Things may have started slow going 1-2 in week one, but Week 2 was a nice bounce back. If you believed in the Sun Belt as much as I did, you brought home a nice 3-0 weekend and if you followed the quick hitters as well, you ended the weekend with a 5-2 mark. Not bad for a Saturday, and hopefully you didn’t blow it all betting the NFL on Sunday.
The column sits at 4-2 officially, and now we roll on to the next week. Week 3 is always a slate that is well, not the prettiest. It’s got a face only a mother could love in normal circumstances, and when you add in the fact that the SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 are not playing you’ll see quite the ugly slate for Saturday. I am not one to complain about any football, but there have been better weeks. Regardless of the quality, there are chances to make money again this week which mean’s it’s time to play ball.
Florida Atlantic @ Georgia Southern (-1.5)
Last week Georgia Southern had a bit of a scare against the FCS Campbell Fighting Camels, but that was in part due to a COVID-19 outbreak which forced them to hold out 33 players in total. Seven of those were starters, so things we’re certainly not set up for success for the Eagles. Fast forward to the following week, and Georgia Southern is scheduled to play the Florida Atlantic Owls who are dealing with their own COVID-19 issues, canceling practice on Tuesday. As of now, the game is still on, and I am taking Georgia Southern in this one due to the major changes on both sides of the ball for the Owls.
FAU has had a great past two seasons, but the Lane Train is no longer there. In steps Willie Taggart and two new coordinators. They’ll be patching together a new offensive line with grad transfers, and on the defensive side of the football they lost nearly every player in their two deep on the defensive line. That sounds like a problem when you are taking on a triple option team like Georgia Southern. Additionally, they are going to a 3-4 defense from a 4-3, so even the four returning starters they have will be learning a new system, while also trying to stop the triple option. That just sounds like a lot to deal with in your first contest out, so give me the Eagles in this one.
Syracuse @ Pitt: Under 50
This game could get hella ugly. Syracuse was abysmal in their opener against North Carolina, and now they have to take on a Pitt team that has one of the nastiest defenses in the country. Pitt returns eight starters to their defense, led by the lethal pass rushing combo of Patrick Jones and Jaylen Twyman who were both all-ACC players a season ago. They were the keys to a Pitt defense that led the nation in sacks in 2019. Front to back, this unit is solid with Paris Ford nailing down the secondary.
That is scary in its own right, but now lets take a look at the opponent. Syracuse has Tommy Devito back at QB, and the poor guy is going to be running for his life again in 2020. Last year Syracuse gave up 4.4 sacks per game, which was 128 in the FBS. In week one, they gave up 7 sacks, and now they get the task of taking on an even better defense. Essentially, you’re putting up one of the worst pass protection groups against the nation’s best pass rush units. Smells like disaster. I don’t see Syracuse scoring at all, so I’d look at laying the number but love the under here with Pitt’s heavy run game.
Miami (+3) @ Louisville
Both the Miami Hurricanes and Louisville Cardinals faced quality Group of 5 teams in week one and handled their business which creates a nice ABC primetime match up. Miami looked great with D’Eriq King on offense, and I think that could be the biggest key for them in years. Additionally, the Hurricanes always have dudes on defense and we saw that with Gregory Rousseau last year who was the best pass rusher not named Chase Young. Add in Quincy Roche from Temple, and Zach McCloud at linebacker and you have the usual strong Miami defense.
Louisville looks like a good team, but I think they’ll struggle to move the ball against that front. On the defensive side of the football, nothing scares you for the Cardinals. They were No. 112 against the run last year, and King is going to be able to make things happen with his feet to bail out his less than stellar offensive line. I think on paper Miami is just the better team, so I am going to take the three with the road dog in this match up. If you can’t find a three out there, consider just eating the points and taking the moneyline.
Navy/Tulane: Navy had a lot of problems against the strong front of BYU in week one. Not sure Tulane impressed me enough to lay seven, but a number worth keeping an eye on should it go lower.
Liberty/Western Kentucky: +14.5 for the Flames is interesting here. Hugh Freeze now has a QB that fits in his system in Auburn transfer Malik WIllis. Don’t play on anything under 14 in my opinion but 14.5 is a key number that could work in your favor. Don’t love that it is Liberty’s first game while WKU already played so might pass here.
Oklahoma State/Tulsa: Considering laying the 23 with the Pokes here. Tulsa returns little on deense, and I think Ok State wins the Big 12, but might be a similar situation to UNC last week with their slow start and cover late. If OK State comes out fast and clicking they should be able to cover this number. Tulsa kept it closeish last year, but only three starters are back on D.
Troy/Middle Tennessee: Betting MTSU week one was the worst bet of the year thus far, so struggling to understand why they are only 3.5 point dogs here. Troy has potential, but I thought they’d be much bigger favorites where the line seems almost too good to be true. Smells fishy, but intriguing.