#Betting101: One More Chance for A-State on Week 14 NCAAF Lines

Jason Lake

Monday, November 27, 2017 1:14 PM UTC

Monday, Nov. 27, 2017 1:14 PM UTC

The Arkansas State Red Wolves have crushed the college football odds in the Sun Belt. However, they’ve got a tough gig coming up this Saturday against the Troy Trojans.

In case you were wondering why it pays to shop early, check out last week’s very special episode of #Betting101. As soon as the first lines hit the Week 13 NCAAF odds board, we recommended the UAB Blazers as 20-point home faves against the no-good, very bad UTEP Miners. The Blazers were –21 on the “official” closing line; many books had them at –21.5 or higher. Final score: UTEP 7, UAB 28.

There won’t be nearly as many golden opportunities for us to cash in this week. It’s Champ Week in the FBS, with a handful of other, lesser games sprinkled on top. Only one of them involves a team trend that veteran wiseguy Marc Lawrence discussed at the inaugural International Football Betting Conference: The Arkansas State Red Wolves host the Troy Trojans this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN, and the Wolves are 21-9 ATS in Sun Belt action under head coach Blake Anderson. Shall we?

Will the Wolves Survive?
Well, we gave it a shot two weeks ago, and it didn’t quite pan out. Arkansas State was available at –24.5 when we grabbed them at home against the Texas State Bobcats; the Wolves were –27 at the close, so another moral victory for us, but they only won 30-12. Boo.

The Troy Trojans beat LSU who beat Auburn who just beat Bama. Just a reminder.

— Neal Brown's Visor (@nealbrownsvisor) November 26, 2017

This time around, Arkansas State (7-3 SU and ATS) has a much tougher matchup against the Trojans (9-2 SU, 4-7 ATS) in their regular-season finale. These are two of the four teams tied at 6-1 in the Sun Belt standings, and the Wolves have opened as 1-point home faves. It’s a fair cop. Troy is ahead of A-State on the F/+ Combined Ratings at Football Outsiders, No. 39 to No. 44. They probably “deserve” to be smaller underdogs than the standard three points for playing on the road.

Price Check on Trojans
But how much smaller? ESPN’s Football Power Index has the Wolves winning 55.2 percent of the time, or around –2 according to Wizard of Odds. And if we do the full breakdown, using the Simple Rating System at Sports Reference and the Points Above Expectation numbers from ESPN’s Brad Edwards and Seth Walder, we get this:

Trojans: plus-2.26 SRS
Wolves: minus-0.85 SRS, plus-1.51 PAE, plus-3 at home = Wolves –1.4

No surprise to see Arkansas State on the sharp side. But is there enough profit margin for us to recommend them for your college football picks? As a rule of thumb, we want a 2-point difference between the projections and the odds. We can fudge this rule when working around a magic number, but there’s hardly any difference between –1 and –2, so no dice. Unless the Trojans pick up a little more chalk before kick-off, that is. Keep an eye on the SBR odds board throughout the week in case you can get a good enough price, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.

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