Week 3 Player Props Primer
I hope some of you were lucky enough to cash in my recommendations last week as I was fortunate enough to post a 4-1 win/loss record. The college props lines can fluctuate from -110 to -125 after release based on volume of bets, so you want to jump on these as soon as possible after they are posted on Friday evening.
Terry Wilson - Kentucky - O/U 224.5
In 2018 Terry Wilson posted a 11-8 ratio while leading a Kentucky offense that averaged 26.6 point and 161 passing yards per game. That offense featured NFL caliber talents Lynn Bowden Jr. and Benny Snell while returning seven starters, yet still mustered only 361 total yards per game. Despite the average offensive numbers Kentucky still won 10 games, capped off by a 27-24 Citrus Bowl victory over Penn State, because their defense held opponents to a stout 16.8 PPG. HC Mark Stoops has built this team around a punishing ground game and a stifling defense, choosing to play slow in an era of hyper-fast spread offenses.
Last year Kentucky cruised to their first win against Toledo and were firmly in control in their second game against Eastern Michigan when Wilson suffered a season-ending knee injury. Sawyer Smith took over but after injuries and ineffectiveness OC Eddie Gran decided to scrap the passing game by moving WR Lynn Bowden to QB and running the option. The gamble proved successful as Kentucky went on to win five of their last seven games with their passing game cratering to 114 yards per game.
Wilson reclaimed his starting job after battling Beau Allen and Auburn transfer Joey Gatewood throughout camp. UK’s late-season success running the option is perfectly tailored to Wilson’s skill set, as he rushed for 547 yards and four touchdowns in 2018. Facing a tough Auburn defense after a long absence while running a slow-paced rush-heavy offense has me skeptical that Wilson can hit that 225 yard mark. I’m taking the under 224.5 on Wilson's passing yards.
Malik Cunningham - Louisville - O/U 40.5 Rush
I took Cunningham’s Under on passing yards against Miami, which was looking good for three quarters until Louisville started chucking in order to make-up the three-score disadvantage. Though Cunningham has passed for over 300-yards in both games this season, he has posted rushing totals of 24 and seven yards respectively. Game flow dictated a light running output in each contest, as Western Kentucky allowed UL wide receivers to streak down the field uncovered for a comfortable win and he was forced to throw after getting down early to Miami.
Will Pitt being able to run up the score with impunity, forcing Louisville to throw more against their suffocating secondary? Sacks detract from rushing stats and last season Cunningham averaged three sacks a game resulting in -18 rushing yards per game over the final seven games of 2019. Over his last nine games, Cunningham has gone under 40.5 yards six times. I’m betting the 2019 trend continues to hold in 2020 and am taking the Under 40.5 rush.
Pooka Williams - Kansas - O/U 90.5
Pooka put up an excellent season from an all-purpose perspective, rushing 203 times for 1,061 yards and three touchdowns while also snagging 33 passes for 289 yards and two TDs out of the backfield. What’s important to recognize for the purpose of these props bets are to focus in on the specific parameters of the wager and not get seduced by the overall talent of the player in question.
With Williams, when he had big rushing games they were huge, popping off for games of 154, 121, 137 and 190 yards. However he was also prone to fluctuations, as Pooka has failed to reach the 91 yard plateau in six of his last nine games dating back to 2019. Perhaps most importantly, Pooka exited Kansas’ last game after only 12 carries against Coastal Carolina with an undisclosed injury that he has been nursing for two weeks. HC Les Miles said he expects Pooka to play, however he didn’t say how much he will play.
Think about it this way, he’s billed at 5’10/170 pounds and his best attribute is the ability to make people miss in space. Can Williams suit up for a full 60-minutes and log the 20 carries it will take to reach this mark against new HC and former LSU DC Dave Aranda’s Baylor defense? Even when healthy, he still didn’t hit 91 in six of his last nine games. I’m going heavy on Under 90.5 here as this is my Play of the Week.
KJ Costello - Mississippi State - O/U 269.5 Passing Yards
This is a fairly simple equation, when was the last time a Mike Leach team threw for under 300 yards? It happened only once last year on the road in a 38-13 drubbing at the hands of a vicious Utah defense that allowed only 15 points and 187 passing yards per game. That’s a pretty good ratio and now Leach has a former All Pac-12 quarterback in K.J. Costello who completed 65 percent of his passes for 3,540 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2018.
On the other side LSU has to replace Kristian Fulton and Grant Delpit in the secondary while their former defensive coordinator, Dave Aranda, left to coach Baylor. In comes Bo Pelini who had a short camp and no spring to get his defense adjusted to the new scheme. LSU also only returns two starters on offense, so the Joe Burreaux-led juggernaut of 2019 that controlled the game and averaged 48.4 PPG has been gutted.
Mike Leach has no identity crisis, he’s the same coach he’s always been just with an SEC school behind him. He will throw all-day. Facing a re-tooling LSU without their sea-legs in the first-game of the season is a great spot to pound this Over 269.5 layup.
Kylin Hill - Mississippi State - O/U 85.5
Keeping it simple here, Max Borghi is a generational talent at Washington State and arguably the greatest all-purpose back the school has ever produced. So it’s relevant to Kylin Hill’s projected usage that Borghi only topped 55 yards rushing three times in 13 games last season. Though he split carries his freshman year in 2018, Borghi also failed to clear 55 yards in any game that season.
Bearing these facts in mind, Kylin Hill is a proven stud who broke the 100-yard barrier eight times in 12 games last season. Under the previous HC Joe Moorehouse’s regime I would be doing back-flips to take the Over on this prop. However a pure, unadulterated, hard-flying air-raid offense has arrived in Starkville. Kylin Hill will now simply exploit more 1-on-1 matchups on swing and screen passes instead of logging 25 carries per game.
I’m puzzled that this line is set at 85.5 rushing yards for Saturday’s contest against LSU. If this were a total-yardage prop, that would be another matter entirely. However Leach-gonna-Leach and much like the previous Costello prop, fading Hill’s yardage is a matter of following the system and placing bets accordingly. Historical data screams Hard Under on this bloated 85.5 rushing yards line.