We finally cashed our Group of Five Underdog of the Week after a three-week losing skid. It was closer than it should have been.
If you watched last week’s game between Wyoming and Air Force, you know the game was closer than the final 34-27 Falcons victory, and there was even a moment where I thought Air Force may put another score on the board and cover the 10.5-point spread. That didn’t happen and the dog prevailed.
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Utah State (spread: +4, moneyline: +160)
This line opened at 8 points and was immediately bet down. I’m still not sure why the Spartans should be more than a field goal favorite.
Maybe the reason is because of the uncertainty at the QB spot for the Aggies entering the weekend. Freshman QB McCae Hillstead was out last week after suffering a concussion two weeks ago and was replaced by Cooper Legas, who Hillstead took the starting job from. Legas has played well, though, and the Aggies offense has found success with both signal callers.
Regardless of who’s under center Saturday night, USU should have no trouble putting points on the board. It currently leads the MW with 477.9 total YPG and its 37.3 PPG rank second.
It is worth nothing that the Spartans’ pass defense allows just 186 YPG, but the defense surrenders 32 PPG — the same as the Aggies. There should be plenty of points scored in this one.
SJSU is matching up with what might be the best wideout duo in the league in Jalen Royals and Terrell Vaughn. Both rank in the top five in the MW in receiving yards and first and second in receiving TDs. Royals has nine and Vaughn has eight:
At 3-4, the Aggies’ four losses have come against teams that are a combined 24-2. Two of those teams are in the AP Top 25 — Air Force and Iowa — and another is JMU, who received the most votes of an unranked team this week. The Aggies put up 38 points against that stout JMU defense in a seven-point loss.
Despite its record, Utah State is playing well right now and needs a win here if they’re hoping to get a bowl bid. That’s something that looks out of the picture for the Spartans.
The Aggies have won the last 10 matchups between these programs and are 9-1 ATS in that stretch. Last time they played at CEFCU Stadium the Aggies were, you guessed it, four-point dogs and won 48-17.
Charlotte (+7, +230) at ECU
I was very close to choosing the 49ers over the Aggies, but Utah State is playing better than Charlotte right now.
Its a similar situation as the USU-SJSU matchup with both of these teams looking pretty even on paper. They’re the two lowest scoring teams in the AAC and their defenses aren’t much better. Charlotte is 3-0 ATS this season on the road and have covered in each game where they’re more than a 5-point underdog.
Its been a down year for the Pirates with their only win coming against Gardner-Webb.
The Niners seem to be playing with more purpose than ECU and only have to travel 250 miles for this road trip. This is the first ever meeting between these schools.
Rice (+3, +130) at Tulsa
Both of these teams are coming off a bye week and should be well rested for this Thursday night outing.
The Owls are surely trying to shake off a 38-31 loss to UConn two weeks ago while Tulsa had a chance to win late but came up short in a 20-17 loss to FAU before their off week.
These squads also resemble each other a ton meaning it could come down to players making plays. I’m going to go with journeyman JT Daniels to get the job done here.
Akron (+7, +250) at Bowling Green
It was a big win for the Falcons over Buffalo last week after getting shutout by Miami (OH) the week prior. Now might be a let down spot against a Zips team that is 3-1 ATS on the road.
Outside of its loss to Northern Illinois two weeks ago, Akron has given itself a chance and has already played in five one-score games. Don’t be surprised if its six after this weekend.