For the sixth consecutive season on our college football betting podcast, Big Bets on Campus, Collin Wilson and I pick our two favorite underdogs for each week’s list.
We already did a spin for last week’s picks, as UConn and NC State were total busts.
- 2018-22: 60-98 +8.3 units
- 2023: 1-3 +0.0 units
- In general: 61-99 +8.3 units
This week, Collin and I will be filming with a couple of dogs in prime time starting at 7 pm ET.
If you’re feeling lucky, a combination of both puppies will give you slightly less than 6 to 1 odds.
Stuckey: Florida +205 vs. Tennessee
The Vols head into the swamp looking for a win for the first time since 2003, and I think they may have trouble ending their current 10-game losing streak in Gainesville.
Tennessee’s offense just can’t seem to find a rhythm with new quarterback Joe Milton, who I’ve never really believed in.
I expected this offense to take a big step back after losing four starters in the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, but I didn’t expect to see this level of inconsistency against players like Virginia and Austin Peay.
Last year’s starting quarterback, Hendon Hooker, was able to efficiently hit all of the underlying routes that really open up Josh Heupel’s offense. Milton has not been able to duplicate that efficiency in the accuracy department, which has caused problems on offense against inferior competition.
It’s not all on Milton, as the receivers have had falling issues and the offensive line has yet to find its footing.
Tennessee will have a hard time competing in Florida, so they should leave it to Milton to attack through the air. Ultimately, I don’t trust him to consistently sustain drives in a hostile environment based on what I’ve seen on offense to date.
Expect Milton to make some key mistakes that will allow Florida to control the flow of the game and clock even more by leaning on the excellent running back duo of Montrell Johnson Jr. and Trevor Etienne against a vulnerable Vols stopping unit.
The Gators will also now have a full offensive line with the return of starting center Kingsley Eguakun, who started 26 straight games on the interior before missing the first two of this season with an injury.
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Wilson: James Madison +120 vs. Troy
This is not the same Trojan defense we saw last season.
They’ve certainly missed the services of KJ Robertson and all-time FBS tackle leader Carlton Martial in two games in which they allowed 30 to Stephen F. Austin and 42 to Kansas State, adding to the score. every time Troy threatened to cover.
The underlying metrics for the defense are a bit concerning when you look under the hood at things like Havoc, pass rush, and tackles for loss.
Even the Quality and Finishing stats suggest there could be more fights on the horizon, starting this week against quarterback Jordan McCloud, wide receiver Reggie Brown and running back Kaelon Black, who has averaged 3.7 yards after contact so far. It’s about the season.
Meanwhile, quarterback Gunnar Watson hasn’t looked great through the first two weeks with just three big throws in five turnover-worthy plays. The veteran signal-caller has a career-high 8% turnover-worthy play percentage so far in 2023. I think he’s really missing two of his top 2022 targets, including Tez Johnson, who is transferred to Oregon.
That should be good news for a James Madison defense that has struggled against the pass but has played solidly against the run, so don’t expect much from Troy running back Kimani Vidal.
Let’s continue with the visiting Dukes in this conference clash where home field advantage has meant less than any other conference in the last 20 seasons.
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