Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Kent State +155 over Akron
InfoCision Stadium - Akron, OH
7:30 PM EST. It's Wagon Wheel season, as Akron and Kent State get set to face off in one of the more intense and hated rivalries in all of college football. When they say "throw out the records," this might be what they are talking about, as both the Golden Flashes and the Zips come into this heated affair with identical 1-7 records. That will be plenty of fodder for the talking heads, but where it matters most, the pay window, Kent State has failed to cover the number in five straight games. The last game the Flashes cashed a ticket was way back on September 26th when they beat FCS Central Connecticut State 38-10 as a -21½-point favorite. That means Kent State has covered just once this season against an FBS team, which was Arkansas way back in Week 1.
Things might be bleak in Akron too, but when your hated rival is suffering worse than you, it makes life just a little bit easier. The Zips have at least seen the pay window in the last month, as they covered in a 17-10 loss to CMU two weeks ago as a 10½-point pooch. The Zips also covered against Indiana back in Week 4 in a game they almost upset the Hoosiers, who were a -17½-point favorite. We've read a lot about that near-upset this week, which is why we mention it here. It holds weight in the market, and it's low-hanging fruit for the suits to point to a game that shows that Akron is better than Kent State. Whether that statement is true or not is another story.
Both teams come into this game banged up, but it is Akron who is still without its starting QB, as DJ Irons is out for the rest of the season after tearing his ACL against Buffalo in Week 5. That injury elevated Jeff Undercuffler Jr. to the starter role, and he's completed just 60 of 96 passes for 598 yards and two scores with six interceptions since taking over. Last week against Bowling Green, Undercuffler Jr. had a career-high 234 yards, but he threw two interceptions, and with the Zips getting whacked by BG, many of those passing yards came in garbage time. The 41-14 final flatters Akron, as it added a meaningless late touchdown.
In what appears to be a coin flip between two struggling football teams, it's impossible not to see value in the Golden Flashes in the underdog role. The Zips are not built to cover a number, which is why they have been favored just once against an FBS school this season. For the record, that was a 13-10 overtime loss to Buffalo in Week 5 as a -3-point pooch. If the Zips win here, so be it, but this is a game that Akron can absolutely win outright, and with the coveted Wagon Wheel in the balance, motivation will not be an issue. Golden Flashes for the W is our call.
Kent State +155 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.10)