UConn Huskies(1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS) vs. South Florida Bulls (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
College Football Week 4
Date and Time: Friday, September 19, 8:00pm EST
Where: Raymond James Stadium – Tampa Bay, Florida
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UCON +2/USF -2
Over/Under Total: 46
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Thursday night, while the Tampa Bay Bucaneers will be in Atlanta playing the Falcons, there will be an American Conference college football match-up taking place in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa when the Uconn Huskies roll into town to play the South Florida Bulls. Both teams come in with an overall record of 1-2 but USF has a 1-2 mark against the spread while Uconn at 0-3 has yet to cover what Vegas placed on them. This game opens with the South Florida Bulls favored at home by 2 points. Neither team has looked overly impressive so far in 2014, but the eye test tells me that USF should be slightly favored…which they are. These week night games are always tricky to me. Typically something crazy happens from a point spread standpoint so lets take a look and see what we can come up with for this game.
A few years ago, South Florida was starting to make a name for themselves. At one point a few seasons back, they got as high as number three in the AP Poll but then fell hard at the end. This season has not been good to the Bulls. They kicked off with a season opening win over West Carolina with a 36-31 score but since then they have fallen to both Maryland and NC State in back to back weeks to drop to 1-2 overall. I can usually point to one aspect of a team as their main weakness but in the case of the South Florida Bulls…their weakness is football. Statistically they are bad, really bad. After three games, they rank 116th in passing offense and 83rd in rushing offense. On the defensive side of the ball, they are not much better. The Bulls rank 103rd in points allowed, and they sit at 99th in points scored so far this season. Luckily for USF, they have played a decent amount of competition. Maryland and North Carolina State are both “Power Five Conference”
teams, so that may have something to do with the lack of production, but still, those teams are not world beaters themselves. One semi bright spot for the Bulls is running back Marlon Mack. Through three games, Mack has already scored four touchdowns and gained almost 400 yards rushing. Not saying that he is a stud or Heisman worthy, but he isn’t any slouch. If USF can feed him that ball and he get yards and keep drives alive, they may have a shot to win this thing in a low scoring affair. The key to the Bulls winning and covering this game is to get better. It sounds cliche, but South Florida just needs to step up their game on both sides of the ball to get this victory. Simple as that.
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For a few years, I was saying that UConn could quite possibly be the worst FBS football team there is. Not anymore. Of course I would not say they are “good,” but they are getting better and moving in the right direction. With that said, statistically speaking, they look worse on paper than South Florida. Based on the level of competition both teams have played and their statistical rankings in all major areas, I like South Florida a little more than UConn. The Huskies rank 123rd in FBS offensive rushing yards, and a staggering 118th in points scored. UConns only win of the 2014 season came against Stony Brook in a down to the wire 19-16 final. The worst part of the UConn resume is the running game…oh my it is BAD!! Their leading rusher, Max DeLorenzo, through three games has only 104 rushing yards on 29 carries. Behind him is freshman, Joshua Marriner, who has 36 yards total on 19 carries. That is awful, a plain awful rushing attack…if you wanna call it an attack. Through the air, UConn really cannot brag on that either. There are two QBs that have seen significant playing time: Chandler Whitmer who has thrown 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, and Casey Cochran (OUT for this game) who has not thrown a scoring pass, but does have an interception to his credit. UConn needs some offense, bad. I don’t know what they are going to do versus South Florida, but they must move the ball and give their defense some rest in this game. The temperature will be a little warmer than the Huskies are used to, and the last thing you want to have is a gassed defense in the first half. Again, the Huskies come in at only a two point underdog, so maybe the boys in Vegas know something we don’t.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I am not going to sit here and say South Florida is a lock to win this game, but based on what I have seen and the info I have obtained on each team, I just don’t see why this game is only a two point spread. A home night game, national TV, versus a bad UConn team, I would have USF favored by at least a touchdown, but what do I know? I took the Atlanta Falcons to cover in Cincinnati just a few days ago, so we know I am no genius when it comes to this stuff…but I do have faith in my research. It is rare I base my picks on trends because that is a sure fire way to get yourself some losses. Why do you think most of the online sportsbooks offer the trends for you to see on their sites?? It is because trends mean NOTHING when it comes to betting in the present. With that said, this game is very odd to me and I wanted to dig a little more on some past trends of these teams. When looking further, I still see that UConn is a huge underdog. Here are some trends that make feel comfortable with my South Florida assumption: USF is 5-2 against the spread in their last 7 Friday night games. USF is 4-1 against the spread coming off a straight up loss. And last but not least, USF is 5-1 against the spread the week after allowing over 40 points to be scored on them. As for UConn, there were some startling negative trends towards them: UConn is 1-4 againts the spread in their last 5 road games. UConn is 1-6 against the spread in the last 7 games played in the month of September. And finally, UConn is 3-8-2 against the spread in their last 13 games against a team who has a losing record. I still feel uneasy about this game and the line. The two points seems just too good to be true, but for once, I am going to take the bait. Lets just do it and see what happens. PICK SOUTH FLORIDA -2!!!!!!