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College Football Betting 2021: Best last-minute college football bets ahead of Week 8

Lubbock, Texas, USA; Texas Christian Horned Frogs running back Zach Evans (6) rushes against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the first half at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

In an efficient market like college football sides and totals, it’s definitely a more profitable long-term strategy to bet early in the week before lines start to sharpen up as Saturday approaches.

While finding early-week betting value is easier than doing so later in the week, that doesn’t mean we can’t unearth some plays with positive expected value later on. Keep in mind that you don’t always need to attack the major markets, either, and there’s no shame in looking at less efficient offerings like derivatives and props.

With that in mind, I’ll go over some of the biggest edges remaining on the board compared to my projections here. Additionally, make sure to use PFF Greenline to find all of your late-week values as well.

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Air Force Falcons (-3.5) vs. San Diego State Aztecs

Projection: Air Force -6.3

Air Force is coming off a road victory against Boise State last week and has a chance to take down another big name in the conference this week. The Aztecs come into this contest with an undefeated record, but that has come against the 127th-ranked strength of schedule, according to PFF’s power ratings

If the Aztecs are going to get out of Colorado Springs with a win, they’re going to need better play from the offense. It’s ranked 97th in passing grade, 109th in rushing grade and 105th in expected points added (EPA) per play. At quarterback, Jordon Brookshire has battled injuries this season but has earned just a 59.1 passing grade on 97 dropbacks. He’s really struggled with accuracy, as his 59.1% adjusted completion percentage ranks 128th out of 133 qualifying quarterbacks. Against an Air Force defense that ranks ninth in success rate, consistently moving the ball will be a tall task for San Diego State.

On the other side, Air Force’s offense against the Aztec defense will be a great matchup to watch. The Falcons’ triple-option attack is cooking this season, grading out as the 11th-best offense in the country. In the trenches, Air Force’s seventh-ranked run-blocking unit will be taking on an Aztec front that ranks 17th in run-defense grade. 

Even though the Falcons run the ball on nearly 90% of plays, you better have your head on a swivel on the remaining 10% of plays. When Air Force does go to the air, it’s done an incredible job of taking advantage of defenses who get too caught up in defending the run. On 49 passing attempts this season, Air Force is averaging 11.43 yards per attempt and 0.38 EPA per throw, which both rank as top-three marks in the country.

Additionally, quarterback Haaziq Daniels’ 14.3% big-time throw rate comfortably leads all quarterbacks with at least 50 dropbacks. It’s not a focal point of the offense, but Air Force knows exactly when to dial up the passing plays — and the team is certainly capable of hitting devastating shots there.

TCU Horned Frogs (-4.5) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers

Projection: TCU -8.3

TCU’s offense has been very explosive this season, and that should continue here. The Horned Frogs rank sixth in the nation in EPA per play and will be facing a Mountaineer defense that has struggled, especially in coverage.

WVU Defense | 2021
Successful Drive Rate Def. Grade EPA/Pass Open Target Percentage Pressure Rate
Rank 114th 90th 106th 128th 116th

TCU quarterback Max Duggan shouldn’t have too many stains on his jersey at the end of this game, considering West Virginia’s poor pass rush will be facing a TCU line that has graded out at ninth-best in the nation in pass-blocking grade. Overall, Duggan has run a TCU passing attack that ranks 10th in EPA per throw.

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