We’re baaaaaaack! Welcome to the first installment of Underdogs Against the Spread in 2017 as we take a look at the best bets involving G5 teams. The weekly article is still about a few weeks away since the season hasn’t started yet, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t money to be made in the college football world.
Today, we’ll take a look at a few season win totals in each G5 conference and give our favorite bets for the 2017 season.
All win totals are courtesy of Bovada
Cyrus Smith: Tulsa 7.5, Over +135 - The juice on the under was an astounding -165 which would make this a stay away line as the value just isn’t worth it. However, I love the over here. I think Chad President will step right into Philip Montgomery’s offense and put up a ton of points and lead the Golden Hurricane to an AAC West division title. Houston, Memphis, and Navy each have to come to Tulsa and the road slate of UConn, SMU, and Tulane isn’t daunting. Plus I think the coaching continuity in Tulsa gives them the edge of the rest of the AAC.
Joe Serpico: Tulane 5, Under -130 - While many expect the Green Wave to improve on their 4-8 record in Willie Fritz’s first season, the schedule makers did them no favors. They have back-to-back road games at Navy and Oklahoma in September, and then South Florida and Memphis, the projected division winners, in consecutive weeks. I’m not convinced they can win five of the other eight games so take the under.
Cyrus: Cincinnati 5.5, Over -150 - Austin Peay, Marshall, UCF, SMU, Temple, and UConn all have to come to Nippert Stadium. I see at least four wins from this group and trips to East Carolina, Miami (OH), and Tulane should see the Bearcats win at least two. The cupboard can’t be that bare in Cincy. A 6-6 record should be doable in Luke Fickell’s first year.
Joe: East Carolina 3.5, Under -130 - Another case where the schedule gives us a pay day. Outside the season opener against James Madison, it is hard to imagine the Pirates being favored in any game this season. It is hard to imagine more than three wins so give me the under.
Cyrus: FAU 4.5, Over -135 - I’m not going to entertain another 3-9 season from FAU. The offense should be amazing under Lane Kiffin and Kendall Briles, although it’ll take some time for the defense to gel, particularly the defensive line. With the influx of P5 transfers there’s simply too much talent for anything less than five wins. Get on the Lane train y’all!
Joe: Charlotte 4.5, Under -175 - I realize the risk-reward is pretty high, but the 49ers are in a very strong C-USA East and predicted to finish last in the division. They might pull off a surprise at some point this season, but they won’t get over four wins.
Cyrus: Old Dominion 6.5, Over -125 - I’ve been saying all summer that the Monarchs are going to win C-USA East. Quarterback is a question mark, and that’ll probably cost them any chance at an upset over North Carolina or Virginia Tech, but with key starters returning across the board, seven wins should be doable.
Joe: FAU 4.5, Over -135 - I’m on the Lane train with Cyrus. Kiffin inherited 14 returning starters, added former Florida State quarterback De’Andre Johnson to run Briles’ up-tempo offense and a plethora of former P5 misfits. Five wins should obtainable for Kiffin in his first season in Boca Raton.
Cyrus: Akron 5, Over -125 - This is a complete shot in the dark. The schedule doesn’t look awful and Terry Bowden has been recruiting well right? Right?!
Joe: Western Michigan 8.5, Under -140 - Tim Lester takes over a talented bunch, but there are questions in the passing game and finishing the season on the road at Northern Illinois and Toledo make it unlikely they win their division. This is still a bowl-eligible team, but they will not get to nine wins.
Cyrus: Western Michigan 8.5, Under -140 - Although I didn’t think the Tim Lester hire was too bad, I still don’t see WMU winning nine games and agree with Joe. They lost a ton last year and are due to have some light regression. I see an 8-4 season.
Joe: Toledo 8.5, Over -125 - Part of the reason why I am down on Western Michigan this season is because I am big on the Rockets. Toledo has flirted with winning the conference for years and finally take the MAC title with a 10-win season.
Cyrus: UNLV 5.5, Over +135 - The value here is tremendous. This boils down to whether you think the Rebels can win on the road in 2017 (at Idaho, at Fresno St., at New Mexico, at Nevada). They probably have to win at least three of those to hit the over.
Joe: San Jose State 3.5, Under -125 - The Spartans have a first-time head coach, no proven quarterback, questions on defense and non-conference games against BYU, Texas, USF and Utah. Two or three wins is the best-case scenario so do not be afraid to take this easy money.
Cyrus: Hawaii 4.5, Under +120 - This is just another great value bet. I’m not sold on last year’s resurgence marking the end of what was abysmal era of Hawaii football years prior to 2016. The road opener against UMass probably decides this bet.
Joe: Boise State 8, Over -160 - The Broncos have failed to win the Mountain West’s Mountain Division in back-to-back seasons, but Brett Rypien gets them back to the title game. Boise State has finished with fewer than 10 wins only four times since 1999 and they will reach that mark again this year.
Cyrus: Idaho 4.5, Over -125 - I don’t think last year was a fluke at all. Paul Petrino has found something and with Matt Linehan back for his senior season the Vandals should contend for another bowl game. With Sacramento State, UNLV, at Western Michigan, and at South Alabama to start the season, a 4-0 start wouldn’t shock me at all.
Joe: Georgia State 5, under EVEN - Shawn Elliott takes over a program moving into a new home and appears headed in the right direction, but they will struggle to score points. A push is certainly possible, but at even money, take your chances on the under.
Cyrus: Coastal Carolina 4, under EVEN - Let’s take a glance at the schedule shall we. The Sun Belt did CCU no favors as they get Arkansas Sate, App State, Idaho, and ULM on the road. The toss ups of Georgia Southern and Georgia State are at home, but I’m not seeing anything over four wins here. At worst they push and you get your money back.
Joe: Idaho 4.5, Over -125 - The Vandals have a favorable schedule giving them a strong chance to play in a bowl game in their final season at the FBS level. Count on them to play their hearts out this year and get well above the 4.5 mark.