August 17, 2021, 12:32 am
Everyone loves FREE STUFF. HoopBall is thrilled to bring you Joe Campise’s “Group of 5” Conference Champion Plays and Season Win Totals (plus leans)!
Defending Champ: Ball State.
Champ: Western Michigan +1200
Western Michigan will have a tough road to finish the MAC WEST in first place. Toledo and Ball St are very strong teams. WMU will get Ball St at home and could be a slight underdog. WMU will travel to Toledo and could be a six to seven point underdog. Buffalo is a program in transition and I expect WMU to handle their business on the road at Buffalo. WMU will have one of the top quarterbacks in the conference, Kaleb Eleby. In six games, he threw for 18 touchdowns, two interceptions, and 1715 passing yards. He was ranked 3rd in the FBS in passing efficiency.
Champ: Toledo +330
Toledo’s tough games come on the road: Ball St., Ohio, and Central Michigan. Toledo will be an underdog at Ball St. In the games against Ohio and CMU, the lines will be close to a pick ’em. Carter Bradley could be the starting QB and he started two games last year. He posted the following stats: 849 passing yards, 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Both Toledo and WMU have defenses that will rank near the top in the conference. Toledo ranked first last year in the MAC in yards per game. WMU will have a much improved defense line and secondary.
Lean: Kent St. Over 5.5 +115 Total Wins.
The reason I like Kent St. and the reason everyone should is the FLASHFast offense. In 4 conference games last year, Kent St. put up 607 yards per game (!) and 49.8 points per game including back to back games with 60 points. They played Buffalo very close until the 4th quarter. Speaking of Buffalo, Kent St will be a slight underdog at home vs. Buffalo and will be the favorites in the other three home conference games (Kent St ATS as a Home Dog since ‘18 is 5-1). On the road in the conference, Kent St will get WMU, CMU, Ohio, and Akron. Kent St. will be about a 3-4 point underdog against CMU and WMU. If Kent St drops a home conference game, they will need to win one of these games to cash the over bet.
Defending Champ: UAB
Champ: Western Kentucky +1000 (William Hill)
WKU will be displaying a brand new offense. They hired Houston Baptist’s Offensive Coordinator Zach Kittley and got their QB, Bailey Zappe to transfer into WKU. Zach Kittley spent three years under Kliff Kingsbury and coach Patrick Mahomes. Also, Houston Baptist, an FCS team, averaged 548 yards per game and 34 points per game against Texas Tech, North Texas, and Louisiana Tech. Zappe threw 16 touchdowns, two interceptions, and completed 63% in those games. The schedule: WKU will get to play the main contender in the East, FAU, at home, UTSA at home, and travel to Marshall (could be a 7 point underdog).
Champ: FAU +900 (DraftKings)
WKU’s main competition will be FAU and Marshall. I am fading Marshall because they will have a first year coach and had some players transfer out. The strategy with taking two longshots here would be to have the East champ at +900/+1000 in the CUSA championship game. FAU will have to play at UAB and WKU on the road. They will face Marshall at home. FAU is led by second year coach Willie Taggart. Taggart did OK in his first year (5-4) during the Covid crisis. His recent coaching record is not good but the last time he spent more than two years at a coaching job was at USF. His conference record in his last two years at USF was 13-3. Two quarterbacks, Nkosi Perry (Miami, FL) and Michael Johnson (Penn ST.), transfer into FAU. Perry had 9 starts at Miami and threw for 24 touchdowns.
Play: Louisiana Tech Over 4 Wins -152 at DK
LA Tech has a tough non conference schedule but they do play FCS team SE Louisiana. LA Tech should be at least a touchdown favorite at home vs North Texas and Charlotte. Also, on the road against Old Dominion and UTEP they should be a 10 point favorite. There are five wins right there. Close games will be away at Rice, home vs UTSA and Southern Miss.
Play: Old Dominion Under 3.5 wins +110 at DK.
Old Dominion will get FCS opponent Hampton in their home opener. In the rest of the non conference games they will be underdogs by at least 23 points. ODU will be the underdog in every conference game as well. The two lowest point spread games will be home versus Charlotte, about 5 point underdogs, and away at FIU, about 4.5 point underdogs. The rest of their conference games they will be at least a 10 point underdog. There is a good chance ODU won’t be anywhere close to this number.
Champ Lean: Coastal Carolina +200.
This conference will come down to App State, Coastal, and Louisiana. Coastal was the talk of college football last year. Every team will be gunning for them. They were able to defeat App State but App State will want revenge. App St has the most difficult schedule facing Coastal at home and Louisiana on the road. Coastal will be favored by 10 points in the rest of their conference games. Louisiana odds are very low +130, to win the SBC.
Lean: South Alabama under 5 -145 Points BET.
South Alabama will get FCS team Alcorn St. at home. They will face Southern Miss, at Bowling Green, and at Tennessee. South Alabama will be the favorite at Bowling Green by about 9 points. The Southern Miss game at home they will be about 3 point underdog. The only other game South Alabama will be a favorite will be away at ULM (home team 6-1 in last 7), about 3 points. The next closest point spread game will be home versus Arkansas St (+3.5). South Alabama will be an underdog by at least 7 points in the rest of their games.
Champ Lean: Nevada +450
Nevada is priced this high because of their schedule. Their road games are at Boise St., at Fresno St., and at San Diego St.. They will face San Jose St. at home. Nevada does have NFL Top Prospect Carson Strong. Strong had 27 touchdowns and 4 interceptions with a 70% completion percentage. Again this price is given the tough road Nevada will have but lets ride with a Top Prospect in next year’s NFL draft.
Play: Nevada over 7.5 wins -125
Nevada will have to lose 5 games for this bet to lose. They will be about a touchdown underdog at Boise St, four point underdog at California, and a touchdown underdog at Kansas St. I expect Nevada to win one of these games and to win at Fresno St. & San Diego St. This bet could come down to those two games.
Lean: San Jose St. over 7.5 wins -125
San Jose St will play USC, Western Michigan, New Mexico St, and a FCS school in their non conference games. They should win 2 easily and be a 3.5 point favorite at WMU. I expect San Jose St to win all conference home games and their game at UNLV. The bet will come down to San Jose St. games at Hawaii (San Jose St is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 vs Hawaii) and Colorado St (SJS lost the last 3).
Thoughts: Cincinnati is the clear favorite at -230. They will be a very strong team to play against in college football and will travel to Notre Dame and Indiana. They should be a 3-4 point underdog in both games. In the conference, the two toughest games will be at home versus UCF (projected 13 point favorite) and on the road at Tulane (9 point favorite). Cincinnati should easily win the conference but the odds clearly reflect that.
Play: USF under 3.5 total win -125 at Points Bet
USF plays one FCS opponent and the next projected win will be home against Temple (7 point favorite). After those two games, USF should be at least a nine point underdog except for one. USF’s non-conference games are home versus Florida and at NC State and at BYU. Their home game versus Houston will be their best chance at winning a 3rd game. I expect them to be a six point underdog (if you find the total at 3 I would bet it).