Falling behind 10-0 after the first quarter, there was some early doubt that last week’s Group of Five Underdog of the Week would cash. However, Ball State recovered, and the Cardinals went on to not only cover the 7.5-point spread, but defeat Central Michigan 17-16 at +225 on the moneyline, buckling down defensively on a late drive.
Here are the college football betting odds (via BetMGM as of Tuesday evening) for this week’s underdog, who can hopefully provide another winner for us:
Rice (spread: +4, moneyline: +150) at Florida Atlantic
Maybe bookmakers are still looking at Florida Atlantic’s two-point loss to Purdue worthy enough to make the Owls from the Sunshine State favorites in this matchup. Or maybe they haven’t realized the ascension that the Owls from the Lone Star State are on.
Either way, the Owls will be victorious.
The big thing here is that both of these teams are coming off a bye. Although Rice has to travel, the week off may potentially make the trip less of a factor. Typically a team coming off a bye might have a slight edge, but in that category, these squads are more or less equal. They’re also pretty similar statistically looking at C-USA team stats. Florida Atlantic averages 31.8 points per game and Rice puts up 30.8 ppg. FAU gives up 29.3 ppg and Rice allows 31 points per outing.
FAU is 2-1 at home this season, but its wins came against Charlotte and Southeastern Louisiana. Rice cracked our Group of Five top 10 poll this week, mainly on the back of a win against a solid UAB team. This team isn’t the same team that got throttled by USC in its first game of the season. It has found ways to win this year, including its fourth-quarter, go-ahead touchdown against UAB that was followed by a redzone stop. They’ve shown enough to be a little more respected against a team that hasn’t necessarily set itself apart as favorites, especially four-point favorites.
Memphis (spread: +5, moneyline +168) at East Carolina
Making the Tigers our No. 1 underdog was a consideration. There’s no doubt they’re eager to get back on the turf after surrendering a 13-point lead with four minutes to play in a 33-32 loss to Houston last week. We were bullish on East Carolina last week, but the Pirates couldn’t find any traction against Tulane. The Tigers trumped a Navy team that defeated ECU. The odds of this contest could very well be closer to even-money in this important AAC matchup where Memphis enters at 2-1 in league play and ECU at 1-2.
Louisiana Tech (spread: +6.5, moneyline +200) at North Texas
The Mean Green are 3-3 this season, but their three losses have come in what could have been statement wins. That could mean they’re playing at their level of play. Enter LA Tech, who falls under the same category. The Bulldogs seem to be playing right at their level, not higher, not lower, and are coming off a 10-point victory over a UTEP team that has been up and down.
Akron (spread: +13, moneyline: +380) vs. Central Michigan
In a matchup of MAC doormats, the Zips might be underdogs, but nearly two-touchdown underdogs is a lot. Hey, maybe CMU is better than their 1-5 record indicates. Who knows. We faded the Chippewas last week and it doesn’t seem hard to fade them for a second consecutive week.
Side note: The line between Ohio and Western Michigan has been bouncing back-and-forth. Ohio opened as an underdog and quickly became a favorite. WMU might be the favorite by kickoff. The Bobcats have shown just as much promise as the Broncos this year, and could win this matchup.