Miller: How I’m Betting Hawaii-Nevada & Other Under-the-Radar Week 5 CFB Games
Jennifer Buchana, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Cole McDonald
- Kyle Miller covers betting angles for four under-the-radar college football games on Saturday, September 28,
- He's looking at BYU-Toledo and Cincinnati-Marshall, among others.
Everyone will have their eyes on Virginia-Notre Dame, USC-Washington, or Ohio State-Nebraska, but don’t forget that there’s plenty of value to be had in games involving smaller conference teams.
The lines often aren’t as sharp and there aren’t as many eyes on the games. If you know personnel mismatches, coaching staffs and advanced stats for Group of Five teams, you can put yourself in a good position to fire and make some money.
Every Saturday, I’ll be putting out a few of my favorite bets in some under-the-radar games. This week I’ve got four, so let’s get to it.
Miller’s Favorite College Football Bets
All odds above as of Friday at 7 a.m. ET and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
BYU at Toledo
Spread: BYU -2.5
Time: 12 p.m. ET, ESPN+
BYU has faced one of the toughest schedules in the entire country so far this season, taking on power five teams in each of their first four games. They did well to come out of that stretch 2-2 and now step down in competition against Toledo from the MAC.
Toledo’s offense has been great as usual so far this season, ranking 10th in yards per play, 13th in explosive play percentage, and 26th in efficiency. They lean heavily on their rushing attack led by running back Bryant Koback. Quarterback Mitchell Guadagni has been solid in the passing game and through the air.
The problems for the Rockets will start to show up once BYU has the ball. Toledo’s defense really struggles; ranking 107th in both yards per play and explosive plays allowed. While the BYU offense hasn’t put up big numbers so far this year, quarterback Zach Wilson should be able to thrive against lesser competition.
I make this game BYU -9 so I jumped on the -2.5 early in the week. I’m somewhat surprised that the number is still under a field goal but I’m not deterred. I suggest backing the Cougars at -3 or better.
The Pick: BYU -2.5
FAU at Charlotte
Spread: Charlotte -1
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network
One of my favorite group of five teams so far this season is Charlotte. Will Healy has taken over the reigns and immediately brought an exciting offense to the 49ers. Charlotte currently ranks 21st in yards per play, 21st in explosive play percentage, and 43rd in offensive efficiency.
Those are massive improvements over what we’ve seen in the past from Charlotte.
The FAU defense has been particularly bad so far this season. A unit that looked primed to improve greatly has actually regressed from last season. Charlotte has a top-20 run play percentage and FAU can’t stop anyone on the ground. Charlotte is currently 13th in explosive rushing play percentage while FAU is 117th in stopping rushing explosiveness.
My line on the is game right around where it currently sits but I see a big advantage for Charlotte when they have the ball. I expect the 49ers to win this one at home on Saturday.
The Pick: Charlotte -1
Hawaii at Nevada
Spread: Nevada -2.5
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Nevada has a big win against Purdue on their resume but the box score shows that they were extremely fortunate to win that game. They were out gained badly and benefited from multiple Boilermaker turnovers. In fact, I’ve actually moved Nevada down slightly in my power ratings since the start of the season.
Hawaii, on the other hand, has risen four points in my power ratings thanks to strong performances against the Pac-12. Quarterback Cole McDonald has been electric as always but he’s thrown far too many interceptions. I’m not expecting that to continue, as I believe he’s one of the top quarterbacks in the country.
I’ve loved the Warriors receiving corps since the preseason so you know I’m all in on this passing attack.
The Nevada defense isn’t a complete disaster but they can certainly be exposed by a strong passing attack. The Wolfpack rank 117th in defending explosive passing plays so expect Cole McDonald and the Hawaii receivers to hit a ton of big plays.
I have this game at a pick so once I saw a +3 pop for Hawaii I jumped on it on The Action App. I don’t think Nevada’s offense is capable of keeping up if their defense allows this game to become a shootout.
The Pick: Hawaii +2.5
Cincinnati at Marshall
Spread: Cincinnati -4
Time: 5 p.m. ET, Facebook Live
There’s sure to be plenty of running the football when Cincinnati and Marshall meet up on Saturday, as these teams are both in the top-40 in rush play percentage. Both of these defenses are very good against the run so I’m not expecting a ton of points in this one.
Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder hasn’t quite been able to replicate the passing success that he enjoyed last season and the Bearcat offense has suffered because of it. The defense for Cincinnati will be best unit in this football game though so anything Ridder and the offense can add is just gravy.
The main thing I want to point out in this game is the luck, or lack thereof, that each of these defenses have experienced this season. Marshall ranks 43rd in points per play allowed but just 75th in yards per play allowed. That shows me that they have been fortunate to not give up more points than they have. Conversely, Cincinnati’s defense ranks 67th in points per play and 36th in yards per play. The Bearcats are have been pretty unlucky in regards to giving up points.
I have Cincinnati favored by six in this game and would play them at the current number. Look for Marshall’s bend-don’t-break defense to regress back to the mean this week against Cincinnati.
The Pick: Cincinnati -4