Our Best College Football Moneyline Underdogs: Air Force, Houston Prepare to Pull Off Saturday Upsets
Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Houston Cougars quarterback Clayton Tune.
- Underdogs hope to deliver moneyline Halloween upsets this week in college football.
- Stuckey, who hit with Indiana on last week's slate, loves Houston and Collin Wilson backs Air Force in their weekly longshot picks.
Each week on The Action Network Colleges Podcast, Collin Wilson and I pick our two favorite moneyline underdogs for each Saturday’s college football slate.
We were able to get back on track last week after Indiana came through in miraculous fashion for me. Collin almost got us the sweep, but Iowa State came up a field goal short in Stillwater.
- 2018-19: 29-47 +4.00 units
- 2020: 5-9 +2.59 units
Let’s get into our Week 9 selections, which consist of two Group of 5 home underdogs. I’m going with a short one, but Collin is hoping the full moon on Halloween night brings us a huge upset. If you’re feeling lucky, a moneyline parlay of both pays more than 11-1 odds.
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Stuckey: Houston +120
- Spread: UCF -3
- Over/Under: 82.5
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 31
- Time: 2 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN+
- Location: Houston, TX
It’s a travesty we have to stream what may end up being the most entertaining game of the day. Just take a look at that astronomical total! Points should be flying at John O’Quinn Field on Saturday in an appetizing, live-trading game.
It was slim pickings for me this week, as I didn’t really like any bigger moneyline underdogs. Penn State probably came the closest, but my final list of potential plays contained a number of short dogs.
(FYI, I’ll log my round-obin parlay in the app again, which looks like it will preliminarily include Houston and likely Auburn, Texas, Georgia State.)
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I’ll keep this one short and sweet. I ultimately chose Houston since I make this game a Pick, so I’m showing value right off the bat. Plus, I think this is the perfect spot to bet an underdog as a moneyline in a game where three points won’t mean nearly as much as it would in a game with a more reasonable total.
Clayton Tune should have a field day through the air against a UCF defense that has been handing out early Christmas gifts via explosive plays. Give me the home dog in a high-variance game that I make a true coin flip.
Wilson: Air Force +450
- Spread: Boise State -14
- Over/Under: 49
- Date: Saturday, Oct. 31
- Time: 6 p.m. ET
- TV: CBSSN
- Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Let’s get a little crazy in primetime.
Boise State finds itself in a prime lookahead spot. While this is a Mountain West Conference game, a matchup with a fellow undefeated Group of Five opponent looms in six days, as the Broncos will take on Brigham Young in a game that could potentially have College Football Playoff implications.
And Air Force is not the opponent you want to face if you come out a little flat or distracted with the task of defending the triple option. The Broncos will need full focus against an Air Force team that should come in angry after a bad loss to San Jose State.
PFF graded the Broncos 62nd in tackling in their opener against Utah State. That could spell trouble against Air Force’s offensive attack.
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Specifically, edge rusher Demitri Washington had four missed tackles during the game. The edge position is vital against the triple option, as that position must stay disciplined and decide to take quarterback or contain of the pitch.
And tackling is obviously paramount. If Washington doesn’t clean up the missed tackles, the Boise State defense could get caught with its pants down.
As for Boise State’s offense, it had no rush explosiveness and lacked efficiency through the air. The Falcons certainly have work to do on defense, but they do rank fourth in rushing success rate and sixth against rush explosiveness through two games. Air Force has also done a decent job of preventing big plays through the air.
Boise State also has some issues on special teams and in pass protection. That could present Air Force potential opportunities to hang around, with a special-teams score or takeaway.
Plus, as you can see from the pace metrics above, this game won’t have much pace at all, which is one of the reasons why this total sits in the 40s. A lower-scoring game would generally work in the favor of a two-touchdown underdog.
As for winning this game outright, it’s certainly a long shot, but the Air Force offense is capable of putting together lengthy, 15-play drives that can take up an entire quarter.
If we get one of those situations, the game gets shortened even more, increasing the variance, which would be a positive outcome for this moneyline. We’ve certainly seen service academies as big underdogs come super close to pulling off upsets over Power 5 programs as bigger underdogs than this.
Think back to Army at Michigan and Oklahoma in recent years. #LetsFly