College Football's Top Underdogs - Week 3 of Upset Possibilities
by Doug Upstone Scores & Statson
We head into Week 3 in our search for underdogs that can cover. We are looking under the porch, under tables, behind the couch, anywhere we can to find barking dogs.
This week has a distinct MAC flavor with a trio of selections normally reserved for November when we have weekday MAC action football. In addition, we are looking at a potential howlin' home dog and one pooch that is chalk-full of points. All odds courtesy of Intertops.
#109 Ball State (+14.5) at #110 Indiana - Ball State was picked last in the MAC West by almost every preseason publication but might be more competitive than imagined. Beating Central Connecticut State is not much an achievement, but losing by eight at Notre Dame as 33.5-point underdog says the Cardinals can play a little. Sure, the Irish were flat after the big Michigan matchup, but that was not Ball State's problem. With the Big Ten opener next week for Indiana, their focus does not figure to be sharp and the Hoosiers are not loaded on offense. With Indy only 1-6 ATS versus their in-state partners, Ball State should hang around and fall by 10.
#157 Central Michigan (+9) at #158 Northern Illinois- Neither of these teams has scored a lick this season. Central Mich. heads to DeKalb averaging 13.5 PPG and Northern Illinois has 13 total points on the season. Granted, both have faced Power 5 opponents, but this is not new to either program and they have not struggled this mightily to score before. With this in mind, at the moment it is hard to imagine the Huskies are going to really pull away from the Chippewas and win by double digits. The recent history also suggests the CMU has a real shot and should be confident having won and covered four in a row, including two on the road.
#163 Tulane at #164 UAB (+4) - After a strong opener, UAB could not stop the run against Coastal Carolina on the road and got hammered 47-24 as 8.5 point favorites. Sportsbooks have made the Blazers a home underdog which could work to their advantage. UAB has a nice history on the receiving end of points with 27-11 ATS mark. Third-year coach Willie Fritz has upgraded the Green Wave program to the point they could be bowl eligible. However, old habits die hard and this is still a Tulane team that is 14-57 SU on the road over a long period. Let's call for UAB outright.
#177 Eastern Michigan (+5) at #178 Buffalo - It's the conference opener for these two MAC squads that are both 2-0. This is their first matchup in four years in a crossover contest among the divisions. Each team arrives feeling really good about itself, winning on the road as underdogs. In terms of whom to choose, here is why Eastern Michigan is the right choice. The Eagles have been money the last few years at 20-7 against the spread. They can hang inside the number on the road as their 12-2 ATS record proves and give them a bone (points) away from home and they are 7-0 ATS, losing by less than a point per game (0.9).
#187 Middle Tennessee (+32.5) at #188 Georgia - Georgia could not have been more impressive than they were at South Carolina. They whipped the Gamecocks in every facet and looked like a Top 3 team in the country again. So what chance does Middle Tennessee have against the Dawgs? The Blue Raiders have a good offense with a veteran QB in Brent Stockwell. That does not mean that Georgia cannot stop Middle Tennessee, but he's not going to be intimidated. With a more meaningful contest next week at Missouri, coach Kirby Smart might want to see his team build a big early lead and let the backups play, which should allow the Blue Raiders to keep the deficit under 30 points.