Week 3 College Football Group of 5 Parlay: Our Top Picks, Featuring Cincinnati, Iowa & Memphis (Sept. 18)

Joe Murphy/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Dikes (5), Eddie Lewis (18), and Calvin Austin III (4).

Each week, to coincide with the release of the “Group of Five Deep Dive” under the Big Bets On Campus podcast banner, I’ll be sharing my Group of Five Parlay of the week.

Just so we’re clear right from the jump, this is an all-or-nothing column.

No one cares that I went 2-1 last week to improve to 5-1 on the season. You either hit the parlay or you don’t — which is fine by me because I like the upside of a three-team parlay.

Last week, Wyoming blew a 26-point second-half lead, only to turn around and score a game-winning touchdown and gambling-critical two-point conversion. Around these parts, we’re #PokesTilWeCroak.

Purdue covered against UConn in a sweat-free runaway, but the over in the Liberty-Troy game blew the parlay. After trading early scores, Liberty’s defense clamped down on the Trojans.

This week, I’m tailing two top-10 teams with terrifying defenses and banking on an absolute shootout in the Bluff City.

 

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Cincinnati

vs

Indiana

Cincinnati -4
Saturday, Sept. 18
12 p.m. ET
ESPN

I’m not in the “I told you so” game because it’s not actionable for gamblers. But I was down on Indiana in a big way coming into the season.

The Hoosiers beat only one team with a winning record in 2020 (Wisconsin, 4-3) and were relying on a quarterback rushed back from an ACL injury.

So far it’s clear that Michael Penix Jr. is not the same QB who put the offense on his back last year. He can’t push the ball down the field and struggled (4.3 YPA) against Idaho last week. Cincinnati is no Idaho, to put it lightly.

The Bearcats defense has three potential first-round draft picks littered across its starting 11. Myjai Sanders has been a terror off the edge, Sauce Gardner is locking down top receivers and Coby Bryant has the rare size (6-foot-1, 200 pounds) that can intimidate college wide receivers.

This unit is ranked second nationally, according to Pro Football Focus.

Indiana will be lucky to score 21 points in this game. Cincy will make life miserable for Penix to the point that I believe we’ll see a lot of backup quarterback Jack Tuttle.

Offensively, I’ve come around on Desmond Ridder. Once a liability, the veteran dual threat has made life difficult for opposing defensive coordinators by utilizing the RPO.

And given the Bearcats’ wealth of talent on defense and in their own backfield, he just needs to be good for this team to be great. He is just that, ranking 34th nationally, per PFF.

I trust in Ridder and a Cincy runaway.

Pick: Cincinnati -4

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Kent State

vs

Iowa

Iowa -22
Saturday, Sept. 18
3:30 p.m. ET
Big Ten Network

I’ve seen this movie before.

Kent State traveled to Texas A&M and couldn’t move the ball against an elite defense, failing to cover the spread in the end.

Iowa’s defense (Opp INT Thrown %, 7th) will completely clamp down on the Golden Flash passing attack, and its bread and butter offensively is KSU’s weakness.

Tyler Goodson will flirt with 200 yards on the ground here. Kent State could barely hold Virginia Military Institute below 150 yards on the ground. Its a sieve on defense.

Dating back to last season, Iowa is 8-2 against the spread, making them the third-most profitable team in the country. The Hawkeyes have also handled the last four G5/FCS opponents they’ve faced by 24 points or more.

It’ll be more of the same against a weary Kent State group.

Pick: Iowa -22


Mississippi State

vs

Memphis

Over 64
Saturday, Sept. 18
4 p.m. ET
ESPN2

I love the over in what should be a shootout between the Bulldogs and Tigers on Beale Street.

For starters, Memphis is an over bettor’s dream. The Tigers just won, 55-50, over Arkansas State, a team playing musical chairs at quarterback.

When it has the ball, Memphis is the same dynamic offense we’ve come to expect in the last seven years. This time it’s Seth Henigan, Brandon Thomas, and Calvin Austin III leading the charge.

The faces change, but the high-scoring results stay the same. That big three is good enough to crack 30 points against this Mississippi State defense that gave up 34 points to Louisiana Tech and is playing on the road for the first time this year.

But the real reason I want to cap this parlay with an over is that Will Rogers is due to break out.

The sophomore has been so-so thus far (by Air Raid standard), which is why facing the Memphis defense is just what the doctor ordered.

I’m talking 500 yards through the air and five touchdowns.

This Memphis team just allowed Arkansas State’s QBs to throw for 582 yards. I foresee a huge day for the Miss State passing attack and a game played in the upper 70s.

Pick: Over 64


College Football Week 3 Group of Five Parlay

Cincinnati -4

Iowa -22

Mississippi State vs. Memphis Over 64


Parlay Odds: +597


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