College Football Free Pick - Arkansas St. & Utah St. To Score Lots Of Points

Utah State Aggies Players celebrate

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, September 13, 2016 7:40 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2016 7:40 PM UTC

Arkansas State takes on Utah State on Friday night (9:30 p.m. ET), each team thin at running back. We predict there will be plenty of points nonetheless. Get your free pick and betting preview here.

Arkansas State Red Wolves (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
Arkansas State, the reigning Sun Belt champion, is not putting up much of fight through the first two weeks of the season, at least according to the betting market. It has failed to cover the spread in each game by a combined 42.5 points, the fourth-worst showing against the number out of all FBS teams playing at least two games.

Is it déjà vu all over again? The Red Wolves dropped their first two games last season against then-No. 8 USC and No. 21 Missouri before going on to win nine of 11 and earning a New Orleans Bowl bid. Head coach Blake Anderson is hoping an upset victory over Utah State in Logan can spark a similar fate.

Let’s get right to the heart of Arkansas State’s problems: defense. It’s allowing 632 yards per game, ranking 121st nationally. The unit let pass-happy Toledo scorch it for 556 yards in a 31-10 season-opening loss, 377 of them through the air, then gifted Auburn a whopping 706 total yards last weekend in a 51-14 rout at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Much of the Tigers damage came on the ground, rumbling home for 462 rushing yards, fourth most in their school history.

Anderson is not sure what the problem is. The defense returns 13 players with starting experience, so it’s not totally green out on the field, and they’re playing to the schemes correctly. Little mistakes and poor plays are just burning the unit badly. The defense is also letting teams get ahead big early, allowing 21 points in the second quarter to Toledo and 17 to Auburn on Saturday. Playing from behind is always pressing.

The offense has failed to produce much also behind new starting quarterback Chad Voytik. The senior, a former four-star recruit from Pitt, transferred over to handle the starting gig in his final year of collegiate eligibility. He tossed for 215 yards on 15 of 21 passes last weekend but has yet to find the end zone through the air. He did punch in two scores on the ground against the Tigers. Overall, he is 26 of 45 for 339 passing yards.

The unit was handed a big blow in Auburn as junior running back Armond Weh-Weh sustained a suspected season-ending knee injury in the first half. That leaves Warren Wand the lone feature back in an already thin backfield. The 5-foot-5 sparkplug averaged 6.0 yards per carry last season. He’s rushed for 114 yards on 28 carries to begin 2016

Arkansas State is 1-8 SU and 3-6 ATS as an underdog since head coach Blake Anderson took over the program in 2014.


Shop For Live Odds For Arkansas State Red Wolves vs Utah State Aggies


Utah State Aggies (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Utah State was routed by USC 45-7 last weekend at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum as a 16.5-point dog. It was the program’s worst defeat against the number since a 39-7 whipping at Tennessee as a 5-point pup in the 2014 opener for both schools. Is the market overvaluing the Aggies? They have dropped their last six against the spread versus FBS competition by a 12-point average. For this game the Aggies opened up as -9 favorites across the college football odds board

Utah State is defiant at home, going 24-3 SU and 16-11 ATS in their last 27 at Maverik Stadium. The defense holds teams to 17.4 points per game during this stretch.

The Aggies are hosting a Sun Belt conference opponent for the first time since 2005. They are 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in last seven against, including a 49-0 beatdown of the Red Wolves as 8.5-point chalk in their last visit in 2003.

The Aggies rank 26th nationally in rushing offense (238.5 ypg), despite being held to 49 yards on the ground by the Trojans. How well they run against the Red Wolves is the big unknown. Star running back Devante Mays was injured in the third quarter of the USC game, and he left the stadium on crutches. The severity of his injury or his status for Friday night is unknown at the time of publication, but the outlook is grim. Mays rumbled home for 208 yards on 18 carries in the Aggies’ 45-6 opening win over FCS foe Weber State. The senior averaged 5.9 yards per carry in 2015.

The Aggies are capable of going to the air. Junior quarterback Kent Myers was 25 of 37 for 204 yards and a touchdown against USC. The team’s .643 completion percentage leads the Mountain West and ranks 39th nationally. Currently, top rated sportsbook 5Dimes has them as -9 favorites.

Defensively, the unit is anchored by an experienced secondary led by safety Dallin Leavitt. Leavitt, a junior transfer from BYU, picked up a career-high 15 tackles against USC. It allowed just 180.5 yards passing last season.


Final Analysis
There is too much talent on Arkansas State to play this poorly for much longer. It is breaking in a new quarterback, so a slow start on offense is excusable. The defense, though, oh boy. We’re not sure this is a good spot to see major improvements; an away trip on a quick turnaround. Look for a tit-for-tat-like contest with the score going over the total. OVER is the free college football pick.


Free College Football Pick: Over 57
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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