Gamblers who spend their time deep in the college football weeds get to spot emerging trends before they go mainstream. The same is true of under-the-radar storylines. This season, one of those breakthrough stories has been the Utah State Aggies. The pride of Logan, Utah State is now 8-2 straight up and 7-3 against the spread this season, following a disastrous 1-5 campaign in 2020. Betting Stuff took advantage of a generous moneyline number last week, a play that swung the weekly card from a loser to a winner.

Last week: 3-2, +1.4 Units
Season record: 40-25 (61.5%), +19.75 Units

This week, I’m placing my faith squarely in Bailey Zappe’s capable hands, counting on a Boise blowout on the Smurf Turf and banking on a shootout at Faurot Field between the Gators and Tigers.

Memphis at Houston-8.5 (Friday)

Calvin Austin III is banged up and that is awful news for the Memphis offense. The attack just doesn’t have the same pop with their Swiss Army Knifed dinged up. Memphis has scored over 30 points just once since Oct. 2 and they’re going up against a surging Houston team with tremendous pass defense. Houston is the only team in the nation that appears in the top ten in both sack percentage and interception percentage. They get to the passer and take it away when the ball is in the air.

Offensively, Houston is averaging 42 ppg since the start of October. Clayton Tune and freshman running back Alton McCaskill have alternated leading the way for the UH offense in recent weeks. That offensive balance has made Dana Holgorsen’s Air Raid nearly impossible to defend.

With UConn on deck, there is no lookahead factor to scare you off the Cougars here. The AAC title game is on the horizon, but if Houston wants to keep its slim NY6 bowl game prospects alive, they need to thump Memphis at home on Friday night. When you pepper in their College Football Playoff ranking, a home sellout crowd sure to go nuts, and the fact that this is a revenge game from last season, all signs point to UH winning by 2 or more scores.

Florida Atlantic at Western Kentucky Team Total Over 37.5

The Hilltoppers’ offense has been an absolute menace in C-USA play. Now averaging close to 45 points per game in conference, it’s time that the national media got in on the coverage. This is the best passing game in the nation, with no disrespect to Ohio State, Mississippi State or SMU. Zappe is now averaging 417 yards per game through the air, hitting on 70% of his passes, while sporting a 6:1 TD-INT ratio. Elite doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Last week, WKU hit the team total against Rice, a team that wanted to hold the football and play keep away for four quarters. Florida Atlantic also doesn’t want to play fast, but while they may limit overall plays, they’re going to get torched by Zappe and Co. The Owls are one of the nation’s worst pass-rushing teams, and they’ll be hard-charging against a great WKU pass-blocking unit.

This team total is considerably lower than WKU’s average because of FAU’s success mucking games up. But considering the fact that the Owls just surrendered 30 points to ODU last week, I see no reason to pass on my old standby (WKU TT over).

Florida at Mizzou Over 69.5

Let’s do some simple math here. Missouri allows 35.9 points per game (118th), while Florida checks in nationally at 76th in scoring defense (27.4 ppg). Both of these weak defenses have put some lipstick on their résumés by holding down teams like Southeast Missouri State, Vanderbilt, South Florida and FAU to 28 points or less. When facing an offense with a pulse, both teams have the potential to give up 50 points.

Horrific performances on the defensive end, terminated coaches, and offenses capable of competing in a shootout … this is music to an “over” bettor’s ears. My power rankings call for this number to 79.5, so I’m casually jogging to the betting window as not to make a scene.

With perfect fall weather on tap Saturday in CoMo, there won’t be anything to slow down these offenses.

New Mexico at Boise State-27.5

This is the time of year where it’s advantageous to identify teams that have “quit.” No unit in the country has a higher “quit factor” than the New Mexico offense. UConn, UMass, Vandy and New Mexico State all score more per game than the lowly Lobos. New Mexico hasn’t scored more than 17 points in a game in 2 months. That explains why they’re dead last in scoring in all of college football with less than 2 touchdowns per game.

When they do fall behind Boise on the Smurf Turf, they’ll be forced to put the ball in the air, which is good news for Bronco-backers. New Mexico is the worst non-Service Academy passing attack, averaging an anemic 126 yards per game through the air.

Boise, meanwhile, has won 4 of 5, and has finally found a groove offensively with balance between the pass and run. George Holani in particular is finally cooking, having posted back-to-back 100-yard games. When the Broncos do opt to put the ball in orbit, Hank Bachmeier has proven to be a reliable quarterback. In his last three games, Bachmeier has hit 65% of his passes, while avoiding turning the ball over even a single time.

Left for dead at midseason, it’s time for bettors to put their faith in the Broncos now that they have things rolling.

Wyoming at Utah State ML-215

The finish line is in sight for Utah State’s dream season. And it’s time for its dynamic offense to carry them to the Mountain West championship game. Standing in their way is a broken-down pickup truck of an offense in Wyoming. The Pokes have lost 5 of 6, scoring over 21 points just once.

To put it mildly, you have to score a lot of points to beat USU and no matter Wyoming’s answer at QB, the Cowboys can’t move the football. The only counter WYO has in this one is their superb pass defense. But even with a solid secondary, it’s going to be a tall task slowing down the Logan Bonner-Devan Thompkins connection. Their “game within the game” is currently averaging 154.5 yards per game since October 1st, which is the most prolific tandem in the MWC over that time.

Weather can get dicey out west this time of year, which is why I looked up the forecast before pulling the trigger in this spot. Early rain on Saturday is predicted, but the clouds will head east providing the Utah State aerial show with clear skies and low wind conditions at game time. It may not be a vintage high-scoring game from this Blake Anderson team, but they’ll get it done against a Wyoming program counting down the days to their 2022 spring practices.