Miami (OH) vs UMass Odds & Picks: Target Saturday’s Total
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images. Pictured: Miami (OH) quarterback Brett Gabbert.
Miami (OH) vs UMass Odds
After defeating New Mexico State in Week 1, UMass was the talk of the town. Taisun Phommachanh led the Minutemen to their first season-opening win over an FBS opponent in four decades.
Unfortunately for them, the party stopped early in Week 2, with Payton Thorne and Auburn crushing the Minutemen, 59-14.
UMass will try and bounce back against Miami (OH), which is trying to bounce back itself from an embarrassing 38-3 loss against the “real” Miami.
Which team bounces back in Week 2? Let's dive into the Miami (OH) vs. UMass odds and make a pick in this college football betting preview for Saturday, Sept. 9.
Week 1 was ugly, but that’s OK. The RedHawks are still live to win the MAC.
As long as quarterback Brett Gabbert stays healthy, this roster is rock solid.
The running back room is good, with last season's top two rushers back. The wide receiver corps is deep, although someone needs to claim the alpha role after Mac Hippenhammer left for the NFL. The offensive line is going through turnover, but the return of Sam Vaughan and the transfer portal addition of John Young (Kentucky) eases those concerns.
The defense returns nine starters from 2022, including the entire defensive line and four defensive backs.
Also, the RedHawks have a surprisingly adept special teams unit. They finished 28th in Phil Steele’s ST rankings last season, and both specialists return for this year. It’s hard to find that in the MAC.
I don’t want to overreact to a pathetic Week 1 loss against a Power 5 squad. I’m still high on this team.
The pure talent disparity between the 2022 and 2023 Minutemen is obscene.
Head coach Don Brown brought in the 97th-ranked recruiting class in 2022. While that doesn’t seem like much, it’s the first time they’ve ranked in the top 100 since 2016.
Brown enters his second year with 15 starters returning, and the team looks competent for the first time in years. This is the most comfortable, cohesive UMass team since 2018, when it recorded a 4-8 record under head coach Mark Whipple.
The Minutemen added real Power Five transfers, too.
Wide receiver Mark Pope started 10 games at Miami in 2020. Defensive back Steven Ortiz was a four-star prospect when Minnesota recruited him. Defensive end Marcus Bradley was a four-star prospect when Vanderbilt recruited him.
Throw in Florida State transfer Shambre Jackson and Arizona transfer Jerry Roberts in the front seven, and you have a football team.
And, of course, the offense starts and stops with Phommachanh. He had stints with Clemson and Georgia Tech before transferring to UMass, recruited initially as a three-star dual-threat quarterback.
He hasn’t been stellar in the passing game, but he can complete a forward pass, a luxury in Amherst. He’s added 130 yards and two scores on the ground through two games, and UMass loves the added rushing value.
Also, Brown knows how to coach up a defense. He handles the secondary himself, and he’s got a good crew back there, led by cornerbacks Jordan Mahoney and Josh Wallace.
UMass isn’t a good team yet, but it isn’t the worst team in FBS anymore. The market still values it as the latter, meaning we should find good value with the Minutemen in future contests.
Miami (OH) vs. UMass
Betting Pick & Prediction
I’m expecting a rush-heavy game script here.
Gabbert can sling it, but the RedHawks prefer to run the football, doing so 56% of the time last year. There’s a new offensive coordinator, but Pat Welsh is in his 10th year with Miami (OH), so I don’t expect many scheme changes.
Besides, the Redhawks have an excellent running-back duo in Aveon Smith and Keyon Mozee.
Meanwhile, UMass wants to lean into its dual-action rush attack behind Phommachanh. It's called rush on 60% of its plays through the first two games.
When there’s a rush-heavy game script, I’m generally looking under. And the new rule changes will only exaggerate the clock drainage.
I’m also unsure if either team will run the rock efficiently.
Miami (OH) is retooling the offensive line, which hurts. Meanwhile, the RedHawks are loaded on the defensive line, which hurts UMass.
UMass is not yet an efficient rushing attack. And, as mentioned, Brown knows how to fix a defense. He got the Minutemen to 53rd in Rush Success Rate allowed in his first year, and I expect further improvements this season.
Our Action Analytics team projects this total at only 41, giving us a slight three-point edge over the market.
Look for the rushing attacks to move slowly while the clock moves quickly, and bet accordingly.