Profit Off Underdogs in Week 5 College Football Betting

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 4:34 PM GMT

The SEC’s East Division and the ACC’s Atlantic Division are our two stops on the Underdog Train this weekend in games where two good-looking dogs are getting more than a handful of points.

Balanced, Improved Vols in the Peach State Trying to Beat the Dawgs
Tennessee (+17, Pinnacle) at #12 Georgia, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT (ESPN/WatchESPN): Head coach Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers head to Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia for this SEC Division battle Saturday morning in which the oddsmakers have made the Bulldogs gaudy 17-point favorites. Whether or not Tennessee (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) can actually beat Georgia (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) straight up in this game remains to be seen—the Volunteers are just 1-23 SU their L24 against ranked opponents—but any gambler with the stones to bet into the face of that megatrend can get Tennessee as high as +580 (Paddy Power) on the Moneyline (To Win) (Georgia -300).

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The Bulldogs (8-5 AU, 3-8-1 ATS LY) are coming off of a 66-0 pasting of Troy State here at home as massive 41-point favorites last Saturday while the Volunteers are coming off a bye week and will be rested, although playing their last opponent, #4 Oklahoma—Tennessee lost 34-10 as 21-point underdogs in Norman on Sept. 13—they probably needs about two weeks to heal and rest up. One player listed as out for this game and a big loss is Tennessee freshman WR Josh Smith (10 receptions, 135 yards, TD, 13.5 ypc) who will miss this SEC opener with an ankle injury. The Vols already had WR Von Pearson (7 receptions, 98 yards, TD) also out with a high ankle sprain, so WR Marquez North (14 receptions, 173 yards, 2 TDs, 12.4 ypc), freshman WR Josh Malone (5 catches, 63 yards, 12.6 ypc), junior WR Pig Howard (13 receptions, 89 yards, TD) and Tennessee’s tight ends and running backs will likely see more balls thrown their way from QB Justin Worley (70 completions, 721 yards, 6 TDs) in this important game for both teams, both record-wise and emotionally.

Tennessee’s defense (ranked #30) will have to try to stifle Georgia’s high-powered offense which is led by QB Hutson Marsh (419 passing yards, 4 TDs), a unit which is averaging 48.7 points per game so far; the fourth-highest average in the country. But the Volunteers defense has been pretty solid against three decent opponents—Utah State, Arkansas State and #4 Oklahoma—and have allowed just 20.0 points per game heading into this likely very-entertaining showdown. The Bulldogs have been pretty vulnerable against the pass so far though as #24 South Carolina’s QB Dylan Thompson proved throwing for 271 yards and 3 TDs against Georgia in a 38-35 Gamecock win in Columbia on Sept. 13 and two members of the Bulldogs starting secondary—Aaron Davis and Dominick Sanders—are freshman, so, Tennessee should be able to generate at least 24 points of its own on Saturday with guys like QB Worley, WRs North, Howard and Malone and RBs Jalen Hurd (48 rushes, 209 yards, TD) and Marlin Lane (34 rushes, 187 yards, TD), among others an a team always know for its speed.

The Volunteers seem to look a little bit better than they did last season (5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS) and Jones may feel a little job pressure now in Rocky Top, so he may have this team in a better place than the power ratings and point spreads reveal here in early fall. But this will be really be a test for Tennessee, who will watch Georgia pound RBs Todd Gurley (41 rushes, 402 yards, 4 TDs) and Sony Michel (20 rushes, 206 yards, 3 TDs) to try to soften up the Vols defense. The Dawgs do have some very minor injury concerns of their own with SE Malcolm Mitchell (knee) out, DB Shattie Fenteng (undisclosed) listed as questionable and DB Damian Swann (concussion) as probable.

Besides being rested and getting 17 points per SBR's live college football odds —make sure you get +17 (or more) as 17 is a key number in college football—some of the other trends and numbers point toward taking Tennessee. Last year, the Vols covered against the Bulldogs as 13½-point underdogs (L 31-34) in Knoxville and when these two teams last played here in Athens (in 2012), Tennessee also covered as 14-point underdogs (L 44-51) in a high-scoring shootout which is very possible again in this one. Also, Tennessee is 6-2 L8 ATS against Georgia and 4-1 ATS the L5 Away and the Dawgs are coming off a game with Troy State while the Vols are coming off one with #4 Oklahoma. Tennessee +17 is the call here. And, also of note to prospective gamblers on the Total in this game: When making your college football picks keep in mind all three Tennessee games have gone ‘Under’ while all three Georgia contests have gone ‘Over.’

 

Wolfpack Welcome Top-Ranked Seminoles to Carter-Finley Stadium Saturday
#1 Florida State at North Carolina State (+19, bet365/Bwin) , Saturday (ABC/ESPN, 3:30 p.m. ET/12:30 p.m. PT) An awful lot like the above handicap, this ACC Atlantic Division matchup sees and game and underrated opponent in North Carolina State (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) facing a high-ranked team, #1 Florida State (3-0 SU, 0-3 ATS), which has failed to impress, especially in the old Point Spread Department where the Seminoles are currently running a deficit of -49 points (-16.33 ppg) on the season, the last failure against the number coming last Saturday in against Clemson in Death Valley as 9½-point favorites (FSU won 23-17). And maybe the oddsmakers have just simply made Florida State lines a little too high after a perfect 14-0 SU and 10-3 ATS season last time year and it always seems the top-rated team in college football is always giving a point or two more than it seems it has to, due in part to the fact sportsbooks know some parts of the public would like to bet the perceived best team in the country simply because they are rated #1 at that given point in time. And in that sense, maybe some of the silly rankings actually do some bettors a big disservice. It’s best to ignore the rankings and focus on the specific situation at hand.

Last year, head coach Jimbo Fisher’s  Seminoles did a number of NC State (3-9 SU, 4-7 ATS LY), silencing the Wolfpack, 49-17, but failing to cover as big 35-point favorites. The last time these two teams played here in Raleigh (in 2012), NC State upset FSU, 17-16 as 17-point underdogs and if the Wolfpack can recreate that big upset this time around as +750 Moneyline underdogs (Paddy Power), they will no doubt have created the big story in college football this coming weekend and maybe for the season. And they can actually win this game—and affect the first-ever College Football Playoff (CFP) scenarios—despite the Florida State Seminoles being gargantuan -1,200 favorites. NC State’s Jacoby Brissett (83 completions, 1005 yards, 10 TDs)—a 6’4”, 231-pound monster of a QB—RBs Shadrach Thornton (42 rushes, 283 yards/5 TDs) and Matt Dayes (45 rushes, 267 yards, 3 TDs, 7.6 ypr; 14 receptions, 185 yards, 3 TDs, 13.2 ypc) and WR Bo Hines (16 catches, 209 yards, 13.1 ypc) give head coach Dave Doeren and the Wolfpack enough offense to try to keep the ball out of the Seminoles hands as much as possible and to try keep the home throng entertained and in the game, which is actually a very important aspect. And the NC State’s defense—although stats in a 42-0 shutout against Presbyterian (as 40-point favorites) last weekend’s throw off their meaning some—is ranked #23 in the country allowing just 18.5 points per game, with fairly decent performances against Georgia Southern and South Florida.

In this one, FSU again just seems to be laying too many points. Toss in the fact that this is the Wolfpack’s ACC conference opener and that it’s at home and that it’s being televised nationally and this has all the makings of a classic game that could very well go right down to the wire, despite the near 20-point spread. And my friends the trends scream NC State in this one too. The Wolfpack are 8-1 ATS in their L9 ATS and 4-0 ATS in their L4 here at Home in Carter-Finley Stadium in this oft-overlooked series. And the Underdog is 11-3-1 ATS over the L15.  So, not too hard to recommend taking NC State +19 here against the #1 team in the nation, FSU, on a lovely fall Saturday afternoon made for college football (79°, mostly cloudy) in North Carolina. The Wolfpack could shock the world here.

Free College Football Picks: Tennessee +19 at 5Dimes, NC State +19 (bet365)

Also Look: Purdue +10 (vs. Iowa) (Pinnacle)

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