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Liberty could offer Rutgers a temporary respite from misery

Some bets elicit more anxiety than others.

Bet on Alabama or Clemson and you can sleep at night whatever the result.

Bet on Rutgers and you may wake up in a pool of your own sweat.

The Scarlet Knights scored a combined 30 points in their last six games, going 0-6 straight up and against the spread while failing to cover by an average of 13.8 points.

No one ever said betting on sports was a stress-free endeavor.

Rutgers is a 7½-point home underdog against Hugh Freeze and Liberty. The Flames are 133rd in the 247Sports Talent Composite rankings, representing a major step down in class.

Rutgers faced teams ranked an average of 40.8 in that same list in its six losses. Boston College (No. 65) was the least-talented team based on those rankings, and Rutgers lost 30-16.

Rutgers beat Massachusetts (No. 113 in the talent composite) by 27 in the season opener and will enjoy another athletic advantage Saturday.

According to the Sagarin Ratings, No. 117 Liberty beat New Mexico (No. 140) and New Mexico State (No. 162) by seven. Rutgers (No. 144) would fit in well in the Land of Enchantment, but has more raw talent.

Liberty averages 17.2 points per game against FBS defenses, and it failed to score against Syracuse in its only game against a Power 5 opponent. I’m banking on Rutgers +7½.

Four more plays (home team in CAPS):

Virginia (-3½) over LOUISVILLE: The Cardinals offense is 128th in havoc allowed, including 68 tackles for loss. Virginia’s defense is missing potential first-round NFL cornerback Bryce Hall, but Louisville runs on 60.2 percent of its offensive snaps. And the Cavaliers are 13th in defensive havoc with 58 tackles for loss and 34 passes defensed. Louisville is going to have trouble avoiding negative plays. I expect Virginia QB Bryce Perkins to demolish a bad Louisville defense, as this is major class relief after playing the likes of Notre Dame and Miami.

CHARLOTTE (+4) over North Texas: Charlotte is 17th in yards per carry and tied for 17th in rushes of at least 30 yards thanks to senior Benny LeMay (2,802 career rushing yards). The shoddy Mean Green defense is 101st in yards per carry allowed and 123rd in rushing plays of at least 30 yards allowed. Charlotte’s red zone defense ranks in the top 25 in several categories, while North Texas allows opponents to score on 92 percent of red zone possessions (115th).

Memphis (-10½) over TULSA: The Tigers may be the best Group of 5 team. Memphis features the SP+ No. 1 special teams unit, freshman RB Kenneth Gainwell (1,270 yards on 8.6 yards per touch) and QB Brady White (No. 6 nationally in passer rating). It beat Navy by 12 and Tulane by 30, teams that are inferior to Tulsa. Much of the value comes on the other side of the ball. Tulsa is 126th in yards per carry (2.8), and Memphis is 16th in opponent passer rating. Tulsa finished within 24-13 at Cincinnati, but Memphis fields a similar defense and a superior offense.

Arizona State (-3) over UCLA: Sun Devils freshman QB Jayden Daniels just lived a nightmare at Utah, throwing for 25 yards and an interception while running for his life (three sacks, 16 rushes). UCLA does not have Utah’s defense, and Daniels also threw for 363 against Washington State and 345 against Colorado. The UCLA offense, which has scored 17 or fewer in four of its seven games, will face its biggest challenge of the season.

Last Week: 2-3

Season: 22-16-2

More Betting: Follow at reviewjournal.com/betting and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Christopher Smith of AL.com, NOLA.com and MyBookie is providing college football analysis for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Follow @cfblocksmith on Twitter.

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