By: Liam O’Brien
Fall means many things in Boston: the weather’s getting colder, the MBTA’s running slower, and Liam O’Brien is there for you with your weekly betting advice. Here are the Super 8 predictions for a busy week eight of NCAA football.
USF (-34) over UConn
UConn has returned to the Super 8. Unsurprisingly, we are betting against them.
The Huskies have been outscored 160-38 in their three conference games so far this season. They have the worst scoring defense in the country, allowing 53.7 points per game. In their lone win of the season, they managed to allow Rhode Island, an FCS team, to dump 49 points on them.
Not to mention South Florida boasts an offense averaging over 35 points per game to begin with.
On the offensive side, the Huskies might not manage 10 points. The UConn offense ranks 122nd in scoring.
UMass-Coastal Carolina over 71.5
Last week, I got burned by one point on the Coastal Carolina over.
But, when the Chanticleers are playing a defense somehow worse than the 119th-ranked Louisiana-Monroe unit, you have no choice but to bet on points being scored.
The Minutemen are the fourth-worst defense in terms of points allowed, yielding 44.9 per game. They allow 497 yards per game including 272.1 per outing on the ground. But, this team can score. There have been a combined 200 points scored in their last two games and the Minutemen have accounted for 115 points over their last three.
They should be able to attack Coastal Carolina’s defense, which isn’t much better than their sorry unit. The Chanticleers rank 111th in scoring defense, allowing 35.3 points per game.
Utah (-7) over USC
If you’ve been betting on the Trojans this season, you’ve been taking L’s.
USC might be 4-2, but they are just 2-4 against the spread and 0-2 as a road underdog.
An underdog they will be at Rice-Eccles Stadium this Saturday, facing a top ten scoring defense in Utah which allows just 16 points per game. Utah is stingy against the run, yielding 74.8 rushing yards per appearance, and USC running backs Stephen Carr and Aca’Cedric Ware should expect to have a performance similar to last week against Colorado (18 carries for a combined 43 yards).
Winners of three straight, the Trojans have been getting it done lately. However, the only road win among that bunch was a 24-20 squeaker against mediocre Arizona.
Virginia (+7) over Duke
With Miami’s struggles this season, this game could go a long way in deciding who walks away with the ACC Coastal.
Duke had a chance to cement themselves as the authority figure in the division when they hosted Virginia Tech two weeks ago. The Blue Devils were favored by six over the Hokies in a statement type of game. Duke fell apart, allowing the Hokies to get out to a commanding 24-7 lead en route to a 31-14 loss.
I see the same thing happening here. The Cavaliers are getting minimal respect from the bookmakers. They enter the contest 4-1 against the spread with a 2-1 record as an underdog. They proved their ability to go out and win big games last Saturday by defeating the 16th-ranked Hurricanes. They rank in the top 25 in scoring defense and allow less than 20 points per game.
Ride with Virginia on this one.