NCAAF College Football Best Bet: Point Spread Selection to kick off Week 7

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The arrival of crisp autumn air signifies the return of midweek college football action. Week 7 introduces the first set of Tuesday games this season, inaugurating a two-month stretch of daily football, whether it be NCAA or NFL. Kicking off at 7:30 pm ET on Tuesday this week is the clash between Liberty and Jacksonville State, featuring the only two 3-0 teams within Conference USA league play. The Flames come in with an unblemished 5-0 SU record, only falling short of covering the spread once, while Jacksonville State boasts a 5-1 SU and ATS record, including a perfect 3-0 SU and ATS record at home.

NCAAF College Football Best Bet: Liberty Points Spread Pick -6.0

This matchup is likely to revolve around the running game, as both Liberty and Jacksonville State rely on rushing the ball in over 61% of their plays against FBS opponents, placing them both in the top 11 nationally. When facing similar strength of schedules, Liberty has been more successful offensively in running the ball. The Flames average 5.7 yards per rush against FBS opponents, while the Gamecocks manage 4.7. Additionally, Liberty holds the edge over Jacksonville State in metrics like stuff rate, line yards, rush-play PPA, success rate, and explosiveness. However, when it comes to defense against the run, Jacksonville State has the upper hand. The Gamecocks rank in the top 15 nationally in stuff rate, line yards, PPA, and success rate (excluding garbage time), while the Flames rank outside the top 80 in all these metrics except line yards. This suggests that Liberty’s rushing success could be limited by the strength of Jacksonville State’s defense. Nevertheless, Liberty has a notable advantage in the passing game, which could be the key to victory.

The Flames have a clear-cut starting quarterback, whereas Jacksonville State’s head coach, Rich Rodriguez, continues to assert that he has two starting quarterbacks. As the old saying goes, “If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have any.” To support this, consider the numbers: Kaidon Salter boasts an 85.7 PFF passing grade, ranking in the top 25 nationally among qualified FBS quarterbacks, while Logan Smothers and Zion Webb both have grades below 64.0. Furthermore, Salter has produced 13 big-time throws compared to just 1 combined for the JSU quarterbacks, 9 of which came off play-action. Salter also excels as a play-action passer with a 90.9 PFF passer grade and an average depth of target (aDOT) over 15 on those passes. Thus, it’s expected that coach Jamey Chadwell and the Flames will capitalize on Salter’s proficiency in play-action to exploit Jacksonville State’s vulnerable secondary. Jacksonville State’s lack of a dependable passing attack could make its offense somewhat one-dimensional in this matchup, placing the Gamecocks at a disadvantage against the Flames and their explosiveness in the passing game. Liberty boasts the most efficient offense the Gamecocks have faced thus far, being one of only two offenses on their schedule to rank above 115th in opponent-adjusted offensive efficiency and the sole offense to rank inside the top 65 (Liberty ranks 38th per BCFToys). Therefore, I’m inclined to back the Flames in this matchup.

Liberty -6 available at the time of publishing. Playable up to -7.

Please also note that odds and availability may change, and it’s important to gamble responsibly and only with a licensed site in a reputable territory. Note: All bets should be made responsibly. The opinions and predictions provided are based on available data and are intended to enhance your understanding, fun and enjoyment of sports. The decision to place bets or refrain from betting is solely the responsibility of the bettor. If you experience issues with gambling, please seek immediate assistance.

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Please gamble responsibly and seek help if you are experiencing gambling problems.

Please also note that odds and availability may change, and it’s important to gamble responsibly and only with a licensed site in a reputable territory. Note: All bets should be made responsibly. The opinions and predictions provided are based on available data and are intended to enhance your understanding, fun and enjoyment of sports. The decision to place bets or refrain from betting is solely the responsibility of the bettor. If you experience issues with gambling, please seek immediate assistance.

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