Miller: My 4 Favorite Under-the-Radar College Football Bets for Week 10
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Darrell Taylor.
Everyone will have their eyes on Oregon-USC, Georgia Florida and Utah-Washington this weekend, but don’t forget that there’s plenty of value in some less heralded games.
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 position yourself well to 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 jump in.
Week 10 College Football Bets
Buffalo at Eastern Michigan
- Odds: Buffalo -1
- Total: 49.5
- Time: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPNU
Buffalo has been a very up-and-down team so far in 2019 but I think the Bulls are on the right track. The strength of Buffalo is the ground game, but last week they beat an improved Central Michigan team 43-20 with a more balanced approach. Quarterback Kyle Vantrease hit some passes that loosened up a pretty stout CMU run defense.
Balance from Buffalo makes it a much more dangerous team. This week they head to Ypsilanti to face one of the worst defenses in the nation. Buffalo running backs Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks will have plenty of room to run against Eastern Michigan.
If the Eagles decide to commit more defenders to stop the run, Vantrease and the Bulls’ improved passing game will be able to hit some passes. Buffalo also boasts top-20 offensive and defensive lines in the country so they’ll be able to dominate the line of scrimmage in this one.
The biggest factor in this game may end up being the weather. While Buffalo is getting closer to achieving balance on offense, Eastern Michigan can do nothing but pass the ball. The Eagles run game is nonexistent, and Buffalo has one of the top run defenses in the group of five.
The forecast in Ypsilanti is calling from strong winds and a bit of rain. The wind will make it very difficult for Eastern to pass the ball. If this game turns into a battle of run games, Buffalo has a massive advantage. I make the Bulls a 2-point favorite in this game so I’m getting a bit of value here.
Pick: Buffalo -1 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Troy at Coastal Carolina
- Odds: Troy -1
- Total: 60.5
- Time: Saturday, 3 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN3
Coastal Carolina’s defense started the season off with a few salty performances, but they it hasn’t been the same unit since giving up 56 points to Appalachian State in Week 5. This week they catch Troy, one of the top Group of Five offenses.
Troy excels at in the passing game as quarterback Kaleb Barker stands behind the No. 16 offensive line in the nation by line score. The Chanticleers will struggle to get pressure so they’ll have to rely on their secondary to stop Troy through the air. Unfortunately for them, that secondary has been really leaky this season.
Coastal runs the ball more than almost anyone in the nation and is pretty good at it. The trouble for them in this matchup is that Troy’s only strength on defense has been stopping the run. Although they gave up an obscene 390 rushing yards to Georgia Sate last week, I trust Troy’s run defense in this one because Coastal is so one dimensional.
Chanticleers’ quarterback Fred Payton is likely to miss his second straight game this week and his backup hasn’t been nearly as effective as him.
I make Troy a 4.5-point favorite in this game so I was happy to grab them at a pick earlier in the week. The line hasn’t moved as much as I thought it would, likely because of Troy’s most recent loss to Georgia State, so I’d still play this one at -1. As long as we can avoid another ghastly performance from their run defense, Troy should win this game.
Pick: Troy -1 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
UAB at Tennessee
- Odds: Tennessee -12
- Total: 48
- Time: Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPNU
This isn’t the same UAB team that was the darling of the Group of Five a year ago. The Blazers have played practically no one this season but things are about to ramp up on their schedule. This week they head to Rocky Top to play a resurgent Tennessee squad.
I’m quite a bit lower than the market on the Blazers so my raw power ratings are actually suggesting a play on Tennessee in this game. You’ll notice on The Action App however, that I invested in UAB +11.5 earlier in the week. That’s because I found some very intriguing data in the advanced metrics that will give UAB an edge.
As with most football games, this one all starts in the trenches. Now, it’s pretty rare to find a C-USA team that has this big of an advantage over an SEC team. UAB ranks second in the nation in defensive line score (a stat that averages all the defensive line metrics from Football Outsiders) while Tennessee is just 77th in offensive line score. That means the Blazers will be able to control the line of scrimmage and points should be hard to come by for Tennessee.
When UAB has the ball, it’ll look much more like your typical C-USA/SEC matchup. They’ve moved the ball relatively well but remember, UAB has played one of the worst schedules in the nation. SP+ is a metric that’s adjusted for opponent and it ranks the Blazers’ offense 105th in the country. Meanwhile, Tennessee has the 34th best defense according to the same metric.
Add all of that to the fact that both teams move at a very slow pace and run the ball frequently and you’ve got a great recipe for an under. This total is a few points bit too high so I snagged the under 48 earlier in the week.
Pick: UAB/Tennessee under 48 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]
Arkansas State at UL-Monroe
- Odds: Arkansas State -2
- Total: 67.5
- Time: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPNU
We’ll head back to the Sun Belt for the final pick of Week 10. This game is the polar opposite of UAB/Tennessee as we’ve got some high powered offenses that can strike quick. Arkansas State’s offense has taken a bit of a hit since freshman quarterback Layne Hatcher took over for Logan Bonner in Week 5 but Hatcher has been serviceable.
Arkansas State head coach Blake Anderson always has his offenses going up tempo and relying on the passing game. The Red Wolves have had ton of injuries in the backfield so they’ve had to lean on the pass even more. Luckily they got running back Marcel Murray back a few weeks ago and he’s helped the offense achieve some balance.
It may sound harsh, but UL-Monroe’s defense is an atrocity. The Warhawks have no strengths and have been absolutely gutted by everyone they’ve played. A matchup with this high-powered offense isn’t likely to reverse that trend. The Warhawks’ defense is at a big disadvantage in the trenches as well.
There is some good news for UL-Monroe though: Arkansas State’s defense is almost as atrocious. They too struggle to stop both the run and the pass and while ULM’s offense isn’t as efficient, it’s quite explosive. The Warhawks also have the biggest matchup advantage on the entire slate this weekend with their offensive line. The big boys up front rank ninth in the nation in offensive line score while Arkansas State’s defensive line ranks 104th.
Big advantages for both offensive lines? Check. Teams that mostly keep the ball in the air? Check. Explosive offenses? Check. Hapless defenses that are an embarrassment to the game of football? Check, check, check, and check.
Take the over in this matchup and watch the scoreboard light up.
Pick: Arkansas State/UL-Monroe over 67.5 [In New Jersey? Bet now at PointsBet]