According to our most-prized power ratings, we have Louisiana Tech pegged as getting the most value of any team on the college football Week 1 betting card, as Missouri should be giving only about 13 points.
The Bulldogs have been money on the road over the past 10 seasons, at 57.4 percent (35-26-2) against the spread. At home in that stretch, Missouri, at 52.2% ATS (35-32, or just a hair below the all-important break-even line), has lost a slim amount of cash.
Louisiana Tech vs. Missouri Betting Lines: Point Spread, Total, Moneyline
NCAAF · Thu (9/1) @ 8:03pm ET
|Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Columbia, Missouri|
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
Only in today’s convoluted Merry-Go-Round nature of college football can it make sense that two quarterbacks would transfer to Louisiana Tech, and both have previous experience with new boss of the Bulldogs, Sonny Cumbie, and at different institutions.
At TCU, 6-foot Matthew Downing played under Cumbie, when he was the Horned Frogs’ offensive coordinator. Downing had previously been at Georgia. At Texas Tech, after having left Troy, 6-foot-5 Parker McNeil played under Cumbie, when he was the OC in Lubbock.
The game today is dizzying. Follow all that?
Downing won the starter’s job recently, and he’s 28-for-44, for 282 yards, a touchdown and a pick in his entire collegiate career.
Cumbie, however, must have liked what he saw in Downing running the high-paced attack in practice. In 2004, Cumbie ran a similar offense when he was in college, throwing for 4,742 yards in guiding Texas Tech to an 8-4 record, capped with a 45-31 Holiday Bowl triumph over California. In that one, Cumbie threw for 520 yards and three TDs, including a 60-yard scoring strike.
Cumbie is a Mike Leach protégé, the Air Raid attack in his DNA. If his players can match his efforts as a senior, it’ll be a dynamic campaign for the Bulldogs, whose season total has been pegged at 4.5 by Las Vegas.
It’s a new era, with many new faces, in Ruston, La., but one star is inside linebacker Tyler Grubbs, a projected NFL pick in next spring’s draft who has led the Dogs in tackles the past two seasons (97 last year, 99 in ’20).
Kickers could be the star of this show, as Tech’s Jacob Barnes has drilled all 72 of his PAT attempts the past two seasons, and he’s nailed 29 of 35 field-goal attempts.
However, we also like that last season’s top three targets return. Don’t be fooled by the diminutive stature of 5-foot-6 junior Smoke Harris, who was third team all-league last season, and 6-foot-2 sophomore Tre Harris, and 6-foot-3 senior Griffin Hebert provide the Bulldogs’ aerial game with electricity.
Smoke also gives opponents headaches as a return specialist.
The defense does have many holes after allowing more than 34 points to nine foes in 2021.
The past eight times the Tigers gave opponents 10 to 21 points on oddsboards, they covered only once, losing two of them outright.
Third-year boss Eliah Drinkwitz hasn’t had a winning season at Mizzou. What’s more, his squads are 9-14 ATS, so there’s been no solace with the spread for alums who might like a punt or two.
At quarterback, Drinkwitz and staff selected 6-foot-2 junior Brady Cook to start. He played in five games last season, but the Tigers lost the two (at Alabama, Army in a bowl) in which he appeared the most.
Should Cook falter, the 6-foot and — guess what? — well-traveled Jack Abraham will be eager to get into the action. He played in 27 games at Southern Miss, throwing for more than 7,000 yards, with 41 TDs and 29 interceptions. He was at Mississippi State last season but did not see any action.
Redshirt freshman Tyler Macon and true rookie Sam Horn are also on the roster. Tauskie Dove, a 6-foot-2 junior wideout, is the most experienced of the receivers, and Stanford transfer Nathaniel Peat might highlight some unproven tailbacks.
Mizzou is one of 10 programs whose offensive linemen, as a group, signed a preseason NIL deal with Hooters, so standing out enough to attract such national attention proves its experience and value to the Tigers.
Can Cook use that blockade in front of him to his full advantage? Do we see a reserve, maybe, in the second half of this game if the immediate answer to that question is poor?
To round out this kicker’s show, in his preseason preview that is considered a Bible of the game, Phil Steele pegs Missouri’s Harrison Mevis as the country’s best kicker. A second-team All-America last season, Mevis has drilled all 69 of his PATs over the past two seasons, and he has booted 40 of 45 field goals through the uprights.
Anyone for an 18-15 game?
Louisiana Tech vs. Missouri Sports Betting Recommendation & Pick
We are going to stick with our Week 0 tack and continue to make Week 1 selections of the half-unit variety. That’s only smart as we feel out the tenor of the season, and the value this week lies with Louisiana Tech.
In viewing the total points of Missouri’s first four home games last season — 58, 87, 86 and 83 points — we are tempted to take the Over in this one, too. However, we’ll cool those jets and relax, knowing such a high tally should favor the Bulldogs’ side action.
Our Pick: Louisiana Tech +19 (-110)
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