Last week, the three Fade the Public Plays I went with involved Group of Five schools. Memphis, Houston, and Arkansas State have been considered three of the top teams in the AAC and the Sun Belt over the course of the year, but there was reason to doubt all three. Unfortunately, that didn’t end in a winning record, but it would have made you some money if you played all three of these picks on the moneyline too.
East Carolina did keep it close with Memphis for much of the game, trailing by four points at the end of the fourth quarter before falling off at the end, yet South Alabama didn’t ever have much of a chance against Arkansas State. The good news was that SMU proved themselves superior to Houston. Despite being a two-touchdown home underdog, the Mustangs pummeled the Cougars in a reverse cover victory and spared my blushes.
Now, let’s get into this week’s picks.
Louisville +20 vs. Syracuse
The Cardinals have to stop the bleeding at some point. Louisville has looked awful over the last few weeks, and that has led to increasing speculation that Bobby Petrino could be bought out at the end of the season despite the school needing to shell out over $11 million in order to do so. That might be tough since Louisville no longer has Papa John money to help the cause, but Petrino could help his case by winning a few games over the last half of the season.
It was expected to be a rebuilding year for Louisville, yet no one at the school thought things would be this bad without Lamar Jackson. The Cardinals have looked flat out anemic on both sides of the ball with both the offense and the defense ranked outside of the top 100 in the latest S&P+ ratings. The public perception is this team has mailed it in, and just 23 percent of bets are on Louisville at this point.
There is reason to be optimistic about Louisville’s chances of covering this week though. First, sharps love the Cardinals. Although so much action has been on Syracuse, the line has dropped a point. Second, the Orange defense has continued to hold it back, and they have defeated just two FBS teams by 20 or more points. Hold your nose and go with Louisville here.
UCLA +12.5 at Arizona State
It’s a rebuilding year for Chip Kelly at UCLA, and the Bruins have been taking full advantage. They have played a number of young players as Kelly determines who he wants to move forward with next year, and he who wants to cut bait on at the end of the season. That has led to some pretty tough results, and the Bruins are just 2-7 on the year. However, those two wins came against decent conference opponents like California and Arizona, so there is reason to believe they can win this game.
Lots of people love the Sun Devils in this game. Around 70 percent of the bets thus far have come in on Arizona State, however the CFB betting line has yet to budge. Like we saw with Nebraska last week, this is the time of the year where playing all those young players pays off, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see UCLA pull off the outright upset.
Virginia Tech +3 at Pittsburgh
Call this play the Rule of Pitt. Any time you have completely given up on Pittsburgh, they come back to pull off a surprise, but just when you start to trust them, they let you down.
The Panthers have been the talk of the last two days after taking control of the ACC Coastal following a win over Virginia last Friday. There’s a reason Pittsburgh is just 5-4 on the season though.
Pittsburgh is just mediocre. They rank 71st in the country in S&P+, yet they have received two-thirds of the action in their tilt with Virginia Tech this Saturday. The Hokies are ranked 10 spots higher according to that metric, and that’s why sharps have pounced and the NCAAF betting line has come down a half-point.
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