NCAA football betting: Attacking bad defenses can often pay off

·Betting analyst
·2 min read

Don’t you love weekday football? It’ll only get better once MACtion begins early November. For now, we have four games on tap for Thursday in the AAC, C-USA, and Mountain West conferences. Here’s a look at two games that stand out. 

All lines via BetMGM.

Tulane at SMU (-14, Total 70)

Oh, geez. Where to begin. The Green Wave has the third-worst defense in the country. Tulane ranks bottom 10 in opponent yards per play, red-zone attempts, points per play, touchdowns allowed (as compared to field goals), first downs allowed, and third-down conversions allowed.

The Mustangs rank top 20 in nearly offensive category — yards per play, red-zone attempts, points per play and offensive touchdowns scored — and top 30 in plays per game, which leads to an up-tempo offense.

SMU has a top-20 passing attack and should be able to score at will against a Green Wave defense that allowed 40 points to Oklahoma, 61 to Ole miss, and 52 to East Carolina. The Mustangs' defense isn’t anything to brag about. It did limit both USF and Navy to less than 24 points, however, Navy is a run-first team and USF is bottom 10 in total offense. Expect points.

Betting option: OVER 70

Louisiana (-18) at Arkansas State (Total 70)

If we’re talking about the worst defense in the country, the Red Wolves are it. Out of 130 FBS teams in the country, Arkansas State is ranked ... dead ... last. To be specific, it is 128th against the pass and 130th against the run. What do the Ragin’ Cajuns do best? Run the ball and run the ball well, ranking 33rd in rushing yards per game and 26th in yards per carry.

For being the third-best passing team in the nation, the Red Wolves are only 65th in touchdowns scored. What is working against them is being bottom 20 in giveaways, with seven thrown interceptions and eight fumbles.

When you are a one-trick pony on offense that is susceptible to turnovers and has the worst defense in the country, that’s a recipe for losing games by multiple scores.

Betting option: Louisiana -18