Week 4 College Football Group of 5 Parlay: Our Top Bet, Featuring UTSA & Florida Atlantic (Sept. 25)
Aaron Gilbert/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: John Mitchell.
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 turned into another 2-1 week that fell apart at the very end. Parlays are a fickle mistress, and a missed two-point conversion by Mississippi State was the difference.
That means that I’ve hit one parlay in three tries, but the picks themselves are 7-2 on the season.
Outside of Mike Leach’s PAT failure, Cincinnati roared back, clobbering Indiana after a slow start in Bloomington. And Iowa made the most of its early safety against Kent State to cover by a single point at Kinnick.
This week, I’m heading back to Beale Streak in search of an upset, backing the Jayhawks in a battle of basketball schools and fading Air Force and its porous pass defense.
Reported odds and specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing.
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Saturday, Sept. 25
3:30 p.m. ET
It’s foolish to pick against Memphis when it’s a home favorite. Dating back five years, the Tigers are 28-2 straight up when favored at home.
But this matchup should be different for a few reasons.
The first is the letdown factor after shocking an SEC opponent last week. Memphis was fortunate to steal that victory with a fluky punt return touchdown proving to be the difference.
Offensively, it’s relied heavily on Calvin Austin III to provide explosive plays, with the pint-sized playmaker accounting for half of the team’s touchdowns thus far. Stop Austin, and you’ve stopped the Tigers.
CALVIN AUSTIN III CAUGHT THEM SLEEPING 🤯 pic.twitter.com/H5o828mFQ3
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 18, 2021
Then, there’s Memphis’ issues on defense. The Tigers are 112th in tackles for loss per game, which means it won’t be able to take advantage of UTSA’s lone weakness — pass blocking.
The Roadrunners, having already knocked off Illinois in Champaign, feature one of the most balanced offenses in the country.
Frank Harris, an efficient dual-threat QB, has lifted the passing attack to 26th, according to Pro Football Focus. This is important because they return a future NFL running back in Sincere McCormick, who has eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice already this season.
Whether through the air or on the ground, UTSA will move the ball and score a lot of points in this game.
In the end, I’m banking on a freshman performance from Memphis’ 18-year old quarterback and a second road upset on the year from the Roadrunners. #MeepMeep.
Pick: UTSA ML +135
Saturday, Sept. 25
4 p.m. ET
It’s a shame these two aren’t meeting in the Champions Classic this season because that would be a fantastic hardwood matchup. Unfortunately, we’re stuck with the football version, and on the gridiron, this is a bit of a stinker.
And although they’re technically not Group of Five teams, we can basically relegate them to that level for now, right?
Yes, Duke has surprised many this season, riding superstar running back Mateo Durant to a 2-1 start. The stud running back is averaging six yards per carry and has already racked up eight total touchdowns.
But outside of Durant, this is the same old Blue Devil team that was 7-16 in its last two seasons coming into 2021.
So far this season, Duke has lost to the 112th-ranked team according to SP+, beaten an FCS doormat, and held on for a one-score victory over Northwestern (85th in SP+).
Kansas, meanwhile, snagged a victory in its opener and followed that up by covering against Coastal Carolina.
To put it in layman’s terms, this Jayhawks team is normal bad. Not historically inept bad as it’s been in recent years. Lance Leipold has KU running moving the ball and has coaxed competent QB play out of Jason Bean.
I foresee a high-scoring game with an outcome that will be determined by tempo. Duke ran 91 total plays last week, running up 558 yards of total offense.
If Kansas can slow the pace, as Leipold likes, I like the Jayhawks to stay within two touchdowns.
Pick: Kansas +16
Saturday, Sept. 25
8 p.m. ET
Air Force returned just one starter on defense this year. Unlike other schools that utilized the COVID-19 bonus year/super senior exemption and the wide-open transfer portal, Air Force was stuck adhering to USAF regulations.
As a result, this defense is just awful. In its last game against Utah State, a team using two quarterbacks, it surrendered 448 yards through the air and five touchdowns.
If it weren’t for a Week 2 matchup against Navy, a program in total disarray, Air Force would be in the bottom 10 of defenses on the FBS level.
This sets the table up nicely for a resurgent FAU passing attack.
The Owls already returned a ton of production across the board, namely five starters along the offensive line. But they didn’t rest on their laurels, instead opting to add N’Kosi Perry at quarterback.
He has been the missing piece, unlocking the potential of breakout star LaJohntay Wester. The redshirt freshman has 17 receptions for 225 yards and two scores in his last two games.
Remember the name. pic.twitter.com/cyUxSQecgk
— FAU Football (@FAUFootball) September 12, 2021
I actually think FAU should be favored in this one, so I’m more than happy to take the plus-money with the Owls.
Pick: Florida Atlantic ML +165