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NFL Draft Betting

Week 8 CFB Player Props Primer

by Eric Froton
Updated On: October 24, 2020, 11:51 am ET

So far this column is predicting winning college football props at a 76% clip. However that is the past, and this week with the addition of the Big Ten we are presented with some absolutely delicious props to exploit. As we saw in the early season SEC games, Draft Kings objectionably stinks at predicting prop lines when they don't have recent data to cull. 

There are three plays this week that I simply cannot believe are available, and another player that has hit his Week 7 mark at an 80% clip. I'm ecstatic about this slate's money making potential, let's dive right into my favorite play of the entire year so far. 

Jarrett Guarantano - Tennessee - 219.5

Readers may remember my full-throated defense of Guarantano’s Under play a few weeks ago. The Under on Guarantano’s passing yardage total hit then, and proceeded to hit the next two weeks as well. Unfortunately we weren’t granted the privilege of betting the Guarantano Under last week, as it appeared that Draft Kings finally took the pseudo-starter’s passing numbers off the board. Good thing too, since the beleaguered signal caller completed 14-of-21 passes for 88 yards before throwing back-to-back pick-sixes that mercifully ended the overwhelmed and under-talented quarterback’s day.

It came as no surprise to anyone paying attention that HC Jeremy Pruitt auditioned “several” quarterbacks in practice this week to determine who would take the first snaps against Alabama. Brian Maurer, JT Shrout and four-star freshman Harrison Bailey all got a shot to replace the ineffective redshirt senior Guarantano. 

Apparently the Draft Kings oddsmakers weren’t taking notice of these practice reports, since they set the passing yardage line on my “favorite” quarterback at 219.5. Let me be clear, this line is legitimately approaching “drain my 401K and let it ride” proportions. A metaphorical four-alarm, dumpster fire of a line. There is a hard ZERO percent chance that Guarantano plays the whole game against Alabama. In fact, it’s probably 50/50 that he even starts the game since if you’re going to get boat-raced by Alabama, why not at least get your prize freshman recruit some valuable game experience over a redshirt senior who has proven, unequivocally, that he cannot handle the starting job?

He might not even see the field on Saturday after his cringe-worthy performance against Kentucky last week. I’m calling Jarrett Guaratano Under 219.5 my play of the year...THE YEAR. It opened at 229.5 and already dropped 10 yards at the time of publication. Get it at 219.5  before someone at DK takes this bet down and the free money train leaves the station.
 

Phil Jurkovec - Boston College - 285.5

Forgive me if I need to compose myself after espousing the virtues of that wonderfully lucrative Jarrett Guarantano line. However back in reality, we still have a few more excellent plays to consider. Phil Jurkovec has led an offensive revival at BC, posting passing numbers that we haven’t seen since the halcyon days of Matty “Ice” Ryan.

The Notre Dame transfer has thrown for 300+ yards in four of his five games this season, well above the 285.5 mark he is being asked to clear this weekend. The only game where the highly touted, top-five quarterback recruit didn’t clear the 300 yard mark was a 210 yard performance against Texas State in a 24-21 slow-paced slog.

There will be no such clock-bleeding this week when BC takes on electric freshman QB Jeff Sims and Georgia Tech this weekend. This is the same Georgia Tech team that just gave up 73 points to Clemson while allowing 404 passing yards to Trevor Lawrence and 500 passing yards in total. The Yellow Jackets are allowing an average of 308 passing yards per game, the 10th worst mark in the country. Keep in mind, GT faced athletically-challenged QB’s like Tommy DeVito and James Blackman who are positively Guarantano-esque in their passing acumen. 

Given the 80% hit rate on Jurkovec passing the 285.5 mark and the still-rebuilding Georgia Tech defense that has allowed 39.8 PPG, i’m calling for a comfortable Over play on BC’s do-it-all quarterback.

 

Justin Fields - Ohio State - 239.5

When I first saw Fields’ passing O/U, I almost fainted. However upon further examination, Ohio State chose to pummel their opposition on the ground with J.K. Dobbins and Master Teague to the tune of 267 YPG last year, the highest rushing average of any non-option team. For his part, Fields did not clear the 239.5 mark in any of his first nine games in 2019. Clearly HC Ryan Day wanted to bring along his blue-chip, five-star transfer slowly since Fields was starting the first games of his career after backing up Jake Fromm at Georgia in 2018. (How badly did THAT decision age BTW?) 

However in the November 16, 56-21 bludgeoning of Rutgers, HC Day let Fields take charge of the Buckeye passing attack with a 305 yard performance. He only threw for 188 yards against Penn State the following week, but then proceeded to pass for at least 299 yards in each of his last three games. It’s easy to forget that Fields was experiencing his first extended game action, as even demi-gods need time to acclimate to the collegiate speed of play. 

With Clemson showcasing Lawrence for a Heisman run last week by letting him gas it up against Georgia Tech, I have a feeling that HC Day is going to turn the keys of the offense over to Fields this week against Nebraska. Draft Kings over-compensated for those first-nine games while Fields got his feet wet, and didn’t account for Fields hitting 299+ in four of his last five games.

Ohio State annihilated Nebraska 48-7 in 2019. Expect more of the same on Saturday, as Fields is now a fully-formed superstar intent on reminding the nation that Trevor Lawrence isn’t the only former five-star super-prospect who can light opposing defenses on fire. This is Fields’ team now that Dobbins is gone, He’s going to smash that 239.5 mark. Jump on it NOW before his yardage total goes up.

 

Noah Cain - Penn State - 64.5

Entering 2019, elite freshmen recruits Noah Cain and Devyn Ford were expected to compete with Ricky Slade and the previously suspended Journey Brown for the Penn State RB1 role. In the Nittany Lion spring game, Noah Cain looked like the best back on the field, rushing for over 100 yards and two touchdowns while displaying all the tools necessary to take over the PSU RB room. I was instantly smitten and prioritized Cain in all of my Dynasty leagues. However once Journey Brown finally exited James Franklin’s dog-house he jettisoned Ricky Slade to the dustbin of failed PSU prospects, putting together an absolutely dominant late season run where he topped 100-yards in four of his last five games. 

However Brown didn’t really start taking over the lion’s share of carries until Noah Cain got hurt against Michigan State, missing thei next two games and opening the door for Brown finally receive more than 10 carries in a game for the first time all season. Prior to PSU’s October 26 game against the Spartans, Brown had only received 18 carries for 77 yards and a 4.2 YPC in his previous four games. The reason why is because Noah Cain had lit up Purdue and Iowa for 100+ yards and a touchdown in each contest while averaging 6.1 YPC in the process. It wasn’t until AFTER Cain got hurt that Journey was afforded his opportunity to shine.

It’s easy to forget this timeline of events in the wake of Journey Brown’s late season explosion. Now that Journey is opting out, Noah Cain will reprise his role as Penn State’s RB1 against Indiana. Cain received double digit carries three times last year. He averaged exactly 100-yards per game in those contests. I firmly expect him to perform at a similar level to Brown behind a veteran offensive line that returns four starters and 85 line starts. Along with my other two favorite plays of this week, Fields and Guarantano, Cain represents an absolutely phenomenal value at OVER 64.5 yards rushing.

“He don’t lie, he don’t lie, he don’t lie...Noah Cain” 

 

Usually I go with five plays, but I feel so confident about the four plays listed here that I don’t want to dilute them with a recommendation that i’m not passionate about. I simply cannot envision a non-injury scenario where three of these four plays don’t hit. Go make some money today!