Your weekly underdog ML plays of the week. We have action in the NFL and NCAAF.
Coastal Carolina vs. Kansas Sept 7, 7:00 p.m.
Line: Coastal Carolina (+240), Kansas (-300)
The Chanticleers are live dogs on Saturday night in Kansas. The Jayhawks did not look impressive in their seven-point win over Indiana State where they lost the turnover battle at home. Coastal deploys a run heavy attack that can have success against Kansas’s weak front seven. They start a pair of JUCO transfers on the line and lack any continuity in the front seven. Fred Payton, CC QB, has a plethora of weapons surrounding him on offense. In last week’s game, 54 of 59 plays went for positive yardage. By dominating the time of possession, it will limit their weakness — defense. The Chanticleers have a bottom-20 defense in the FBS. However, Kansas’s offense is weaker, they rank 122nd of 130 teams. The Jayhawks had 16 negative plays against an FCS side. Coastal can create havoc and win the turnover battle. Dominating the time of possession and winning the turnover battle, Les Miles could be handed his first home loss at Kansas.
The Pick: Coastal (+240). If Fred Payton can take care of the ball this week, Coastal can upset Kansas. Their strength on defense is their secondary, so it will be imperative Payton learns from his mistakes last week.
LSU vs. Texas Sept 7, 7:30 p.m.
Line: LSU (-240), Texas (+200)
The sixth-ranked LSU Tigers come to Austin to face the Longhorns in a top-ten matchup that has playoff affecting potential for both schools. LSU has a great quarterback and defense that any team should respect and fear; but LSU also has a quarterback that has yet to step up when facing top defenses during big games. Joe Burrow, when facing top teams, only completes 57.2 percent of his passes, 6.8 yards per attempt, and a ratio of four TDs to four INT. LSU’s offensive line is also dealing with injuries that will help the young Texas defense’s pass rush. Texas has the dual threat at quarterback in Sam Ehlinger. Last year he made Georgia look like anything but a top SEC team. Texas will need him to help Keaontay Ingram with the running game to keep LSU off of the field which shouldn’t be too hard as LSU ranked 77th in rushing efficiency on defense while Texas ranked 28th on offense. To add to Texas having a fairly good chance to pull an upset, Tom Herman is 13-2-1 against the spread as an underdog, with 10 of those being outright wins. With Texas being home, a coach who thrives on being an underdog, and a young talented team wanting Texas to be back to its former glory give me the Horns to pull an upset.
The Pick: Texas (+200). As a disclaimer I am a Texas homer but if Texas’s offense can create enough chances to move the ball against LSU’s secondary and keep the clock moving, they have a shot at the win. Texas’s biggest weakness is their defense right now, so it’s critical to keep LSU’s offense off the field.
Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints Sept 9, 7:10pm
Line: Houston (+245), New Orleans (-290)
You heard it here first, folks … The Texans will march down to the Superdome and give it to the Saints on Monday Night Football. Currently lined as a seven point ‘dog, I feel no adjustments have been made to their recent acquisitions. Despite losing Clowney, adding linebacker depth while also securing an additional WR and garnering an above-average LT — your biggest weakness — is huge.
The Saints ranked 30th against #1 WRs in DVOA and same spot against RB and considering they’re lining up against Hopkins and one of the better receiving RB in the league, the defense could be in for a long night. New Orleans was ranked dead-last in deep pass defense last year, a spot that Watson thrives in. Add in their new weapons of Cook and Stills to a team that had Hopkins, Fuller and Coutee — I’m riding the Texans.
The Pick: Houston (+245). If they can slow down the Saints offense and limit their big plays, Texans can pull this out. The Saints struggle against top-tier WRs, deep passes and receiving backs … all things the Texans thrive with. While home field advantage is huge in the Superdome, it wouldn’t be the first time Brees and the Saints lose week 1.
Last week’s featured Hungry Dog, Utah St., made us sweat for the loss. In a game with nine lead changes, Wake Forest scored on fourth-and-goal with a minute left. At +165 and given the flow of the game, I would back Utah St. again in the same spot.
Rex: 0-1-0, -1u
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