Miller: My 4 Favorite Under-the-Radar Betting Picks among Saturday’s College Football Games
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Pistol Pete
- Kyle Miller covers betting angles for four under-the-radar college football games.
- He's looking at Pitt-Ohio and Coastal Carolina-Kansas, among others.
While the world awaits Texas A&M-Clemson or LSU-Texas, 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.
Wyoming at Texas State
Collin Wilson and I were both very bullish on Texas State in the preseason, but the new Jake Spavital/Bob Stitt offense couldn’t get anything going against Texas A&M. It’s certainly excusable for a Sun Belt team to struggle against an SEC defense, but I was still hoping for a little more flash from the Bobcats.
What should also help Texas State’s offense ignite is facing a Wyoming defense that gave up 537 yards in their upset win over Missouri.
Beating an SEC team is definitely impressive for Wyoming, but that game was one of the flukiest wins from Week 1.
Wyoming managed just 389 yards, but the Tigers handed them three turnovers, including two in the red zone.
Quarterback Sean Chambers was impressive though, so Texas State will have to stop him first and foremost.
Wyoming is coming off a massive win against an SEC team and now must hit the road to San Marcos, Texas. That has let down spot written all over it and the Bobcats will be ready to take advantage.
They’ll rotate both quarterbacks to start the game and roll with the one that finds the most success — Gresch Jensen was much better in relief against Texas A&M and led Texas State to a backdoor cover.
I make the game +6 so I like Texas State at a touchdown or more given the tough spot for Wyoming.
The Pick: Texas State +7
Ohio at Pittsburgh
Pitt hung with Virginia for the first half in Week 1, but eventually got worn down. I was on Virginia in that one mostly due to some of the injuries Pittsburgh had suffered on the defensive side of the ball.
My biggest concern for Pitt is their defensive depth, so I knew Virginia would exploit them as the game went on.
Ohio — the MAC favorite — put up big offensive numbers against Rhode Island in Week 1. Led by quarterback Nathan Rourke, the Bobcats averaged 7.6 yards per play.
Rourke is one of my favorite QBs in the country and I have a ton of confidence in him going on the road and putting up some yards on a thin defense.
Pittsburgh is going through some massive changes in philosophy on the offensive side of the ball, moving from a run-heavy offense to new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s more pass happy attack.
Quarterback Kenny Pickett played really well early in his career but he’s talented and I believe Whipple will get the most out of him eventually. This week against a vulnerable defense is a good place to start.
I made a play on Pitt earlier in the week, but that number has come down under -6 as the week has gone on. I still find myself preferring Pitt on the spread but the over 54 has become my stronger feel.
Pitt was 14th in seconds per play last week, which is much faster than they’ve gone in the past. Ohio doesn’t move as fast but is extremely efficient under Rourke.
I expect this one to be in the high 50’s or low 60’s.
The Pick: Over 53.5
Coastal Carolina at Kansas
Coastal Carolina had one of the more interesting Week 1 box scores. CCU seemed to be the sharp side before kick off, out gained EMU, but still didn’t cover as a home dog of more than a field goal.
I was on the Chanticleers last week for that non-cover, but I’m not deterred one bit from that performance. I actually upgraded Coastal two points in my power ratings despite the home loss.
Quarterback Fred Payton threw for 304 yards but threw four interceptions. That’s worrisome for sure, but you have to assume he’ll tighten things up, and interceptions can be fluky. CJ Marable had a tough day on the ground, but he’s been a very reliable back throughout his career. He should have a decent time against this Jayhawks defense.
Speaking of they Jayhawks, Kansas barely squeaked by FCS Indiana State in Week 1. The Sycamores are a good FCS team, but Kansas really struggled against them, getting out gaining 365 to 344 and needing a late game interception to seal the win. Kansas really couldn’t move the ball at all and I don’t see that changing much despite Coastal not having a good defense.
I make this game Kansas -6 and the number opened around -10 on Sunday afternoon.
I made a play in The Action App right away and it looks like it’s the preferred side so far.
The line has dropped to around 7/7.5 and I would still play Coastal at those numbers.
The Pick: Coastal +7.5 or better
Western Michigan at Michigan State
Michigan State debuted its new-look and now-healthy offense in Week 1 against Tulsa, only there wasn’t much new-look about it. The Spartans just handed the ball off and ran into the line of scrimmage over and over.
When they did drop back to pass, quarterback Brian Lewerke looked uncomfortable. His offensive line didn’t give him much time, but he’s a senior now and needs to make more plays through the air.
Western Michigan had a much easier Week 1 game against Monmouth. Coach Tim Lester’s team cruised to an easy victory, but there isn’t a whole lot to glean from that showing given the opponent.
My big takeaway was the play of quarterback Jon Wassink. He completed 20 of his 25 pass attempts for 368 yards and five touchdowns. Yes, it’s only Monmouth, but that’s how you’re supposed to look against an inferior opponent
Both teams moved very slowly in week one, Western ranking 107th in seconds per play and Michigan State coming in 91st.
The slow pace of this game is going to limit the number of possessions and cause it to be low scoring, which the total at 46.5 indicates.
Any time you’re getting above two touchdowns in a game with this low of a total, you should first look at the dog.
Pick: Western Michigan +16