Things didn’t go so well for last week’s Group of Five Underdog of the Week, as SMU (+3) surrendered a seven-point, fourth-quarter lead on the road to Maryland in a 34-27 loss. However, the week four slate has a handful of potential upsets.
Here’s a look at the Group of Five Underdog of the Week, plus a few honorable mentions (college football betting odds via BetMGM):
James Madison (spread: +7.5, money line: +225) at Appalachian State
The Mountaineers undoubtedly have one of the top Group of Five resumes in the country, but James Madison seems to be flying under the radar as 7.5-point underdogs.
A longtime FCS powerhouse, the Dukes’ first FBS season has gotten off to a strong start, opening the year with back-to-back blowout wins over Middle Tennessee and Norfolk State. This week will be a different kind of challenge, though, as they take on an Appalachian State team that emerged into the national spotlight a couple of weeks back with a road win over then-No. 6 Texas A&M.
Despite having the most impressive G5 over P5 victory this year, there are reasons to be concerned about the Mountaineers. For one, they needed a 53-yard Hail Mary to beat Troy at the final buzzer last week. They also struggled to stop the pass, allowing 302 yards on an average of 8.2 per attempt. This bodes well for JMU, with Todd Centeio throwing for 452 yards, nine touchdowns, and no interceptions through two games, while adding 139 yards on the ground.
This week will tell a lot about the Dukes, who will be playing in a tough environment in arguably their most challenging game of the year.
Troy (spread: +3.5, money line: +142) vs. Marshall
The underdog play here is all about recent performance.
Troy led Appalachian State by a touchdown at halftime and seemed in position to close out an upset win before collapsing with a late safety followed by the aforementioned game-winner from Chase Brice to Christian Horn. The Thundering Herd, meanwhile, lost in overtime to one of the worst teams in the FBS, Bowling Green, after upsetting Notre Dame the previous week.
With homefield advantage on their side and a field goal cushion to work with, the Trojans appear to be a solid play on the spread, as well as the money line.
Hawaii (spread: +4.5, money line: +168) at New Mexico State
Somebody has to win this matchup of FBS bottom-dwellers.
The Rainbow Warriors finally got in the win column last week after losing their first three games by a combined total of 131 points, beating FCS Duquesne 24-14. The Aggies are still searching for their first victory of 2022 amid an 0-4 start.
Hawaii has a slight edge in ESPN’s Football Power Index, coming in at No. 128, with NMSU ranking dead-last out of 131 teams.
Rice (spread: +17.5, money line: +660) at Houston
The Bayou Bucket Classic hasn’t been kind to the Owls as of late, with Rice losing the last six meetings by an average of 25.8 points. With momentum on their side after back-to-back wins and Houston off to a rocky start, however, there seems to be no better time than the present to snap their skid.
Rice is going to be at a disadvantage from a talent standpoint, and it will likely need a near-flawless performance to pull off an upset. Still, the Cougars looked disjointed in last week’s 48-30 loss to Kansas, and 17.5 points is a lot to give a UH team that looks to be a far cry from the squad we thought they’d be when they started the season in the top 25.