NCAA Week 1 – Official Plays

Rather than creating a new post for each futures bet, I am just going to pin this post for the week and go in and add information and plays as they come in. As always, follow me on twitter @MikeyLoBets and subscribe to my Patreon to be notified as soon as I make any official plays.

Last Season Recap

2021 NCAA Football Record: 87-64 (57.6%), +69.51 Units

Click on the link above for the complete documentation of every pick I made last season. You will also get full transparency and honest record keeping from me. Unfortunately you can’t say that about enough people in the sports betting game these days.

As you can see we had a great run and ended the regular season up around 75 units (before giving about 6 back during bowl season). Things really picked up starting in Week 7. We we’re positive every week from Week 7-Week 15 with some of those being monster week!. Keep this in mind in case we have the occasional negative week in September. Non-Conference play can be a little more unpredictable than conference play.

Last Week Recap

Last Week: 2-3, -2.90 Units
YTD: 2-3, -2.90 Units

Last Week

Kind of an annoying week. UTEP was just a bad bet. Hand up on that one, completely wrong side on that one. The loss of Cowan was bigger than I thought and their defense was brutal on 3rd down.

We got both of the bets in the NMST game. To be completely honest, I think we would have won both easier without the lightning delay. The game was going exactly how we hoped, NMST had like an 11 minutes to 2 minutes TOP edge and then the delay gave Nevada time to adjust. Once NMST switched to a QB that stopped throwing the ball to the other team things got a lot better for them.

I thought we we’re well on our way to win the Bowens bet. He had 3 targets in the first 2 possessions before getting hurt. It was a game that Hawaii was chasing points and throwing a lot. I believe this bet wins easy if he doesn’t get hurt. What can you do.

Utah State was annoying. They scored 24 points in the 2nd quarter after we put this live bet in. Then they went back to a super vanilla game plan where they ran the ball on first & second down like every time. It was like the coaching staff was treating UConn like another scrimmage. It’s a loss, but a bet I don’t regret. I think USU goes over that number most times.

That’s August/September football. Sometimes it has its ups & downs as we gather more data on these teams. If you look at my results from last season, where I really hit my stride was October/November when we got into conference play and had more data on these teams. Then we won damn near every week. So make sure you’re being smart with money management and keep a good head on your shoulders.

Okay, enough of that. Let’s look at Week one. We have an awesome slate with games Thursday-Monday for Labor Day weekend.

Quick Housekeeping Items

Patreon

MikeyLoBets is on Patreon. Patreon subscribers will get early access to my NCAA Football plays and writeups this year as well as my NFL Pass Attempt model projections & plays. In addition to that, I plan on having 1-2 patreon only live streams a month where we flash bet a college football game (only available on Draft Kings in certain states).

Instagram
MikeyLoBets is now on Instagram too! I’m going to try to get some more stuff up there during the season. Please follow @MikeyLoBets! Is Tik Tok next? Not likely….

Okay, that’s enough of all that. Let’s get to the writeups!

Week 1 Official Play Write-Ups

Utah/Florida Over 52.5 (-110) (Draft Kings)

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First things first…. I am putting this bet on July 4th (Happy Independence Day, Everyone!). There is obviously always an element of risk when you put a bet in two months before the game. A key player could get injured/suspended, the weather could end up being terrible on gameday, etc. But I think the risk of waiting to submit this bet and potentially having the line move north of a key number of 53 (and possibly even 54) is greater. So I’m locking this one in now.

Utah was a Top 10 offense in 2021 after they made the move from Charlie Brewer at QB to Cam Rising. Just look at these numbers after making the switch to Rising and giving him a little time to get comfortable:

@ USC: 42 points & 486 yards
vs ASU: 35 points & 455 yards
@ Oregon St: 34 points & 455 yards
vs UCLA: 44 points & 469 yards
@ Stanford: 52 points & 581 yards
@ Arizona: 38 points & 468 yards
vs Oregon: 38 points & 386 yards
vs Colorado: 28 points & 444 yards
vs Oregon (Pac 12 Title Game): 38 points & 361 yards
vs Ohio St (Rose Bowl): 45 points & 463 yards

That is an average of 39.4 points & 456.8 yards during that 10 game stretch to finish the season. Rising is back at QB for the Utes along with 5 of their top 6 pass catchers from 2021 (including two NFL potential TEs) & last year’s starting RB Tavion Thomas. Utah has Phil Steele’s #1 RB & OL units in the conference & #2 QB (behind Caleb Williams and USC).

Florida is a defensive unit that definitely struggled at times in 2021. They gave up 49 points & 454 yards to LSU, 459 yards to South Carolina, 52 points & 530 to Samford (yes, Samford), and 436 yards to UCF in their bowl game. Granted part of the issue in a game like Samford was lack of effort, and the coaching staff switch figures to help in that area, but the fact remains that this is a defense that has a ways to go. Depth is a concern for their front seven and opening up against a team like Utah with a strong running game and dual threat QB will be a big challenge.

On the other side of the ball, Utah typically has a strong defense but they did suffer some big losses this offseason. They lost two linebackers, Devin Lloyd and Nephi Sewell, to the NFL. While they are optimistic about their ability to find replacements for these two, week one on the road against an SEC opponent is a tough starting point for new starters.

Florida’s QB, Anthony Richardson, is a dynamic playmaker. You really need good linebacker play to limit a dual threat QB like him. He is very explosive & is a tough assignment for even the most experienced of linebackers. While Utah’s defense was very good last season, they may have benefitted from playing in a weak Pac 12 conference. They showed some chinks in their armor against stronger opponents: 493 yards vs USC, 468 yards vs Oregon St, 411 yards vs UCLA, and 48 points & 683 yards in the Rose Bowl against an Ohio State team who had their top 2 WR opt out of the game. I respect Utah a lot, but I think the Gator offense will have their moments.

The only thing that worries me about this matchup is the coaching style. Both teams will want to run the ball and will be content letting the clock run a little bit. But that being said, I like the matchup for both offenses. I expected to see this total around 57 or 58 and could easily see this one ending up around 34-27.

2-Line Parlay (-109) (Fan Duel)
BYU (-550) @ USF
Louisville (-160) @ Syracuse

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Those of you that have been with me for awhile know that it’s pretty rare for me to play a parlay or a teaser (especially teasers in CFB). So this is a little uncommon for me. But with the Louisville line hovering around -3/-3.5 & alternate lines not available yet on these books (ex. -2.5, -120) I decided to attack it this way. If a -2.5, -120 was available I probably would have just done that. But since it wasn’t, I got a little more creative.

Let’s start with BYU. I won’t spend as much time on this writeup since it’s -550. I’d be shocked if they lose. USF has a lot of players coming back but are still a bottom team in the AAC. They gave up 35 points & 207 rushing yards per game last year. BYU should be able to move the ball at will against them. USF brought in new coordinators on each side of the ball and a transfer at QB, so it might take them a few weeks to gel with all the new that they have coming in.

BYU is the opposite on the continuity scale. As I wrote in my FBS Independents preview they take a back seat to nobody when it come to continuity. They are one of the few teams to have their starting QB, head coach, and both coordinators coming back. Coming off a 10-win season and having 19 returning starters they are a legit Top 15 team. I look for them to start fast this season. I think they will be ahead of many other teams coming out of camp because of that familiarity aspect. Cougs roll.

Moving on to Louisville. I’m working on my ACC power rankings now and I have Louisville much higher than Syracuse. Honestly I feel like this line should be around -6.5/-7 rather than -3/-3.5. I think it will continue to climb which is why I’m jumping on this line now. I think their 6-6 record was a little misleading last year as they lost 3 conference games on the final play. They have one of the more explosive offenses with Malik Cunningham coming back at QB. He’s one of the more exciting dual threat QBs in the Nation. He rushed for more TDs (20) than Heisman finalist RB Kenneth Walker last year & averaged 6.0 yards/rush. As an offense they averaged 32 points and have tremendous balance rushing & throwing for over 200 yards/game. This year they have 2nd most returning production in the Power 5 conferences. They return all 5 starters on the OL which performed well last year. Syracuse has to replace their entire defensive line in 2022. I think this is a really tough matchup for a brand new DL. As I stated earlier, Louisville runs the ball really well and has a strong OL.

This is a game that Louisville won 31-3 last year. I think both teams are a little better this year and this game is at Syracuse but I just don’t think Syracuse has closed the gap enough. Louisville’s defense struggled, but their offense can really light it up. I don’t think the Syracuse offense has the firepower to match Louisville’s score for score. Eventually the running game will be too much and Louisville will pull away. I’ll predict 34-24.

Texas State (+7.5) (-110) @ Nevada (Fan Duel)

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At this point I have nothing more to say about Nevada. I wrote about them at length with my futures play writeup & then a little more with my Week 0 writeup for their game against New Mexico St. I’m putting this bet in before they play that game, so whatever the result is was not considered when making this bet.

On to Texas State. The more I think about this game, the more I think it’s a coin flip. This is a make or break season for Texas State HC Jake Spavital. This is his 4th season and he pretty much needs to make a bowl to save his job. If that doesn’t give you a sense of urgency to start fast, I don’t know what will. They did a big offseason overhaul to the roster bringing in more than 20 transfers to go along with 14 returning starters.

I really like the addition of QB Layne Hatcher from Arkansas State. He played pretty well for them throwing for more than 2,000 yards & 19 TD in 3 straight seasons. They also return a RB duo that rushed for over 1,000 yards for them last year. It’s a pretty experienced offense going against a pretty inexperienced defense for Nevada. I think the advantage goes to Texas State there. I think the weakness of the team is their defense but Nevada could be one of the weaker FBS offenses this year so I don’t think they’ll be able to take advantage of that. I like this one to end up around 28-23 Texas State.

Penn State (-3) (-115) @ Purdue (Draft Kings)

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I think Penn State is slightly underrated as we head into this season (based on what happened in 2021) & I think Purdue is a little overrated with people not placing enough importance on some of the key pieces they lost this year.

Starting with Penn State, they have a very veteran QB coming back in Sean Clifford. This was a team that was actually undefeated and ranked in the Top 5 last year and had a lead on the road at Iowa with Clifford at QB. Then Clifford got hurt in that game and the wheels completely fell off for PSU without him. Not only is he back this year, but for the first time in his career he will be playing in the same offense, with the same play caller, in the same scheme. I think that will lead to him having a very nice season. The offensive line was a weakness last year, but I think they will be better and with Purdue losing stud DE George Karlaftis I’m not very worried about those matchups. I think PSU will be more explosive this year as well with the additions of transfer WR Mitchell Tinsley who put together a 1400 yard season for WKU and 5-star RB Nick Singleton.

Purdue is a big-time passing team under HC Jeff Brohm. They ranked 5th in RROE last year which meaning only 4 other FBS teams ran less than expected than they did. They lost a ton of production at WR and I think in this offense there will be a learning curve with the new receivers. Their best player, David Bell, is gone. He was their difference maker. The scored only 22 ppg last year in games where he didn’t top 70 yards, compared to something like 38 ppg in games where he did. That’s a huge loss. To make matters worse, their #2 WR Milton Wright was ruled academically ineligible this season. Penn State is not the team you want to play if you are trying to find your rythem in the passing game as their defense averaged 8th in the nation in EPA/Pass last year. They do lose a decent amount of production on the defense, but not so much in the secondary as they return 65% of their passes defensed & 79% of their INT from last year. If the passing game does stall, Purdue has virtually no running game to fall back on.

I like Penn State to keep Purdue’s passing game in check enough to walk out of West Lafayette with a win. I’ll say 27-20.

Illinois (+3.5) (-115) @ Indiana (Fan Duel)

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I’m just higher on Illinois than I am Indiana. I put in a season win totals over bet on Illinois so I obviously like them a little more than the oddsmakers right now. For a deeper dive into my Illini thoughts you can go read that & my Big Ten preseason power rankings writeups.

They are coming off a convincing Week 0 thumping against Wyoming and now have a short week game against an Indiana team. Some might interrupt that as being an advantage to Indiana, but in this situation I don’t think that is the really the case. Illinois was able to get up early and call the dogs off pretty early. They we’re super vanilla with the play calling, so I don’t think the new Offensive Coordinator really showed Indiana much. We didn’t see much of the tempo he wants to bring to the offense, so I think he was saving that for this game. Illini HC Brett Bielema loves to play Week 0 games because he believes that teams make the biggest jump from their first game to their second game. Hopefully he’s right about that.

I’m not very impressed with Indiana. They are coming off a 0-9 Big Ten season and they kept only two of those 9 games within a 21-point deficit. 23 players bailed via the transfer portal after the season leaving them just 11thin the conference in returning production. Starting QB Michael Pennix transferred and they brought in two new coordinators. This team feels like they are starting over.

I think Illinois is going to have a lot of success running the ball. That’s their identity and RB Chase Brown is one of the best backs in the conference. IU gave up 158+ rushing yards in 8 of their 9 Big Ten games last year and finished just 104th in the FBS in defensive success rate & 95thin defensive success rate vs runs. It wasn’t a strength of theirs and I think Illinois has the running game and the coordinator to exploit that.

It’s rarely easy playing a Big Ten game on the road, especially on a weeknight, but I think Illinois is the better team and will win the game. Getting +3.5 is a lot of value when you think you have the better team.

Tulsa (-3.5) (+105) @ Wyoming (Fan Duel)

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I guess I’m going to somewhat contradict myself here because now I’m going to go against a team that has a Week 0 game under their belt, but if they only threw for 1.5 yards/attempt in that game does it even count? Wyoming is bad.

Like Nevada, I don’t think the oddsmakers adjusted for the mass exodus to the transfer portal that Wyoming saw this offseason. The market is correcting that with Nevada & I think we’ll see that with Wyoming too. It will be interesting to see where this line closes.

Wyoming was just 5-for-20 passing for 30 yards in their Week 0 game vs Illinois. Their starting QB, Andrew Peasley, is a Utah State transfer and had he stayed he probably would be 3rd string at best on that team. He can run it okay, but he’s just not a very good passer. Wyoming can run the ball, but you’d think that defenses would start to key on that and their starting RB Titus Swen left the Illinois game with a rib injury. His status is unknown at this point. Tulsa played the run pretty well last year. If you take out the Navy game (triple option) & the Ohio State game (different class of athlete) they only allowed 3.3 yards/carry.

I think Wyoming will struggle to score again this week. The game is in Laramie, which is a tough place to play, but I still think Tulsa wins comfortably. I don’t think they’re an upper tier American Athletic team, but they will be competitive in the conference. Their QB and top 2 WR are back. I think they will finish higher in their conference (a stronger conference) than Wyoming does in theirs. Give me Tulsa by a TD+.

Murray State/Texas Tech Over 55 (-110) (Draft Kings)

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Official Plays – Week One

Utah/Florida Over 52.5 (-110) (DraftKings)
Risking 3.30 Units to win 3.00 Units

2-Line Parlay (-109) (Fan Duel)
BYU (-550) @ USF
Louisville (-160) @ Syracuse
Risking 3.27 Units to win 3.00 Units

Texas State (+7.5) (-110) @ Nevada (Fan Duel)
Risking 3.30 Units to win 3.00 Units

Penn State (-3) (-115) @ Purdue (Draft Kings)
Risking 3.45 Units to win 3.00 Units

Illinois (+3.5) (-115) @ Indiana (Fan Duel)
Risking 3.45 Units to win 3.00 Units

Tulsa (-3.5) (+105) @ Wyoming (Fan Duel)
Risking 3.00 Units to win 3.15 Units

Murray St/Texas Tech Over 55 (-110) (Draft Kings)
Risking 3.30 Units to win 3.00 Units

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