Folks, my 2023 Group of Five best bets are not going well. After a sloppy 1-4 week that included another bet that was one point from flipping from a loser to a winner, I’m down to 18-24-1 on the season. Ouch!
I’m diving deep into the advanced stats this week to find a few matchups I think are worth considering. I could use a 5-0 week, that’s for sure.
Place College Football Wagers at BetMGM
Memphis -7.5 At North Texas
Memphis is one of the most complete teams in the AAC, ranking in the top 40 nationally in expected points added (EPA) both on offense and defense. The Tigers have only lost to Tulane and Missouri, with a notable win over Boise State.
Memphis might be the most underrated AAC program, and while North Texas can score with the league’s best, I don’t think the Mean Green can hang tough defensively for 60 minutes against teams atop the AAC standings. With a total near 70 points, I’m banking on Memphis pulling away for a 41-31 type of win.
Tulane-Rice Over 53.5
Tulane’s rushing defense is fantastic, but the team ranks in the bottom 20 teams nationally in passing defense success rate. Rice’s offense is in the top 20 in passing success rate.
I’m expecting both teams to find significant success through the air Saturday, leading to a possible shootout. Tulane has allowed at least 20 points in three consecutive games, and I anticipate that streak continuing. While Tulane’s defense might allow some successful plays, the Green Wave should score plenty behind the arm of Michael Pratt.
I can easily see the teams combining for 60-plus points.
Western Michigan -3 At Eastern Michigan
Western Michigan is just 2-6 this year, but the Broncos’ schedule has included three Power Five teams and arguably the three best teams in the MAC (Ohio, Miami, and Toledo) this season. Saturday’s game against Eastern Michigan is a much, much easier matchup.
Eastern Michigan allows more rushing yards per game (191.5) than any team in the MAC, while Western Michigan ranks second in the conference with 160.5 rushing yards per game. Against easier competition, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Western Michigan rush for more than 200 yards en route to a win over the Eagles.
Fresno State -7.5 vs. UNLV
UNLV is one of the best Group of Five stories of the season, but Fresno State poses a much tougher test than UNLV’s previous conference games. Facing Fresno State, which has a pair of Power Five wins this season, is a major challenge. Doing so on the road is even tougher.
While UNLV is a fantastic story, its defense has issues. The defense ranks 108th in defensive EPA, and Fresno State has a top-40 passing offense with plenty of playmakers. This could be a blowout.
JMU -20.5 vs. Old Dominion
I love this matchup for JMU. The Dukes, coming off a pair of double-digit wins, lead the FBS in sacks (34). Old Dominion has allowed an FBS-worst 38 sacks this year.
JMU should hold Old Dominion’s offense in check, and the Monarchs have struggled mightily to defend the pass. JMU’s rushing attack is mediocre, but the Dukes’ passing game is one of the most efficient in the Sun Belt. Quarterback Jordan McCloud could have a huge game against Old Dominion’s defense.
It’s a rivalry, but I’m anticipating a comfortable JMU win. The Dukes won 37-3 in Norfolk last season.