2017 NCAAF Newsletter: Free Week Five College Football Predictions 9-30-17
Charlotte vs. Florida International College Football Pick 9/30
While Lane Kiffin and his 1-3 FAU Owls nabbed most of the pre-season clippings, Butch Davis has quietly gone about his business at FIU. Leading the Golden Panthers to a 2-1 start that included a win in their conference opener last Saturday at Rice. Granted it was against the Owls, whose 5-16 record over the past 21 games included a pair of wins over both UTEP and Charlotte and a victory over Prairie View A&M.
But it was an upset (at least according to Vegas), and Davis will take it, especially considering the Panthers went just 4-12 SU on the conference highway under former head coach Ron Turner. Speaking of Charlotte, the 49ers bring a 0-3 SUATS and ITS mark in FBS games into this fray, as well as a 2-12-2 ATS log as dogs of 9 or more points.
That eases the pain of laying the lumber with a team that has laid double-digits only three times (3-0 SU, 2-0-1 ATS) in the past four years. Including a 48-31 win as 17-point favorites against these same 49ers two years ago on this field. I should also point out the Panthers are a Golden 5-0 ATS following an SU dog win against a foe off consecutive losses. Hence, it’s a lay-it-or-leave-it situation as Butch has his Cats focused and anxious to improve to 2-0 in the Belt.
- Florida International -12.5
Rice vs. Pittsburgh College Football Prediction 9/30
Against a desperate Pitt bunch that will have no problem running up the score following three straight losses by a combined score of 127-52. In fact, there’s no doubt that the Pitt defense will get a breather as the Owls have tallied a total of 17 points in three games against teams that reside outside of El Paso.
So the question becomes, can the Panthers with their ineffective two-headed quarterback situation muster enough scratch to cover the three-touchdown number?
Their 9-1 ATS mark as favorites of more than 4 points after allowing 35 or more points suggests yes. As does the snarl that’s sure to be on HC Pat Narduzzi’s face all afternoon long. With that, I can only recommend to lay it if you play it as Pitt avoids matching its longest losing streak in 11 years.
- Pittsburgh -21
South Florida vs. East Carolina College Football Prediction 9/30
Is it me or do the unbeaten Bulls have an easier schedule than a toll collector working the North Korean border? Sure, Dennis Rodman is probably there to lend a hand, but my vote goes to USF as the Bulls’ toughest challenges appears to be a home game against Houston, and a season-ending roadie at Central Florida.
It certainly won’t be here against a Pirates’ team whom they own a lifetime 6-1 SUATS mark against and one that has been pillaged for 46 points and 627 yards per game this season. Or one that is 0-3 ATS after facing UConn, 0-3 ATS as conference home dogs of more than 7 points and 2-7 ATS with conference revenge.
I don’t butter my bread by laying lumber on the conference road, but I’m not about to step in front of a surging South Florida squad that hasn’t lost since last October. Ten straight wins and outyarded Temple, 408-85, in its most recent effort. Only one way to look as Charlie Strong’s Bulls run over, around and through ECU’s matador defense.
- South Florida 23
Syracuse vs. North Carolina State College Football Prediction 9/30
While it was the ‘Pack’s win over FSU that garnered the headlines, Syracuse was more than formidable in their 35-26 loss Saturday night at LSU’s Death Valley. However, it’s State’s victory, its first road win over a ranked opponent since 2008.
That sets the table for this ACC Atlantic clash as teams are just 3-14-1 ATS after knocking off the Noles, including 1-7 ATS at home.
I’m well aware that Wolfpack QB Ryan Finley has thrown 224 straight passes without an INT, the longest current streak in the FBS. But a natural letdown, along with a visit from Louisville in their next game, is on the menu today in Raleigh. I’ll grab the doubles as the series visitor (4-0 ATS) squeezes out yet another cover.
- NC STATE -12
E Michigan vs. Kentucky College Football Prediction 9/30
What do you do when your schedule includes a SEC eight-pack and a non-conference clash with in-state rival Louisville every year? You send a stretch limo to Ypsilanti to pick up an Eastern Michigan squad that has one winning season since 1996, of course.
However, the Wildcats may have missed the boat in this first-ever meeting between the schools as that lone winning season came last year. In fact, the 2-1 Eagles are continuing their improved play in 2017 as their defense is over 100 YPG better than last year’s edition, which was 91 YPG stingier than that of the previous season!
A 7-1 ATS log away as dogs of 28 or fewer points versus winning foes is another indication that the upstart Eagles could land the cover. As is the fact that the Wildcats arrive off a heartbreaking loss to Florida, 31 and counting. When a 56-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the game fell a few yards short after the Cats were penalized 10 yards on the preceding play for holding.
The Eagles enjoy the ride to Lexington as Kentucky’s 0-6 ATS mark as home favorites of more than 3 points after gnawing with the Gators may just have the UK boosters sending the EMUs home via Uber.
- Eastern Michigan +14.5
Ball State vs. Western Michigan College Football Prediction 9/30
With more losses to open the season (2) than they had in all of 2016, WMU rookie head coach Tim Lester looked like a jester on the sidelines in a cast. However, a pair of wins in the first two legs of this current 3-game home stand has been sweet perfume. As the Broncos have righted the ship, err boat, just in time for this conference lid-lifter.
And while I respect the Gonads’ 6-1 ATS road dog log, we I cant overlook the fact that the Broncos are 7-0 ATS as favorites of less than 24 points following an SU double-digit win when facing a foe off an SU loss. Or a series history that finds Western 3-0 SUATS since 2014, including the last two as healthy double-digit chalk. Though the Broncos don’t expect to try a forward pass with an aerial attack that ranks 120th in the land. I’ll get up and dance for a ground and pound approach that should control the clock against a Ball State unit that rates in the lower half in rushing yards allowed. That makes this a lay as I have nothing left to reveal. Bye, bye Ball State.
- Western Michigan -14.5
Central Michigan vs. Boston College Football Prediction 9/30
I recommended backing the defensive-minded Eagles as monster dogs last week in Clemson. And was rewarded with the 34-7 loss as the points put up by the Tigers wouldn’t have even covered the spread in some cases. That game was much closer than the final score would indicate as Clemmie eventually ran away late in the fourth quarter.
But I can’t nest with the Eagles this week as they find themselves in a vulnerable spot: laying nearly double digits in the middle of a not-so-tasty ACC sandwich with Virginia Tech on deck. As it is, BC’s Steve Addazio is just 6-9 SU and 5-9-1 ATS as a single-digit favorite while Central is 4-1 ATS as non-conference road dogs under 3rd-year head coach John Bonamego.
Though the Chips are down after opening their conference season with a home loss to Miami Ohio. I can’t pass up the points as Addazio figures to play this one close to the vest with the Hokies right around the corner.
- Boston College to win BUT C Michigan +7
Ohio vs. Massachusetts College Football Prediction 9/30
One of the advantages to playing football in Massachusetts: very few scheduling interruptions thanks to Atlantic Ocean hurricanes. Amazingly, the Minutemen return to Amherst having already played five games this season – losing all five. And though UMass is not quite the train wreck everyone thinks, the average losing margin of only 7 PPG. I’m not going to overreact to last week’s narrow 17-13 loss at Tennessee as a 28-point underdog. Not when the Vols were still deflated from a final-play defeat at Florida the week before and stepped way down to the
I’m not going to overreact to last week’s narrow 17-13 loss at Tennessee as a 28-point underdog. Not when the Vols were still deflated from a final-play defeat at Florida the week before and stepped way down to the
I’m not going to overreact to last week’s narrow 17-13 loss at Tennessee as a 28-point underdog. Not when the Vols were still deflated from a final-play defeat at Florida the week before and stepped way down to the Minutemens’ level while looking ahead to a home date with SEC East-leading Georgia.
Granted, Ohio U’s three wins have come against questionable competition (Hampton, Kansas and Eastern Michigan). But Bobcats head coach Frank Solich knows how to handle losing opposition going 87-26 SU in his career, including 24-7 SU and 18-12-2 ATS away as a favorite. Along with a spotless 4-0 SUATS mark against non-conference foes. And while this marks Ohio U’s first foray into road chalk territory this season, the Bobcats have gone 6-1- 2 ATS in their last nine tries as away favorites under Solich. Considering UMass owns a dreadful 1-19 SU mark as home dogs of late, they don’t figure to ‘step-up’ here. Lay the price.
- Ohio -7
Buffalo vs. Kent State College Football Prediction 9/30
What would we do without the MAC? Spend more time analyzing Top 25 matchups? Who wants that? Well, I’m here to tell you that even these guys show up in an occasional role that they simply can’t handle – meaning we ring the register if we’re alert.
Everything I need to know about Kent State can be summed up this way: the Flashes are 0-3 ‘In The Stats’ against FBS opponents this season, outyarded by an incredible average of 352 YPG. That and the fact that the host team in this series is currently on an ugly 0-7 SUATS slide.
The Bulls are trying to bounce back from a disappointing 3-year stretch where they went 12-23 SU, and they’re off to a 2-2 SU, and 3-0 ATS start in FBS wars this season. Rest assured, UB head coach Lance ‘hot seat’ Leipold has reminded his squad countless times about last year’s humiliating 44-20 home loss to the Flashes. With conference stalwarts Western Michigan and Northern Illinois on deck for Buffalo, the Bulls need to take care of business here.
Leipold’s 4-2 ATS mark as a MAC dog with revenge seals the deal. I bid farewell to the MAC for another week by fading this stale home dog.
- Buffalo -7.5
Houston vs. Temple College Football Prediction 9/30
At first glance, the 2-TD line favoring the Cougars appears rich. But again, I’m not in the business to second-guess the Vegas oddsmaker – simply to handicap the number they put out. The fact that this is a conference opener should have Houston focused; so too should its sturdy 12-6 SUATS mark as road chalk of late.
On the surface, the 2-2 Owls look as if they’re competing, but, Temple is 0-4 ATS – losing the stats by an average of 172 YPG. Temple has also had significant trouble with quality opposition: the Owls’ two wins came by just 3 points against Villanova and 8 points versus UMass. Meanwhile, their two defeats came by 33 points to Notre Dame and 36 points to South Florida. With the Cougars’ claws out after dropping a 27-24 decision to Texas tech as 7-point home chalk last week. Look for the Cats to cash in this high-noon showdown from Philly.
- Houston -14
Marshall vs. Cincinnati College Football Prediction 9/30
Cincy’s rush defense sank to a personal low last week when they were ripped to shreds – as in 573 yards worth! – By Navy in a 42-32 road loss to the Middies. Fortunately for 1st-year Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell, Marshall’s 116th-ranked rush offense should pose no major threat this evening.
UC returns home after a rugged 3-game road trek against three foes that were bowlers last season (1-2 SU and 2-1 ATS). To face a Marshall team that’s 0-3 SUATS in its last three meetings with Cincinnati – with an average margin of defeat of 22 PPG. Yes, the Herd is off to a 2-1 SU, and 3-0 ATS start this season. But truthfully they’ve been able to outgain only lowly Kent State on the field.
Remember, this team has dropped eight straight road games, with only two ATS covers to show for their travels. Don’t be Fickell… lay the points.
- Cincinnati -3.5
Baylor vs. Kansas State College Football Prediction 9/30
KSU head coach Bill Snyder might cultivate the image of a kindly grandfather. But, I guarantee practice has been no fun whatsoever for the Wildcats in the two weeks since they were shut down at Vanderbilt, 14-7. That feeble output was the lowest Kansas State has scored since being blanked by Oklahoma, 55-0, in 2015 – a span of 23 games. Meanwhile, Baylor almost pulled off the upset of the year last Saturday at Waco, taking 28 points from the Sooners and giving them all they could handle in a thrilling 49-41 loss. A far cry from BU’s horrendous 0-3
Meanwhile, Baylor almost pulled off the upset of the year last Saturday at Waco, taking 28 points from the Sooners and giving them all they could handle in a thrilling 49-41 loss. A far cry from BU’s horrendous 0-3 start against a trio of beatable foes.
But now the Bears are 0-4 for the first time since 1999, and after their close-call shave with OU last week, I have to question their fragile psyche here today. It could simply be a case of wrong place, wrong time for Baylor: the Wildcats have cashed four straight tickets in this series at Manhattan and seem to thrive on getting time off, going 10-0 ATS following a week of rest.
KSU holds the edge in the early-season stat wars, outgaining opponents by 165 YPG in FBS contests this year, while the Bears are losing the stats by 109 YPG against the same. Tough to pull the trigger when the green-and-gold has been favored in six of the last seven contests in this series. But, the bottom line is I can’t fade Grandpa Snyder here as he’s 7-1 ATS in his previous eight Big 12 openers – and this may be his best team of the lot. The chalk run continues!
- Kansas State -17
Maryland vs. Minnesota College Football Prediction 9/30
The Terrapins will be using 3rd string QB Max Bortenschlager after the loss of starter Tyrrell Pigrome in the season opener. And true freshman Kasim Hill will not be able to fill the void after suffering a leg injury in the 1st quarter of last week’s 38-10 loss to UCF.
Bortenschlager tossed twin INTs and was sacked five times after taking over for Hill, and it doesn’t appear that Maryland’s running game, which was prolific through the first two games. Will be able to compensate after gaining just 42 yards on 37 carries against the Knights. They’re now trying to attack a stingy Gopher defense that has given up just 59 rushing yards per game this season.
No question that the Terps’ good start could be unraveling with the quarterback situation spiraling out of control. Also, Minnesota was in complete control of Maryland last year in a 31-10 win at College Park, and new coach P.J. Fleck now finds the type of foe that he loves to battle: one with a bit of street cred that is undergoing problems. Fleck is 25-5 SU and 20-8 ATS in games following a win, including 8-1 ATS against foes off a double-digit ATS loss.
The undefeated Gophers are a bit banged up at running back, but still got over 100 yards and 3 TDs on the ground from Kobe McCrary. Who stepped in for Rodney Smith in the second half in the 34-3 victory over Middle Tennessee State. Vulnerable turtles need to watch out for Gophers rowing boats.
- Minnesota -13
Iowa vs. Michigan State College Football Prediction 9/30
Hawkeyes enter entirely deflated off a last-play-of-the-game loss to Penn State, as Iowa had Juwan Johnson covered like a blanket. Only to see Nittany Lion QB Trace McSorley hit him with a perfect throw. Iowa was outgained by over 300 yards in the loss, whereas the Spartans outyarded Notre Dame by 141 yards in a 20-point home loss to the Irish.
However, the Spartans surrendered three turnovers and committed nine penalties for 97 yards against Notre Dame and only beat themselves, as they now have 8 TOs on the season. Still, a visit to East Lansing is not good news if you’re a Hawkeye fan this week. Especially since 2-1 college teams at home off a loss in the 4th game of a 4-game season-opening homestand, are 5-0-1 ATS as favorites of 3 or more points since 1980. And with Michigan on deck, Sparty needs this game like blood.
- Michigan State -3.5
Indiana vs Penn State College Football Prediction 9/30
The last-second win at Kinnick Stadium was dramatic on Saturday night, but I’m only partially sold on the Lions. Conversely, I am completely sold on RB Saquon Barkley, who rushed for 211 yards and caught 12 passes for 94 more against the Hawkeyes. And has totaled 853 yards from scrimmage in Penn State’s 4-0 start.
Unfortunately, the boys from Happy Valley are just 2-7 ATS in the last nine games following a win over the Iowa. Meanwhile, I like the job Tom Allen is doing in Bloomington. The Hoosiers appear to be better balancing their offense with a run game (ran for 282 yards against Georgia Southern last week, led by 185 yards from Morgan Ellison). Which opens up the passing lanes for QB Richard Lagow.
And if it appears that the back door is open wider in this game than at a boy-bar in Vegas, it’s because it is…
- Penn State to win BUT Indiana +18
South Carolina vs. Texas A&M College Football Prediction 9/30
The Gamecocks rallied from a 13-0 deficit to edge Louisiana Tech, 17-16, on an FG with four seconds remaining last week. Now seem to be building momentum after a rocky start. However, after losing star WR Deebo Samuel to a broken leg in the Week 3 defeat versus Kentucky, the Gamecocks must now deal with season-ending shoulder surgery to versatile LB Bryson Allen- Williams.
Meanwhile on the Texas A&M side, a win today will lower the temperature under Kevin Sumlin’s hot seat as his troops enter on a 3-game win skein. Things could be a lot different if the Aggies did not pull out an emotional 50-43 OT win over Arkansas – coming after Sumlin settled for a tying FG at the end of regulation with three consecutive runs in the red zone instead of trying to throw for the victory.
The game saw four lead changes in the 4th quarter, before freshman QB Kellen Mond hit Christian Kirk in the end zone in overtime and the Aggies made a crucial interception to seal the victory. The possibility of an Alabama look-ahead lurks, but the feeling here is that Sumlin is on a mission to silence the lambs.
- Texas A&M -8
Georgia vs. Tennessee College Football Prediction 9/30
UT head coach Butch Jones never apologizes for a win, regardless of how close, but he broke the rule last week after the Vols edged outmanned UMass, 17-13, as 28-point favorites. “That was just flat-out unacceptable. We’ll correct our deficiencies,” insisted Jones, whose team was held scoreless the first 25 minutes and the final 22 minutes against the Minutemen.
Despite being 3-1 on the scoreboard, the Vols are 0-4 ATS this season and are being outgained by 61 YPG against FBS foes. Not a good time, then, to take on the resurgent Bulldogs. Georgia stands 6-1 ATS as a road favorite of 6 or fewer points, plus the double revenging Dawgs have not surrendered more than 280 yards in a game this season and are outyarding foes 121 YPG this season. Even better, UGA is 5-0 SUATS away with SEC double revenge-exact when facing an opponent with at least one loss on the season.
I think UT’s Jones has a lot of work to do., especially trying to overcome the fact that the Vols are 2-14 SU and 4-11- 1 ATS as home dogs the last ten years. Including 0-9 SU and 0-8-1 ATS versus .888 or greater foes. Cha-ching!
- Georgia -7.5
Mississippi St vs. Auburn College Football Prediction 9/30
The Bulldogs’ 3-0 start had everyone convinced they were the next big thing in the SEC. Nope. Georgia took care of that idea by bursting MSU’s bubble and sending the Dogs crashing back to reality in a 31-3 beatdown between the Hedges.
After blasting Missouri, 51-14, Gus Malzahn and his Tigers return to the plains to land in several dangerous roles: he’s lost two straight conference home openers, and his squad owns a dismal 2-11 ATS mark when playing against SEC revenge.
So the question is can Dan Mullen get his Bulldogs off the mat and overcome a hideous 0-9 ATS record in games after Georgia? I think so, especially with two top-notch defenses locking horns – MSU’s 19th-ranked overall squad taking on Auburn’s 3rd- ranked stop-unit. Simply put, it’s time for the Malzahn’s Tigers to step up and deliver back-to-back quality SEC games. Until they do, I’ll zero in on the quality dog off the loss.
- Auburn wins BUT Mississippi State +9
North Carolina vs. GA Tech College Football Prediction 9/30
Despite a 19-8 SU record and a pair of bowl appearances over the last two seasons, UNC head coach Larry Fedora can’t seem to flip the right switches with this year’s 1-3 Tar Heels team. As expected, the departure of DC Gene Chizik had an adverse effect on Carolina’s defense. Opponents have gained an average of almost 470 YPG while UNC has been getting gashed on the ground for 4.5 yards per rush.
That’s a bad sign when taking on a team that runs on almost every down like Paul Johnson’s Yellow Jackets. In their two games against FBS foes Tennessee and Pittsburgh, Tech piled up the rushing yards with 535 and 436, respectively. Even more encouraging for Ol’ Sourpuss, his defense has gone from a 404 YPG unit in 2016 to a stingy group that’s yielded only 264 YPG this season.
That defense certainly stiffened in last week’s 35-17 victory over Pitt when the Panthers failed to score after recovering four turnovers. With the Jackets looking to get even from their worst loss of the season last year (a 48-20 walloping at UNC), expect Fedora – not Johnson – to be wearing a sour expression when this one’s over.
- GA Tech to win BUT NC +10
Arizona St vs. Stanford College Football Prediction 9/30
The reliable Cardinal defense has been ripped to shreds since an opening boil of Rice, allowing 1,576 yards in their last three games while losing the stat battle in all three. That makes them a ‘leaking oil’ favorite which instantly puts them on our fade list – particularly since significant double-digit chalk and even more so with a double-revenge against the 20th-ranked Utes waiting in the wings.
The problem, however, is going all in with the sporadic 2-2 Sun Devils. 10 points or less have decided all four games. They defeated the Tree, 26-10, at home in their most recent meeting (2014) and pulled off a monster upset of Oregon last week as 14.5-point home dogs.
That puts them clearly on Stanford’s radar. Nonetheless, I have no choice but to grab the points as ASU head coach Todd Graham is a nifty 12-5 SU and 11-6 ATS in his career off an SU underdog win. Including 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS when taking points in a conference tilt.
- Stanford to win BUT Arizona State +17
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