Hello ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the newest weekly segment here at Bucky’s 5th Quarter, Tyler’s Take Five. For the past three football seasons I have wrote a weekly college football betting column on an independent site, but this year I have decided that I want to move it over to Bucky’s 5th Quarter to share with the wonderful readers here.
Why you ask? Well, a few reasons. First, because the Badgers are not playing football anytime soon so I can’t write my usual betting preview for Badger games. Second, because the column before didn’t get the views I had hoped for before, and third, because if anyone deserves to make some honest cash sweating out unders, it’s the good people that follow our site.
So here we are. If you’re new to betting, please check out my how to column before proceeding. If you’re a season vet, hopefully I can give some tips to continue to make some cash this season. Old or new, I recommend The Action Network to track your progress. Follow me as well! If you do you’ll see my college football betting record which sits at 190-142-10 (57.2%) with a clip of +39 units. Hopefully that shows a strong enough track record for you to trust some of my tips as we get into the wild 2020 season. Without further ado, let’s get into week... one? Zero? I don’t know anymore. Take five minutes and see if you like anything to make you some cash this weekend.
BYU @ Navy: Under 49.5
This column just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t start it off with an under play. If you’ve read my column before you know under bets are my favorite. They may not be the flashy play, but they get the job done. I especially look to unders when service academies are involved, and I found some value in this Monday night match up.
For Navy, gone is superstar Malcom Perry who will be sorely missed. He was by far and away their best player in 2020, and the offense will surely take a step back without him under center. Additionally, the Midshipmen only return two starters on the line, but do bring back most of the skill spots. For me though, the departure of Perry is hard to overlook when the offense was built on his shoulders. I think it’s fair to assume some growing pains early on.
On the other side, BYU brings back 8 returning starters to the offense but one is QB Zach Wilson who had a tough 2019 season. In order to reduce the expectations on him, I expect the Cougars to lean more heavily on the run game of Lopini Katoa who showed flashes of brilliance for the Cougars last year. The real strength though, is up front. The Cougars bring back four offensive line starters, two of which we’re Outland and Rimington Trophy candidates in Brady Christensen and James Empany. Add in that BYU lost 3 of their top pass catchers and I see a recipe for a run focused offense. If BYU looks to run the ball half as much as Navy does, the clock should really bleed away in this game. Both defenses have decent returns as well, so a few stops here and there will hopefully bleed this out as an under.
Middle Tennessee @ Army: Middle Tennessee +3.5
Service academy unders are always a solid play, but there is another trend that comes with these triple option teams as well and that’s betting against them when they are favored. According to the Action Network’s data, service academies are 121-151-5 ATS as favorites. Compound that further with Army and you see that the Knights are 22-38-2 ATS as favorites since 2005. That my friends, is a data driven trend.
Additionally, this year more than ever, familiarity in the coaching staff and at the quarterback position will be important. Army has Head Coach Jeff Monken back along with both coordinators, but they have to replace quarterback Kelvin Hopkins. Middle Tennessee brings back Head Coach Rick Stockstill for year 14, along with both coordinators, Asher O’Hara at quarterback, and three starters up front on the line. The concern for the Blue Raiders will be on defense as they’ve had little time to get ready for the option attack and they only return 3 starters. However, one of those is leading tackler DQ Thomas at linebacker which should help. I am sticking with the trend here in hopes that the familiarity and trend wins out.
Arkansas State @ Memphis: Arkansas State +19.5
Speaking of familiarity, both teams have some strengths and both have some reasons to give pause in this match up. For Memphis, they return quarterback Brady White who threw for over 4,000 yards in 2019. They also returns his top target in Damonte Coxie. However, two cogs that really ran the machine for the Tigers are gone. First, Kenneth Gainwell, who finished the season 12th in rushing yards in the nation opted out of the season. Second, former Head Coach Mike Norvell headed to Florida State and took a handful of position coaches with him. Ryan Silverfield takes over the coach reigns after being a position coach in 2019, and brings on two new coordinators to head up the coordinator positions. Memphis did well in hiring within with Silverfield, but there are still a lot of moving pieces.
On the other side, Blake Anderson returns for his sixth season, and he brings back both his coordinators and two solid QB options to man the offense. Layne Hatcher won the job, but Logan Bonner is very capable as QB2. Additionally, the Red Wolves bring back their entire offensive line, leading rusher, receiver, and tackler from a year ago. The defense only brings back 3 starters, but that may not be such a bad thing as they were one of the worst units in the country in 2019. Overall, I think the familiarity on offense for the Red Wolves will allow them to stay within the number. Both teams can score a lot of points, so it should be an entertaining one Saturday night.
We’ll see you back here next week!