BIG TEN FOOTBALL AND THE MOUNTAIN WEST IS BACK! The eagle has landed folks and within a couple of weeks every conference will be back.
Lets jump into some nuggets to know to get you ready for a big card.
On Thursday, we have another mid week Fun Belt matchup. We all witnessed the offensive firework show last week between Arkansas State and Georgia State. It was so bad defensively, Arkansas State fired their defensive coordinator after the game. This week, they face another good Sun Belt team in App State. When you look at the season numbers for Arky State defensively they are ugly. Ugly like when you saw the grill of Rico Bosco for the first time. They are allowing 39.8 points per game, against the pass allowing 8.5 yards per attempt and have been gashed for 175 a game on the ground. It's gotten bad for that defense down in Jonesboro. The great thing they have working for them from a total perspective is the offense passes literally every play. This is vaunted system with 2 quarterbacks that can wing it around and plethora of receivers that can go up and get it. They throw for over 384 a game and it's the reason they've been able to score 109 over the last 2. App State is a bit more balanced, but shouldn't have any trouble moving the ball against a bad defense. They are off a bye and a 50 point game themselves. These are two teams that play with pace as well. Arkansas State has went over the number in 4 of 5 this season.
The Big Ten season gets underway Friday night when Illinois heads to Camp Randall to play the Badgers getting 19.5. Remember last season the Illini pulled off an upset win against Wisky as 31 point dog. Illinois is off a great season making a bowl and the future is bright finally under Lovie Smith. They return QB Brandon Peters and RB Mike Epstein, a back who averaged 6.5 yards per carry last season. The big concern for the Illinois in this game will lie on the defensive end. Wisconsin is really good and they are gigantic on the offensive line. Football is won in the trenches and week to week the Badgers generally have the best of it. It will take some time for the skill players to get going aside Graham Mertz. This lately has not been a good Badger team laying numbers though. Illinois has talent on offense and has shown they can beat the Badgers, or at least in this case, hang around. Illinois has an underrated defense, they return a strong secondary and a really good group of linebackers. They just have to make sure they can handle themselves up front. This is a team that is being priced like the old Illinois team a few years back. This is a solid group on both sides.
BYU is back and laying another big number. QB Zach Wilson dazzled on the national stage last week against a good program in Houston. Now the Cougars head back to Provo and are laying 28.5 against lowly Texas State. When looking at BYU's schedule, this is the weakest opponent they have played yet. Texas State is 1-5 and have lost some close games, but this one is a major step up on the road. BYU has been so good against the number because they put a ton of points up with a really efficient offense and get stops on the defensive end. The one game they didn't cover snuck up on them as kind of a sandwich spot and I think it prepares them here. In the 4 ATS covers they had they scored 43 or more in all of them and won 3 of 4 by 31+. This is a team that pounds you and doesn't let up. This will be an interesting game because while Texas State has struggled from a record standpoint, they've been solid covering numbers. They fight and play hard and have come inside two 24+ point numbers. But at some point you have to realize betting against BYU and Zach Wilson just isn't an easy thing to do.
Texas is off a bye and a favorite yet again. As I said and will say until i'm blue in the face… Texas doesn't cover as a favorite under Herman and are very good getting points. It's an angle that has been very good since he arrived. This week they are -8.5 against a solid Baylor team with a good quarterback and skill position talent. As usual, the Longhorns are struggling on defense allowing 36 points per game and injuries are plentiful for them on that side of the ball. Keep in mind also dating back to the last two seasons, over the last 20 games as a favorite, they are 16-4 straight up, but in those 20 games they've only covered 8 of them. I'm not big at all on trends over 2 years old, but the Tom Herman laying points angle and fading it has worked swimmingly. Make sure you keep abreast of both sides from an injury perspective. There has been some talk of some COVID cases here.
As always, bet responsibly. My deep dive of my favorite college football game will be out Saturday. With those on Barstool, I am 3-1-1
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