A Top 25 team falls, as predicted, and 3 others cash as the Betting Stuff column stays red hot. Who will Mike Calabrese turn to keep the good times rolling? Read on to find out. 

Last Week: 4-2, +4.25 Units

Season Record: 18-6 (75%), +16.05 Units

During the dog days of summer, every college football fan starts to imagine how the fall might shake out for their favorite team. Running down the schedule, marking Ws next to each matchup, it can be easy to talk yourself into a special season, even if you root for, say, Tennessee. 

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As a gambler, I do something similar each summer. I start to plot the first few weeks of the college football season, envisioning big parlays and underdog moneyline winners lining my pockets. Three weeks into the year and those big dreams have become a reality. I’ve delivered a 75% hit rate on my picks and am coming off a major upset call courtesy the Fresno State Bulldogs. But I’m sure you didn’t come to Betting Stuff to reminisce, you’re looking for more winners. So I slogged through an objectively horrific college football slate, pulling out five winners for you. Let’s have a look. 

UTSA ML+135 at Memphis

It’s foolish to pick against Memphis when they’re a home favorite. Dating back 5 years, the Tigers are 28-2 straight up when favored at home. But this matchup should be different for a few reasons. The first is the letdown factor after shocking an SEC opponent last week. Memphis was fortunate to steal that victory against Mississippi State with a flukey punt return touchdown proving to be the difference. Offensively they’ve relied heavily on Calvin Austin III to provide explosive plays, but otherwise, they’ve been decidedly average in that department, at least by Memphis standards. 

Then there are Memphis’ issues on defense. The Tigers are 112th in TFLs per game, which means they won’t be able to take advantage of UTSA’s lone weakness, pass blocking. The Roadrunners, having already knocked off Illinois in Champaign, tout one of the most balanced offenses in the country. Frank Harris, an efficient dual-threat QB, has lifted the passing attack to 26th, according to Pro Football Focus. This is important because they return a future NFL running back, Sincere McCormick, who has eclipsed the 100-yard mark twice already this season. Whether through the air or on the ground, UTSA will move the ball and score a lot of points in this game.

In the end, I’m banking on a freshman performance from Memphis’ 18-year old quarterback and a second road upset on the year for UTSA. #MeepMeep

Kansas+16 at Duke

The Champions Classic rotates between New York City, Chica … wait, wrong sport. This would be a helluva hardwood matchup, but on the gridiron, it’s a bit of a stinker. Yes, Duke has surprised many this season, riding their standout running back Mataeo Durant to a 2-1 start. But outside of Durant, this is the same old Blue Devils team that was 7-16 in its past 2 seasons coming into 2021. So far this season, Duke has lost to the 112th ranked team according to SP+, beaten an FCS doormat, and held on for a one-score victory over Northwestern (85th in SP+). Kansas, meanwhile, snagged a victory in its opener and followed by covering against Coastal Carolina. 

To put it in layman’s terms, this Jayhawks team is normal-bad. Not historically inept-bad as they have been in recent years. Lance Leipold has the KU running game moving the ball and has coaxed competent QB play out of Jason Bean. I foresee a high-scoring game and Kansas keeping it within two touchdowns. 

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Florida Atlantic+165 at Air Force

Air Force returned just 1 starter on defense this year. Unlike other schools that utilized the super senior exemption and the wide-open transfer portal, Air Force was stuck adhering to USAF regulations. As a result, this defense is just awful. In their last game against Utah State, a team using 2 quarterbacks, they surrendered 448 yards through the air and 5 touchdowns. If it weren’t for a Week 2 matchup against Navy, a program in total disarray, Air Force would be in the bottom 10 of defense on the FBS level. This sets the table up nicely for a resurgent FAU passing attack. And it’s doesn’t hurt that the FAU team has bought into a blue-collar mentality. 

The Owls already returned a ton of production across the board, but they added N’Kosi Perry at quarterback. He has been the missing piece, unlocking the potential of breakout star LaJohntay Wester. The redshirt freshman has 17 receptions for 225 yards and 2 scores in his past 2 games. 

I actually think FAU should be favored, so I’m more than happy to take the plus-money with the Owls. 

UTEP-115 vs. New Mexico

As an avid college fantasy football player, I marshall a lot of disparate resources to stay on top of injuries, depth chart movement and coaching changes. In some cases, this puts me in a position to get ahead of the gambling public. In this case, the average college football bettor knows little to nothing about the UTEP Miners. The downtrodden program has been awful for nearly two decades, but this year’s team has a lot of punch on offense and they’ve built an explosive passing game with their star running back sidelined. Well, that running back, Deion Hankins, is back this week. Local beat reporters noted that he’s practiced all week and has a green light. 

Hankins turned down offers from SEC, Big 12 and Pac-12 schools to stay in his hometown. Since taking over as the Miners’ bellcow in 2020, he’s averaging over a touchdown a game. With him back in the fold, UTEP should be able to score 30+ points against a NM defense that gave up 25 points to lowly New Mexico State just 2 weeks ago. Back the Miners and their star runner in this spot. 

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Oregon-28.5 vs. Arizona

You’re looking to fade the worst Power 5 program in the nation. Arizona is 2 years away from being bad, that’s how much work this roster needs. The Wildcats just lost to Northern Arizona for the first time in program history and haven’t cracked 20 points this season. Oregon, meanwhile, is playing its best football since the Mariota years and has the kind of depth to keep scoring in the second half when they turn to their second and third strings. Ty Thompson, Oregon’s backup quarterback, is going to get a lot of work in this game. The 2020-21 Gatorade Arizona Football Player of the Year, just lit up Stony Brook in mop-up duty with 2 touchdown passes on just 9 attempts. Expect more of that in the second half. 

Arizona will be lucky to survive this matchup, due to its patchy offensive line. They’ve allowed 10 sacks in 3 games (113th) and 27 TFLs (121st). Oregon is primed to take advantage of that and could be welcoming back future NFL millionaire Kayvon Thibodeaux. According to beat reporters out in Eugene, the Ducks’ superstar edge rusher is “really close” to being back. 

Take the Ducks here and consider playing them on the alternate line up to -35 (+200). 

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