NCAA Football Betting Advice: Off-the-Radar Quarterbacks to Bet On
Every year in college football there are quarterbacks that no one is talking about at the start of the season that define the season, and the betting success, of their team by the end of the year. Josh Allen of Wyoming, for example, was an unknown guy who had played one drive before missing the rest of 2015 with an injury at the start of last year, and now he goes into this season as a prospective first overall pick in the next year's draft - and would likely have been a Top 10 pick last year if he had opted for the draft. He's far from alone - Johnny Manziel went from a three-star recruit that Texas, his dream school, didn't want to Heisman winner as a redshirt freshman. And on and on. The more of these types of guys we can pick out before the season starts, the better the chances we have of finding solid betting success.
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Here are eight guys that stand out as having serious potential:
Riley Ferguson, Memphis: Ferguson is a mystery. He put up huge numbers last year - almost 3,700 yards and 32 touchdowns. It was no fluke, either, and he should be poised for another very strong year. What is surprising, though, is that Ferguson doesn't get nearly enough attention given what he has accomplished and how he plays. He's a star, but because of where he plays not enough people have figured it out yet.
David Blough, Purdue: Blough is another guy who doesn't get nearly enough attention for what he has accomplished. Despite the big name QBs in the Big Ten, it was Blough who led the league in passing last year with 279.3 yards per game. And now he gets to play under new coach Jeff Brohm, who runs far more dynamic offensives than Blough has seen. He also gets to work under offensive coordinator Brian Brohm, who was a heck of a QB himself. Blough has real upside, and since he plays for Purdue people are likely not to notice.
Dru Brown, Hawaii: Brown came from junior college, and he was a very good player last year in his first season at Hawaii as he helped new coach Nick Rolovich improve the team dramatically. Now, with a year under his belt, Brown should be even better. He'll perhaps be the best QB in the Mountain West, but because of playing at Hawaii no one will notice.
Eric Dungey, Syracuse: Like Brown, Dungey came in at the right time and helped new coach Dino Babers take big strides forward. Dungey is a strong fit for the aggressive style of offense that Babers favors, and he should take a big step forward in year two. Dungey was hurt at the start of November last year, and lost the rest of the year, so his numbers aren't representative of what he really did last year. That helps to keep him off the radar.
Justin Herbert, Oregon: Herbert was not the starter to begin the year last year, but the true freshman took over in October and really looked solid. Now he has a much stronger and more stable coaching staff to work for and a full offseason as the starter to grow into his role. He should be able to take a strong step forward.
Daniel Jones, Duke: Like Herbert, Jones took over as starter last year after the original starter was lost for the season to an injury. The difference is that it happened before the season even started. Things started out ugly, capped by a brutal five-pick performance against Virginia in the fifth game. After that, though, he had 10 touchdowns and just one pick the rest of the way, so he showed the ability to learn and grow. David Cutcliffe knows how to coach quarterbacks, so the future is fairly bright for Jones.
Steven Montez, Colorado: Sefo Liufau feels like one of those QBs that played at his school for 40 years, but the four-year starter is now fighting for his NFL life. Montez got three starts last year when Liufau was banged up, and he looked strong. Now it's his team, and in relatively anonymity he will likely put together a very strong season.
J'Mar Smith, Louisiana Tech: Lousiana Tech scores like crazy - always right near the top of the Conference USA offensive standings. QB Ryan Higgins is gone, and now Smith is in charge. He's not completely raw, though, because he had one decent start last year when Higgins was banged up. Skip Holtz runs a very QB-friendly system, and Smith should be poised to benefit from it.
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