Football is back which means, Underdog Against the Spread is back so more money will be made (hopefully)! Last year...
- East Carolina (Under 3.5) - Everything Joe said last year was spot on. It’s also the case again this season.
- FAU (Over 4.5) - Easy money on the Lane Train last year.
- Charlotte (Under 4.5) - Again, spot on about them last year. Let’s do it one more time.
- Akron (Over 5) - This was really going out on a limb and trusting the talent Terry Bowden was brining to Akron and fortunately the Zips came through.
- Western Michigan (Under 8.5) - This number was way too high as there was going to be a clear drop off from WMU’s Row The Boat era.
- Toledo (Over 8.5) - Toledo has been the most stable entity in the MAC and brought back a ton of talent who were hungry to win a MAC Championship. Mission accomplished.
- San Jose State (Under 3.5) - A Year Zero situation in the Bay Area made this an easy call.
- Hawaii (Under 4.5) - I just really loved the value here. Hawaii was due to regress after surprisingly making a bowl the year prior.
- Boise State (Over 8) - The Broncos haven’t won under eight games since 1998! Guess who I’m taking to hit the over this year.
- Coastal Carolina (Under 4) - This call was really based on a really tough road schedule and the sudden departure of head coach Joe Moglia.
- Tulane (Under 5) - We can thank the replay crew at SMU for this one.
- Tulsa (Over 7.5) - Perhaps our biggest miss of the season. Chad President was hyped as the next great Tulsa quarterback and man did that backfire.
- Cincinnati (0ver 5.5) - Can’t be too mad at this one as the Bearcats came a game away from hitting the over in Luke Fickell’s debut. Wait, yes I can. THEY LOST TO FREAKING EAST CAROLINA.
- Old Dominion (Over 6.5) - Similar to Tulsa, I was all in on Old Dominion making it to the Conference USA Championship Game and then injuries completely derailed their season.
- UNLV (Over 5.5) - Didn’t have too much faith in this pick other than the schedule was pretty favorable. UNLV football gonna UNLV.
- Georgia State (Under 5) - A couple of unexpected wins on the road spoiled one of Joe’s favorite bets heading into last year.
- Idaho (Over 4.5) - We both backed the Vandals to finiah strong in their final FBS season and that blew up in our face.
Win totals courtesy of Bovada
Cyrus Smith: Tulane 5.5, Over +110 - I’m going with the value play here. Tulane was a missed call away from reaching a bowl game last season and will return Jonathan Banks, a veteran skill corps, and most of the offensive line. Defense is a concern and the schedule isn’t easy, but in Willie Fritz I trust.
Joe Serpico: Navy 7, Under +110 - The schedule makers might have given the Mids an extra game this season, but they will travel more than any FBS team other than Hawaii. That includes Air Force, Notre Dame and UCF all on the road, and no conference games against ECU or UConn. Of all my picks in this piece, this is my top play.
Cyrus: Memphis 8.5, Under 8.5 -120 - Mike Norvell has had the opportunity to reap the rewards of a stacked roster suited to run his offense. Two years later and everyone is gone. What’s left is a roster made in his image as a majority of the contributors this season will be his recruits. I’m skeptical.
Joe: East Carolina 3.5, Under -170 - It’s not a great value bet, but the Pirates could win their opener against North Carolina A&T and that is it. I definitely don’t see them picking up another three wins in the rest of the out-of-conference games or AAC play to go over.
Cyrus: FAU 8.5, Over -120 - The Owls could lose to UCF and Oklahoma during non-conference play and I’d still be confident in the over hitting here. I think they’re just that much better than Conference USA.
Joe: FAU 8.5, Over -120 - They finished the 2017 season red hot after going undefeated in conference play and should be even better this year. It’s called the Lane Train for a reason so hop aboard once again and make some money.
Cyrus: Rice 3, Under +120 - Rice went 1-11 last year, fired their head coach, brought in a new head coach who’s offensive philosophy is radically different than the predecessor, saw their most talented players leave as grad transfers and you’re giving me value on the under, Vegas? Bet the mortgage on this one y’all.
Joe: Charlotte 3.5, Under -140 - The 49ers bring back some experience, but so does the rest of the conference. They won one game last season and are 7-29 since joining the FBS. Anything over two wins would be a shocker.
Cyrus: BYU 5.5, Under +110 - The Cougars’ road schedule is the following: at Arizona, at Wisconsin, at Washington, at Boise State, at UMass and at Utah. In my eyes they need to win at least two on the road to feel good about the over.
Joe: UMass 5.5, Over -125 - Mark Whipple’s bunch that won four of their last six games remains pretty much intact heading into the new season. Looks like Cyrus and I will both need the Minutemen to get the win over BYU on Nov. 10.
Cyrus: Central Michigan 4.5, Over Even - The Chips have one of the best kept secrets in the country in running back Jonathan Ward and his durability will be key if they’re to make a bowl game again. Head coach John Bonamego has yet to lose fewer than six games in three years as head coach and after winning eight games last season, dropping to four wins seems unlikely.
Joe: Ohio 8.5, Over +105 - Nine is an important number here. Nine players return on an offense that was No. 9 in scoring and won nine games last season. A favorable schedule makes nine wins a realistic possibility once again.
Cyrus: Eastern Michigan 5.5, Under +130 - This is nothing more than a value play on a program that’s traditionally been one of the worst teams in the country. With three road games in the early part of the season and a home game against Northern Illinois, this could be a winner by October.
Joe: Buffalo 6.5, Over -150 - The Bulls offense came to life once quarterback Tyree Jackson returned from injury and they return depth on both sides of the ball. They could flirt with the MAC East title which would put them well over.
Cyrus: Colorado State 5.5, Over -115 - S&P+ pegs the Rams as a favorite in five games and the ones they aren’t a favorite in are at Nevada and vs Utah State. They don’t have much returning experience but Mike Bobo has recruited well enough for the Rams to continue their bowl streak right?
Joe: San Diego State 8.5, Under Even - Their toughest opponents are all on the road (Stanford, Boise State and Fresno State) and the matchup against Arizona State could go either way. At even money, it’s worth the gamble that the Aztecs don’t repeat last year’s success.
Cyrus: Nevada 6, Under -140 - The under is pretty juiced but I’ll take it. The Wolf Pack made strides down the stretch but to suggest that this team can win over six games is a stretch. On top of that the schedule is really tough as they could start out 1-6, making this a winner by October.
Joe: New Mexico 4, Under -120 - Bob Davie enters the year as one of our coaches on the hot seat, and a rough schedule likely won’t help him keep his job. I see only two or three wins, but even if they manage to squeak out a fourth, no money is lost.
Cyrus: Georgia Southern 5.5, Under Even - During Sun Belt media days, I noticed Georgia Southern was receiving a lot of hype and I think folks need to pump the breaks a bit. The Eagles should certainly look better under new offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse, who ran an awesome option offense at New Mexico. Still, for the Eagles to hit the over they’ll have to win on the road and given that the over is juiced at -170, the under is the smart play.
Joe: Louisiana-Monroe 5.5, Under -110 - The defense was dreadful last season, allowing 41 points and 532.1 yards per game. They won’t be much better this year. The Warhawks have also gone 4-25 on the road the past four seasons and have seven games away from home this year. I predict four or five wins at most.
Cyrus: Texas State 3.5, Over +110 - After two straight Year Zero situations where Everret Withers was coaching a depleted roster, this season the Bobcats have some dynamic young talent. Depth is still perilous but I’m banking on catching lightning in a bottle here. The Bobcats have a solid shot at going 2-2 or 3-1 before October.
Joe: South Alabama 4, Over -165 - The price isn’t enticing, but I’m honestly shocked this number hasn’t moved up to 4.5 or 5. Steve Campbell inherits solid players returning on both sides of the ball, and the Jags have four of their last six games at home. A bowl-eligible season isn’t out of the question.