• Paul Compton

Week #10 Thursday Night College Football

Thursday Night Best Bets for College Football 11/05/15

Appalachian State -12.5 vs Arkansas State & Over 55

I recommended a 2 unit investment on opener, and then watched the line trickle downward before rebounding back to the opener today. Oh, how the market has lost its' confidence in App St., lol. I did not bet on App St. at all early in the season, and the first time I got involved with them was to bet Wyoming against them in week #5, a game Wyoming covered late but could have been in all the way as the Cowboys gained a lot of yards before turning it over multiple times in near torrential conditions. As the season has progressed, though, and App St. has turned in dominating performance after dominating performance, I've backed them in two of the last three weeks, where they crushed UL-Monroe to cover, and then last week as they hugely failed to cover against Troy, a game they barely survived in Triple OT.

I was worried about last week's game going in for a couple of reasons. #1 - it was a potential let down spot, even at home, after the huge win against their massive rival Georgia Southern the week before. Couple that with the fact that they'd been on a good run for many weeks and you could just see how they might not be feeling the full urgency required to cover such a large spread. #2 - Troy was primed for an offensive bounce back. Troy had a really bad stretch of 2-3 games when QB Silvers was injured. He'd come back the week before and played pretty decently. In spite of throwing a pick 6 on his first play of the game, Silvers did in fact lead the team back to a near huge upset.

Hopefully that game put a scare and the fear of big dogs into App St. and they come out ready to play tonight, even if it's been off of a short week. There is of course, the risk that they fall into an even deeper complacency trap after the emotional relief of a close win, even when favored by so much.

We know App St. has a great offense and pretty good run defense, with a somewhat suspect pass defense. Let's look at Arkansas State, then.

First off, ARST does not have a good defense. They aren't terrible, but they're below average and are equally vulnerable to the run and pass. They've had a couple of bright spots -- they had a strange outlier of good run defense against Toledo in week #4, and didn't let a poor running Southern Alabama team get almost anything on the ground in week #7. Beyond that they've been average to poor, with especially bad games against Idaho and UL-Lafayette. There's ample reason to believe App St. will have a good day on the ground here, at least somewhere near their usual averages. ARSTs' pass defense had some good games early on, but has been slipping the past month. Last week they gave up 9.1 ypp to an underrated Georgia State passing game. A team like ARST is always in a bad position when they opponents' offense has run and pass match up advantages that leave you not being able to key on either one. App St. is a run heavy team, running on about 70% of their plays, so when they do pass, they do so with great success and a very high ypp average. Cheat against their run at your own peril.

ARST is a better running team when QB Knighten is in the game, that much is clear. But are they a better passing team? Not really. They've only averaged 5.5 ypp in conference play this year, with Knighten in there for more than half of that action. I mean, have you watched him play? Other than one lobbed up deep ball that his receiver outplays a corner for each game he's not good for much else besides some short stuff. So yeah, it's not a good match up for ARST, who prefer to go up against a team with a weaker run defense than pass defense.

In that game ARST trailed, at home, by a touchdown, to GAST, entering the 4th quarter. That is not a good sign. I think App St. outscores them by near a couple touchdowns each half, cruising to the cover on the strength of their run game in the 4th quarter.

Billy Walters hit the Under 59 thereabouts and earlier today. When the number got all the way down to 55 I took a unit on the Over. App. St. will get theirs -- hopefully ARST gets just enough to push this one Over while losing handily.

Final Score Prediction: App St. 44 -- ARST 17

Baylor -18.5 @ Kansas State & Under 69.5

Those were the recommended plays when the lines came out.

KSU HC Bill Snyder may be a wizard, but a wizard at least needs some props or tools to make his magic work. In QB Hubener he has a broken wand, someone completely unable to conjure any sort of offensive magic right now. Baylor's defense might not be great, but they're not bad, and certainly capable of getting some stops against KSU. KSU will certainly want to run the ball a lot, and eat a lot of clock between every play as well. Their only chance is to shorten the number of possessions each team has in this game, and hope to get lucky on both sides of the ball. Baylor will have the luxury of committing an extra defender to stopping the run and trying to bait the KSU QB into mistakes. Baylor's gambling defense has already helped them to a +10 turnover margin this year, compared to KSU's -2.

Baylor will be starting frosh QB Stidham for the first time for the broken necked Collins. I have a feeling he'll be fine. Baylor should still play at their break neck speed (too soon?), in start contrast to what KSU wants to do. Baylor is still a run first team that will set up numerous good passing opportunities for whatever QB is in the game. KSU has a pretty mediocre run defense this year, but a decent pass defense, so expect Baylor to run as much as situationally possible. I don't think you'll find them in 3rd and long on too many occasions.

With both teams running a lot, the pace of play cancelling each other out, more or less, I expect this game to play to the Under. KSU will probably still struggle to pass the ball, and we're not sure how close Stidham will come to matching Collin's numbers for a full game.

Final Score Projection: Baylor 47 -- Kansas State 18

Mississipi St. -6.5 @ Missouri

MSST was the recommended play when the lines came out.

Missouri's offense has been bad, while MSST's defense has been better than expected. MSST has a good QB in Dak Prescott. I think they score enough against even a good MIZZ defense to get the cover. I would have played the Under if it got to 44, but I didn't see it get quite there, and it has since settled at 42.

Final Score Prediction: Mississippi State 30 -- Missouri 13

Buffalo @ Kent State Under 47 & 48.5

I recommended a unit on the Under 47 when it first opened, and then doubling down with another when the line went up to 48.5. Yeah, we got good value on these.

I played Kent St. at +0.5 for the first half earlier in the day when they were still an underdog. The line has since swung all the around to making them a one point favorite, which is exactly what I think the line should be.

Kent should have the better day running the ball, and the better overall defense. Buffalo has a better passing game, for sure, but having that as your only strength isn't the best recipe for wins on the road.

Ball State @ Western Michigan

My line is WMU -14.4, so yeah, not seeing any value there. I profile the game as an Over+, but there are definite weather concerns last I checked. Plenty of other games for action tonight, going to sit this one out, lol.

Nevada @ Fresno St.

Thought about putting a ML play in on FRES, but now that the line has come down some I still might for a little, but not as a posted play. Fresno has a good enough run game with M. Walker to beat a poor Nevada team that doesn't travel particularly well.