We all know about the big names like Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson, Michigan, and Notre Dame. Of course those teams are going to be tremendous. Do you think the oddsmakers know that? Absolutely! I find it more valuable to try to look for teams who could make some noise that are off the radar a bit. Let’s take a look at three teams from Group of 5 conferences who I think you should be paying attention to going into the season.
Air Force Falcons
The Mountain West is a strong conference, and I expect Air Force to be a true contender here. The Falcons are coached by Troy Calhoun, who is an underrated coach by many bettors. They have a veteran star signal caller in Haaziq Daniels. A great decision maker at quarterback is crucial in this triple option attack, and Air Force absolutely has that in Daniels. They are loaded in the backfield as well. Despite having an inexperienced offensive line last season, they led the nation in rushing yards. Look out for a ton of rushing yards this year!
It’s also important to note that Air Force has a very favorable schedule. There’s only a game or two where there is even a chance they will be an underdog. The Falcons get Boise State at home, and they don’t have to play Fresno State.
The Toledo Rockets went 7-6 last year despite having a much higher expected win percentage based on advanced statistics. They lost a bunch of very close games. The ball didn’t seem to bounce their way. Toledo has the most talent of any team in the Mid American Conference. DeQuan Finn is now the clear cut starter at quarterback, and he’s a great runner and a solid passer. Peny Boone transferred in from Maryland to be the starter at running back.
The MAC is always wild, and I would expect no different this year. Those MACtion games in the middle of the week come in November can be about as good as you get. Toledo hasn’t made bettors money in the last three years on the whole, and I think that makes them undervalued coming into this season. Can the talent win out for the Rockets?
Southern Miss Golden Eagles
The Southern Miss football program has a nice history, but last year the train went way off the tracks. The Golden Eagles went 3-9 and 4-8 ATS. They had so many quarterback injuries and talent issues that Frank Gore Jr. ended up playing quarterback at the end of the season. Gore is a good runner (one of the best in the Sun Belt), and Southern Miss will be happy to have him back at running back this season. Ty Keyes is said to be ready to go for the season at quarterback.
The Southern Miss defense wasn’t bad last year. They were put in terrible spots consistently, but they did stand up and do a solid job given everything thrown their way. Ole Miss transfer Tylan Knight comes in and he should be star at linebacker. The secondary is very good as well.
This team is off the radar of most people because they were so bad a year ago, but they are more talented than their record appeared. They could be one to watch on an against the spread basis this year!