overton is 6-foot-5, as both will be utilized as mismatches in the red zone.
Sims hopes his crew of transfers can boost an offense that averaged 24 points per game last season.
Hill-Robinson Leads the Bethune Cookman Defense
The defense did not provide much help, surrendering 36.2 points per game. The Wildcats held just two opponents under 30 points last season.
Defensive back Omari Hill-Robinson is the leader in the secondary. He is a preseason BoxToRow All-American and All-SWAC First Team Selection, along with Averett.
He had a SWAC-leading four interceptions to go along with 36 tackles and eight pass breakups.
He is joined in the secondary by juniors Caleb Sutherland, Uriah Ratliff and Crishun Jackson.
TreSean Smith transferred from Louisville and could be in the mix for playing time, as well.
At linebacker, Bethune-Cookman has three former FBS players in Ge'Mon Eaford (Oregon), Rosendo Louis (South Carolina) and Justin Michel (FIU). Eaford and Louis were both four-star recruits out of high school.
Van Dyke Headlines the Canes Offense
Miami returns one of the nation's best quarterbacks in Tyler Van Dyke. He threw for 2,931 yards, 25 touchdowns, six interceptions and completed 62.3% of his passes in 2021.
Van Dyke is one of the best deep ball passers in the country, but he will enter the season with questions surrounding his supporting cast.
Wide receiver Key'Shawn Smith is Miami's leading returning receiver after hauling in 26 receptions for 332 yards and three touchdowns.
Slot receiver Xavier Restrepo also has experience, with 24 receptions for 372 yards and two touchdowns.
Clemson transfer Frank Ladson could fill the role as the team's deep threat and form a deadly combination with Van Dyke.
Former four-star recruits Michael Redding, Brashard Smith, Romello Brinson and Jacolby George are among those pushing for playing time, as well. There is a lot of talent in the room, but Miami needs a few of them to step up and replace the production of Charleston Rambo and Mike Harley.
Miami will return one of the nation's most talented tight end duos in Will Mallory and Elijah Arroyo. Mallory had 30 receptions for 347 yards and four touchdowns last season. Arroyo caught just five passes last year, but could emerge as a big contributor this year.
Highly-touted freshman Jaleel Skinner could crack the rotation, as well.
It is unlikely to affect the outcome this week, but depth at running back could become an issue for Miami down the road. The 'Canes will be without Don Chaney Jr. and four-star freshman TreVonte' Citizen this week.
Jaylan "Rooster" Knighton and Ole Miss transfer Henry Parrish will be the lead backs to begin the year. Knighton ran for 561 yards and eight touchdowns on 3.9 yards per carry, while Parrish ran for 553 yards and three touchdowns on 5.3 yards per carry in Oxford.
Miami will look to upgrade a rushing attack that ranked 97th last season. That will start with an offensive line that returns several players with starting experience, including Jalen Rivers, John Campbell and DJ Scaife. The anchor of the unit is Zion Nelson, but he is questionable for Saturday.
Miami Defense Looking for New Playmakers
Defensively, Miami added a number of transfers, such as defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor (West Virginia), defensive tackle Darrell Jackson (Maryland), defensive end Mitchell Agude (UCLA), linebacker Caleb Johnson (UCLA) and cornerback Daryl Porter Jr. (West Virginia).
Miami had been one of the nation's best teams in creating Havoc over the last few years, but took a step back in 2021, as it could not replicate the pressure created by Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche, among others.
Miami hopes to get a boost from its crew of transfers, particularly Mesidor and Jackson up front. Internal improvements from a talented group of sophomores will improve the defense as former five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor has a chance to emerge as a force in his second year.
Fellow former five-star James Williams is back healthy following a season-ending knee injury. He gives Miami the versatility to roam as a hybrid safety/linebacker at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds.
Junior cornerback Tyrique Stevenson is the leader of Miami's secondary and should contend for all-conference honors.
Bethune-Cookman vs. Miami Betting Pick
When Miami faces FCS competition, it has dominated in recent years. In its last five games against FCS opponents, Miami has outscored its opponents 320 to 16. That includes 41-13 (2017) and 63-0 (2019) victories over Bethune-Cookman.
With that in mind, I see a few ways to attack this game.
I like Miami to cover, but with such a large spread, there could be room for Bethune-Cookman to get a backdoor cover if Miami takes its foot off the gas in this potential lookahead spot (Texas A&M on deck).
I prefer betting the over because Miami is capable of scoring 63 by itself.
However, it can also hit if Miami scores 50-55 points with about 10 points from Bethune-Cookman. I expect points on the board in this Sunshine State battle.