Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:56 PM
Week 8 Upset Alerts
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It was a solid week of selections last week, as the overall record was 2-1 ATS given the lines posted at the time, but considering Florida started and ended the week at +14, I'm sure some of you that followed along were able to get a push with the Gators.
The best (and most surprising) result of the bunch was Bowling Green's outright win over Toledo in a game the Falcons never trailed in. Even for as much as I liked Bowling Green in that spot – and hated Toledo – I did not expect to see an outright upset as near 30-point underdogs for Bowling Green. But who knows, maybe they read my “dog crap” comment and wanted to prove me wrong. If that's the case, I'd love to see this piece get shared with all my +20 programs each week with the hope of cashing a few more tickets.
Florida's 14-point loss is officially graded as a loss, but it's not like the Gators didn't have plenty of opportunities to get inside that margin in the 4th quarter. There was an INT in the end zone as well as a failed scoring drive to end the game from the Gators, as poor execution late cost them that ATS win.
Arkansas was the other winner on last week's card, as the Razorbacks are now 2-0 ATS when they show up in this piece. Given that their line moved all the way down to +3.5 by kickoff, we clearly got the best of the number, and the +7 result was never really in danger of falling short.
It's on to this week's card though, and while the Arkansas Razorbacks were a strong consideration once again – home underdogs in the +10-19 range against an Auburn team with LSU on deck – I'm not going to push my luck with them there. Auburn is coming off a bye themselves, and that's basically what kept Arkansas off the card this week, but they are another underdog I would strongly consider.
Let's get to this week's selections:
Upset Alert #1: Underdogs in the +1 to + 9 range
YTD: 1-6 SU; 5-2 ATS
Maryland (+6) vs Indiana
Maryland's offense was the talk of college football through two weeks, as they started the year by putting up 79 and 63 points in their first two games – both easy wins. But it's all been downhill from there for a Terrapins team that's been hit with injuries at the same time as well, and last week's 40-14 loss as 4-point road chalk was a low point. The market saw that result and rushed to the window to fade Maryland this week as they host Indiana, because overreactions to one week is always going to be a thing in this industry.
That loss was a bad one for Maryland no doubt, but I actually view it as a good thing in terms of backing them this week because their stock is rather low. This line opened up at Indiana -3.5, and now sits at -6 because nobody wants anything to do with the Terrapins after that game. But if there ever was a great spot to bounce back and put their best foot forward, this would be it for Maryland, as they know that loss was highly embarrassing, and the fact that they were shutout on their home field the last time they played there (59-0 vs Penn State) only adds to the desire to have a strong performance this week. Indiana is nothing special on either side of the ball, but final scores for the Hoosiers to skew that.
Broad picture stats for Indiana will show that defensively they aren't all that bad with two shutout wins on the year, with another one coming after allowing just 3 points. But those goose eggs came against FCS Eastern Illinois and FBS (that should be in FCS) Rutgers. The 3 points allowed came against Connecticut – another team that is FCS caliber – and that's about as soft as soft gets in terms of schedule.
However, Indiana got lit up by Ohio State (as everyone has) in a 51-10 loss, but even the anaemic Michigan State offense managed to put 40 points up on the board against the Hoosiers. Any half-decent foe can move the ball up and down on this team, and even amid recent struggles, Maryland's more then capable of doing the same.
Finally, while I do understand the desire to fade Maryland after such a poor performance last week, I don't understand the idea of getting behind Indiana as a road favorite to do it.
Since late-October of 2017, this Indiana Hoosiers football program is a perfect 0-6 ATS as road favorites of any number, and as luck would have it, that run started with a road game IN Maryland laying -6.5. The Terrapins ended up winning that game 42-39 and this game has great potential to repeat that result.
Upset Alert #2: Underdogs in the +10 to +19 range
YTD: 1-6 SU; 1-6 ATS
New Mexico (+19.5) vs Wyoming
There are much better teams than New Mexico that could have found residence in this spot, but the Lobos should be able to hang tough here against a Wyoming team that's still highly overrated in my view.
Make no mistake about it, New Mexico is not a very good football team themselves, but their ability to run the ball and shorten games with that strategy does make them a nice team to fill this role. Outside of getting spanked by Notre Dame (66-14), they haven't lost a game by more than 14 points this year, and they've put up at least 10 points offensively in all six of their contests.
That latter point is important because Wyoming has only scored more than 23 points once in their last five games, and chances are they'll need much more than that to cover a number that's approaching -20. Wyoming is one of the slower paced teams as it is out there this season, so them shortening the game on themselves hurts their ATS chances, and with a defense that's allowed at least 14 points against in every one of their six games this year, to back Wyoming you've got to figure that the Cowboys will to score somewhere near 40 to have a shot at this cover. I just don't see that happening against a ball-control team like the Lobos, pending numerous turnovers that put them behind multiple scores early.
And while the rebuttal from Wyoming backers will always be the scores in this game from the past two seasons – Wyoming won 31-3 and 42-3 – I just don't think the 2019 version of Wyoming is anywhere near as good as those squads, nor is the 2019 version of New Mexico as bad as they were. Wyoming also closed as -7 or less in both of those games, and winning by a big margin and being expected to win by a big margin are two very different things.
I don't believe New Mexico will end up with a shot at the outright victory, but keeping it within two TD's is something I expect to see from the Lobos throughout this entire game.
Upset Alert #3: Underdogs in the +20 and above range
YTD: 2-5 ATS
Nevada (+21) vs Utah State
Not entirely sure what Utah State has done to deserve this kind of lofty respect for this game, other than their two losses this year (Wake Forest, LSU) have come against quality foes. But a number like this is selling a Nevada team awfully short. Utah State is coming off a bye week so the extra time to prepare does play into shading the number their way here, but at -20+, that shade has turned into a solar eclipse.
Defensively, Nevada has some issues to work out the rest of the year as they've given up 92 points in their past two games alone, and already saw Oregon hang 77 on them earlier in the year. But Nevada is still 1-1 SU in those most recent two games, and like other big underdogs on the card this week, will look to win the ball control aspect of the game and live with the results from there. Utah State's already been favored by 20 or more once this year against FBS competition, and that ended up as just a 10-point home win over Colorado State at the end of September. This game has all the makings of a similar result.