Saturday Last Call: Fresno State to Strike Early Against Rockets

Thursday, September 27, 2018 5:58 PM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 27, 2018 5:58 PM UTC

In this week's Last Call segment, NCAAF handicapper Mark Lathrop looks to get things done early so we can all go to bed a little richer. Read up on his 1st half pick!

2018 NCAAF Record: 14-8, +9.56u

*Note: Record includes official Twitter selections (@mlathrop3)


Toledo Rockets (2-1 SU) @ Fresno State Bulldogs (2-0 SU)Saturday, September 29th, 10:30PM EST, ESPNUFree NCAAF Pick: Fresno State -7.5Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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What could be a very fantastic game finishes off Saturday’s NCAA football slate, as the Toledo Rockets travel to Fresno State in a game that kicks off at 10:30 PM EST. Both teams are coming off of wins, although Fresno State’s dismantling of UCLA is the most impressive. I’m expecting UCLA to bounce back because they have a roster full of talent, yet the Bulldogs played a complete game to kick their butts. Toledo scored in the 60’s again last week – the second time in 3 weeks, although Nevada’s defense is not close to what the Fresno State defense is.

Both defenses will be tested by dual-threat quarterbacks that are coming off of fantastic performances. Marcus McMaryion was highly efficient throwing the ball in putting up a 66.7% completion percentage and 8.2 yards per attempt with one touchdown. When in the red zone he was deadly with his feet and scampered for 4 touchdowns. Toledo’s Mitchell Guadagni had a more prolific output in touchdowns, with 211 yards passing and 4 touchdowns through the air, and 131 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Guadagni averaged 8.7 yards per attempt on the ground and 8.8 yards per attempt passing. Nevada’s defense is one of the worst in the country though.

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That was a looong bye weekend. Six days until we're back home. #GoDogs

⏳9.29.18⏳ pic.twitter.com/ZrhxbGxhbm

— Fresno State Football (@FresnoStateFB) 24 de setembro de 2018
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These teams met two years ago and Toledo won convincingly by a final score of 52-17, while taking a 24-0 lead to halftime. I would expect that the line movement we are seeing now is a reflection of this past game’s results. The Bulldogs opened as 11-point favorites just to see that line crash to 7.5 at offshore sites such as BetOnline. Preseason projections showed Fresno State as a projected 3.5-point favorite in this game.

This Fresno State defense is a much improved unit since that game though, and after finishing 13th in the country in overall offense according to S&P+ in 2017 returns many pieces for this year. The Bulldogs defense is giving up just an average of 294.7 yards per game, including a paltry 177 yards passing. On the flip-side, Toledo has been gashed, especially on the ground, where they give up 197 yards per game rushing.

The number for the full game has given me pause though, so I am looking at the first half line for value. After all, it may be midnight on the East Coast before half is over anyway, so let’s get the action in early. I’ll back the first half line at -5 favoring Fresno State as my late night NCAAF pick.

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