Last week was a profitable one for those who backed our Group of Five Underdog of the Week, as James Madison stormed back from 25 points down to cash at +225 on the money line with a 32-28 win at Appalachian State.
Here’s a look at this week’s Group of Five Underdog of the Week, plus a few honorable mentions (college football betting odds via BetMGM):
Middle Tennessee (spread: +4.5, moneyline: +150) vs. UTSA
Prior to the season, taking UTSA at less than a touchdown would seem like an obvious play, with the Roadrunners coming off a Conference USA championship and Middle Tennessee looking to move past an up-and-down 7-6 campaign. One month into the season, however, the Blue Raiders have been the more impressive team. They’ve won three straight games by at least 14 points, including an upset win at Miami that moved them to 3-1. UTSA, meanwhile, is 2-2, with its only FBS win coming in overtime against an Army team that has yet to beat an FBS opponent in 2022.
Sixth-year senior Chase Cunningham has provided a spark at quarterback, throwing for 1,000 yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions on 70.8% passing. Cunningham is coming off a dominant performance against the Hurricanes in which he racked up 437 total yards and four touchdowns while posting a passer rating of 232.7. This could spell trouble for a UTSA defense that ranks ninth in the C-USA in defensive passing efficiency.
The Roadrunners have been solid at the quarterback position, with Frank Harris passing for 1,310 yards, 10 touchdowns, and two interceptions with a 67.5% completion rate. The running game has been a concern, though, with all of their running backs averaging under four yards per carry. MTSU hasn’t been great at running the ball, either, but the Blue Raiders are giving up just 2.5 yards per carry, while UTSA’s opponents have averaged 4.6 yards per attempt.
San Diego State (spread: +6.5, moneyline: +200) at Boise State
It’s still early in the season, but this one feels like a must-win for two teams that have started out 2-2 after entering the year among the favorites to win the Mountain West. Both offenses have been painful to watch at times, with Boise State firing offensive coordinator Tim Plough and losing a four-year starter at quarterback in Hank Bachmeier to the transfer portal in the past week.
There is excitement about redshirt freshman Taylen Green taking the reins of the Broncos’ offense, but the Aztecs’ recent win over Toledo shows they are more than capable of neutralizing dual-threat quarterbacks. Dequan Finn compiled 284 total yards and two touchdowns in this game, but he was also picked off three times while posting a season-low passer rating of 113.1.
Troy (spread: +5, moneyline: +165) at Western Kentucky
After giving up four touchdowns in each of their first two games against FBS opponents, the Trojans’ defense rose to the occasion in a 16-7 win over Marshall last week. The Thundering Herd were held under 100 yards passing and rushing with an average of 2.5 yards per play, while Troy’s offense averaged 7.5 yards per play en route to a 421-yard performance.
The Hilltoppers’ pass-happy attack has them off to a 3-1 start, but this style could play into the hands of a Troy team that ranks third in the Sun Belt in pass defense and defensive passing efficiency.
UConn (spread: +23.5, moneyline: +1200) vs. Fresno State
The Huskies are 0-4 against FBS teams this year, and they will likely drop to 0-5 this weekend against Fresno State. As 23.5-point underdogs, though, they are worth consideration on the spread. The Bulldogs will be without the centerpiece of their offense, star quarterback Jake Haener, who is dealing with a high-ankle sprain.