A happy return to you, my fellow degenerate. Welcome back to Edge Sorting, the weekly gambling column here at HERO Sports that focuses on college football games that don't have the full attention of bookmakers.
My opening post got off to a great start last week. I posted a 5-3 record in Week 1, with a narrow miss on Kennesaw State. The Owls gave up a combined 21 points to FBS Georgia State in the final minute of each half and lost 24-20. If you're mathematically inclined, you might know that means Georgia State scored 21 points in those two minutes, and three points during the other 58.
That's just the way bets goes sometimes, so we won't spend much time crying about it. Instead, we'll take our profits and dive right into Week 2, where there are plenty of vulnerable lines to attack.
Appalachian State (-14) at Charlotte
Saturday, 6 p.m.
This might be the best bet of the entire board. Bookmakers are counting on a rash of public money on App State, following their Week 1 overtime duel with Penn State. When App State regresses to the mean in Week 2, or otherwise turns in a letdown performance after a dramatic season-opening loss, the books will cash in on public overreaction.
But here's why you actually should take a look at App State here — Charlotte is a God-awful football team. The 49ers have no identity and nothing close to an effective recruiting strategy. They have no marquee wins in program history. Their program has a record of 18-41 since starting up in 2013. They spent most of the first half of last week's game getting pushed around by Fordham, which is a mostly unremarkable FCS program. I could go on.
App State is the way better program here, as Charlotte compares pretty favorably to a second or third-tier FCS team. Take the Mountaineers to cover the two-touchdown spread on the road. They should win by at least 20 points.
Pick: App State -14
Florida International (pk) at Old Dominion
Saturday, 7:30 p.m.
While we're talking about bad Conference USA programs, we might as well talk about Old Dominion! Taylor Heinicke isn't walking back into this locker room, which is one reason why the Monarchs lost 52-10 to FBS noob Liberty last Saturday. Like Charlotte, ODU is a relative newcomer to college football and doesn't have a ton of direction right now. The team had some juice after a couple of nice years at the FCS level, but since moving up, it's looked pretty listless.
I saw FIU open as a 1-point favorite earlier this week before the line was bet down to a pick em. Sharps, who appear to be the only people betting on this game, are backing ODU as a positive regression target.
I like the FIU side. I saw a lot of positives in a close game with Indiana last week.
FIU is the more talented team here, and you're getting them straight-up. That's a win.
Pick: FIU PK
Youngstown State (+33) at West Virginia
Saturday, 6:00 p.m.
I never would have imagined looking at this game last week. Youngstown is a respected FCS program that controls time of possession with a firm run game. West Virginia is clearly going to win this game, but covering a spread between four and five touchdowns is a little risky in such a matchup. Even as good as Will Grier looked in the second half against Tennessee in Charlotte last week, and even though WVU easily made us money last week, and even though Grier has jumped to No. 1 in ESPN's Heisman rankings and No. 2 on the betting boards, I wouldn't have thought to double down on them this week.
…that is, until Youngstown State lost to Butler, which is a pretty low-rate FCS team. In fact, Butler is from one of the non-scholarship conference in the FCS, which means Youngstown — a Missouri Valley program that was just in the national championship game two years ago — has really lost its way. I don't see Youngstown coming anywhere close to West Virginia this weekend. I was impressed with the top-shelf talent West Virginia seems to have accumulated on its defensive line via the transfer market, and I think that'll present an insurmountable challenge for a mostly one-dimensional Penguins team. Then, on offense, you know exactly what Grier and Co. are going to do. This feels like one of those crazy Holgorsen games where the Mountaineers have 40 by halftime.
I bet this game early this week, when the line was down at -30. It's ballooned up to -33, and I would take it anywhere south of -35. We'll grade it at -33.
Pick: West Virginia -33
Iowa State (+4) at Iowa
Saturday, 5 p.m. EDT
This is another line I jumped on early in the week. The total for this game was set at 49, and sharps have gleefully jumped on the Under. Over the last 20 years, the annual Cy-Hawk Rivalry Game has gone over 48 points exactly four times. Who could forget the classic 2008 game that Iowa won by the extremely midwestern score of 17-5? Or the Ultra-Ferentzian 2012 game, which Iowa State won by a score of 9-6?
If you're late to the party here, you've obviously lost some value, as the total is down to 47. We'll grade it there. The table percentages tell me a two-point loss here isn't the absolute end of the world, but boy, I liked it a lot more at 49.
Pick: Iowa/Iowa State Under 47
MORE FROM CHASE: What the hell is going on in the CAA?
FCS GAME OF THE WEEK
Albany (+3) at Rhode Island
Saturday, 1 p.m. EDT
Ohhhhh baby. One of my favorite games of the week is a CAA game that few are paying attention to. Perennial conference cellar dweller Rhode Island can take sole possession of first place with another early conference win, just six weeks after they were picked to finish 12th in the 12-team CAA. URI is a balanced team with dynamic quarterback play and a nice little defense.
On the other hand, there's Albany. I'm not sold the Danes have the pieces at the line of scrimmage to complete with CAA teams this year. I think it could be a long year for them.
Nine days after they upset nationally ranked Delaware on the road, take the Rhode Island Rams to cover the small number at home. The line opened at -1.5, but there's still massive value on the Rams at -3.
Pick: Rhode Island -3
WEEKDAYS ARE FOR GAMBLING
Kennesaw State (-16.5) at Tennessee Tech
Thursday, 7 p.m. EDT
I played with the idea of picking Friday night's TCU/SMU game here, and I do still like the under. However, I'm going to go with the Thursday night ESPNU game between Kennesaw State and Tennessee Tech instead.
Yes, we're back on that Kennesaw team. The one that burned us last week. The Owls are still a consensus top-10 team in the FCS, and they still run the ball very effectively. They outplayed Georgia State on the road last week, and they're definitely going to outplay Tennessee Tech tonight — a middling team from a bad conference that just lost to unranked Chattanooga by 24 points last Thursday.
I like Kennesaw to bounce back in a big way here, re-exerting their regional dominance over lesser FCS teams. Give me the Owls, even if the line goes up to 17. I like them to win by 20 or more.
Pick: Kennesaw State -16.5
HOLD ON FOR DEAR LIFE
Samford (+31.5) at Florida State
Saturday, 7:20 p.m. EDT
Let me take you back to my college days, when a little team called Virginia Tech played Boise State on a Monday night at FedEx Field outside of DC. The date? September 6, 2010. The Hokies played a good game before losing late to what might have been the last great Boise team. No shame in the loss. Tech wouldn't be going to the national championship that year, but they could still have a solid season.
Fast forward five days later. Unprepared Virginia Tech lost 21-16 to my alma mater, James Madison, after a short week with minimal prep time. As it turns out, playing a Monday night game in college football is not a very good idea.
Okay, present day. Florida State just got wrecked by Tech on Monday night. This weekend, the Seminoles are playing a Samford team that is much better than that 2010 JMU team. Quarterback Devlin Hodges and Wide Receiver Kelvin McKnight are both 2019 draft picks. And you're giving me 31.5 points? And Samford played last Thursday, so they have eight days to FSU's four? Check please.
Florida State wins by 13. Samford covers by a country mile.
Pick: Samford +31.5
THE PRO GAME
Los Angeles Rams (-4) at Oakland Raiders
Monday, 10:15 p.m. EDT
There are plenty of juicy pro lines to jump on for Week 1. Giants–Jags Under? Niners–Vikings Under? Chicago plus the points in Green Bay? The Colts covering a short line against a bad Cincinnati team? Yep. There's a lot there to look at.
For this pick, though, I'm officially giving out the MNF nightcap. A Rams team that might be the best team in the NFC is heading up to Oakland to play a cash-poor Raiders team that just traded away its best player. Michael Crabtree is gone; Derek Carr needs more help. At the line of scrimmage, it's strength (the LA D-Line) versus weakness (Oakland's piss-poor Offensive Line).
What are the Rams? Like… I don't know, 10.5 point favorites?
Wait. Four? Seriously? LOL.
Pick: LA Rams -4
WEEK 1 REVISITED: Auburn, West Virginia, Eastern Michigan all Cash
PICKS RECORD SO FAR: 5-3
Statistically, the parlay did okay last week, but we were out early after UL Monroe's failure to cover against a middle-of-the-pack Southland team. This week, we'll at least make it to Saturday afternoon.
As always, please remember — the 2K Parlay is not intended to serve as a legitimate money-making bet. It's more of an exercise in seeing how far the lotto ticket will go before folding.
- TCU (ML) at SMU
- Appalachian State (-14) at Charlotte
- Air Force/FAU (Under 65.5)
- FIU (-1) at Old Dominion
- NC State (ML) vs. Georgia State
- Georgia (ML) at South Carolina
- Clemson (ML) at Texas A&M
- Utah (ML) at Northern Illinois
- West Virginia (-30) vs. Youngstown State
- Samford (+31.5) at Florida State
- Rhode Island (-3) vs. Albany
- James Madison (-42) at Norfolk State
- Minnesota Vikings/San Francisco 49ers (Under 46)
- Jacksonville Jaguars/New York Giants (Under 43.5)
14-leg parlay, $5 to win $2,895.65
And with that.. we're out of here 'til next week. Week 2 starts tonight with that Kennesaw game, and don't forget about the NFL kickoff. Free lean: I really don't see Philadelphia and Atlanta staying under 44.5 points. These opening games rarely feature scintillating defensive performances.
Good luck, and don't forget — fortune favors the bold!
CONFESSIONS OF AN ODDSMAKER: MyBookie's David Strauss reveals Wheel of Fortune Prop Bet Feud