College Football Group of 5 Parlay for Week 3: How to Bet Florida Atlantic vs. UCF, USC vs. Fresno State, More
Will Navarro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener.
- Week 3 of the college football is here, and the Group of Five games are offering plenty of betting value.
- Mike Calabrese examines the G5 games this week and provides a parlay that features USC vs. Fresno State, Florida Atlantic vs. UCF and more.
- Check out Calabrese's three picks for this bet below.
Each week, to coincide with the release of the “Group of Five Deep Dive” under the Big Bets On Campus podcast banner, I’ll be sharing my Group of Five Parlay of the week.
Last week, Maryland waxed Charlotte on the road, Houston and Texas Tech got off to a slow start before an explosive fourth quarter and overtime pushed the total, and an extended weather delay threw a monkey wrench into EMU’s upside bid of Louisiana. No matter how you slice it, 1-1-1 won’t cut it.
After coming up short last week, I’m loading up on overs.
John Rhys Plumlee is in an ideal bounce-back spot in Boca Raton, the Terps and Mustangs are in line for an elite quarterback duel, and the highest-scoring affair of Week 3 could be the nightcap in Tinseltown.
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UCF vs. Florida Atlantic
Both of these offenses have shown explosive tendencies early on this season, but UCF’s stinker against Louisville has oddsmakers and the public thinking this offense is broken.
The reality is that the Knights had a pair of long touchdown passes erased off the board. Had either stood, they would have likely pulled off the win in the Bounce House.
I also found it odd that Gus Malzahn and the UCF staff played things so conservatively in the first half, punting at the Louisville 38 on a fourth-and-5 and later on in the half not pushing the envelope on a fourth down in plus territory.
Given his track record, I foresee Malzahn being more aggressive to give his offense an opportunity to gain momentum against a weaker C-USA defense (102nd in explosiveness allowed).
FAU, meanwhile, doesn’t require any hypotheticals. The Owls offense is rolling, both through the air and on the ground. Through three games, FAU is averaging 41 points and 530 yards per game.
N’Kosi Perry and LaJohntay Wester have picked up where they left off last season. But it’s not just Wester giving opposing secondaries problems. Two other receivers — Je'Quan Burton and Tony Johnson — are averaging over 18 yards per reception.
The Owls’ passing attack is averaging close to six big pass plays (20+ yards) per game, making them one of the nation’s most explosive teams through the air. When you mix that with their Havoc aversion (2nd nationally), it’s easy to see why they’ve been so good on offense.
My projections call for this total to be 66.5, which is more than enough value to make this game one of my top plays of the weekend.
I’m bullish on Javon Baker and Plumlee continuing their connection (75-yard TD called back for holding against Louisville) and bouncing back in Week 3.
Pick: Over 61.5
SMU vs. Maryland
These teams don’t play at a lightning-fast pace, but they’ve been lighting up scoreboards behind stellar quarterback play.
Taulia Tagaovailoa is fresh off of a career performance against Charlotte. He nearly reached 400 total yards and five total touchdowns before getting relieved in a blowout.
Tanner Mordecai had more than a few doubters coming into fall camp despite his monster stat line in 2021. He entered the year with a new coaching staff and a handful of new skill position talent surrounding him.
How has he responded? A QBR of 87 and a 7:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio through two games. He held off the highly-touted Preston Stone in fall camp and hasn’t looked back.
I mentioned Tagavailoa’s huge game against Charlotte above. What I left out was its mediocre defensive performance that somehow allowed third- and fourth-string 49er quarterbacks to throw for 292 yards and two scores.
Maryland has just nine tackles for loss through two games and now faces an SMU offensive line that simply never allows Mordecai’s jersey to get dirty. Last season, it allowed just 1.33 sacks per game (10th), and it's on that level again through two games. With a clean pocket, Mordecai is going to carve up the Terps’ secondary.
My only concern — and it's a minor one — is Tagovailoa's health headed into this game. He had a slight lower body injury near the end of the Charlotte game when he slipped after scoring a touchdown. He’ll need to be 100% to avoid an SMU pass rush dialed up by defensive coordinator Scott Symons.
At Liberty the past two seasons, Symons’ defenses finished 30th and 20th in sacks. Given their recent competition, I’m sure he’s held back some of the looks he’ll be throwing at Maryland on Saturday.
Pick: Over 73.5
Fresno State vs. USC
Last season, Fresno State dropped a heartbreaker to a Pac-12 North opponent only to turn around and shock a nationally ranked team in LA. Can the Bulldogs pull off the same trick again at the Coliseum?
I’m not betting that they shock the country’s seventh-ranked team, but I’m fairly certain they can run up and down the field with a USC defense that screams “paper tiger.”
USC has forced eight turnovers through two weeks, but two teams that probably won’t be going bowling this season (Rice, Stanford) had no problem running the football on the Trojans. Rice’s running backs averaged 5.6 yards per carry, and E.J. Smith and the Cardinal rushing attack ran up 221 yards on the ground.
Enter Jordan Mims.
Fresno State’s senior tailback has been a superstar since taking over for Ronnie Rivers midway through last season as the Bulldogs’ feature back. He shredded a vaunted San Diego State run defense (186 yards, 2 TDs) and killed UTEP in its bowl game (236 total yards, 3 TDs).
He’s just as dangerous this season, coming off a 149-total yard, two-touchdown performance against Oregon State. Mims will find success and open things up for a dynamic Fresno passing attack.
Jake Haener and his band of playmakers can beat opponents in the quick game or deep downfield. Jalen Moreno-Cropper, Josh Kelly and Zane Pope snagged 162 receptions and 18 touchdowns last season.
Just for good measure, Fresno added Nikko Remigio from the portal, and boy, has that paid off. The Cal transfer ranks second nationally in all-purpose yards already.
All of this plays in favor of the over before we even get to the USC offense, which is a juggernaut.
Caleb Williams ranks second nationally in QBR. Jordan Addison, the reigning Biletnikoff Award winner has found the end zone four times in two games. And Travis Dye finally got going last week, breaking 100 yards while hitting pay dirt.
As long as Fresno keeps USC interested by scoring 28 points or more, I think these teams will sprint past this total and would play it all the way up to 77.5.