NCAA Football Betting Advice: Under-the-Radar QBs for Wagering Profits
Football is very much a quarterback-driven game, and that is especially true in college where an outstanding QB can mask a whole lot of issues and make a team a winner - or at least a team that is bettable. We know who the big-name quarterbacks are - they certainly get enough attention. It's the highly-competent guys who don't get nearly as much attention, though, that can provide real opportunities for bettors. Here are seven guys who fly under the radar but are very much worth paying attention to heading into the 2018 season:
Mason Fine, North Texas: Fine gained plenty of experience two years ago with mixed results, and then things really took off for him last year when he became the full-time starter. He threw for more than 4,000 yards and 31 touchdowns while completing well over 60 percent of his passes. The team has a manageable schedule this year, and games against teams like SMU and FAU have a chance to turn into stat-padding shootouts. Like so many on this list, Fine is a guy who has already shown a whole lot and is at a point in his career where he could take another step forward.
Justice Hansen, Arkansas State: Hansen in is his third full year starting at Arkansas State, and he took a massive step forward from Year 1 to Year 2, increasing his TD total from 19 to 37, among other big gains. The game should slow down for him even further, and he easily could be a guy who throws for 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns - certainly nothing to sneeze at. He plays in a very pass-heavy offense. And aside from a Week 2 game at Alabama that obviously isn't going to go well for him, he has a schedule that should allow him to show what he is capable of. And it's not like there is anything the team can do that will get them a lot of attention, so he should stay well under the radar for a long while.
Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt: Shurmur is a senior who was fairly underwhelming as a starter two years ago, but took massive steps forward last year, winding up with 26 touchdown passes and just 10 picks. He gets credit, too, because he does that mostly against SEC competition and behind a team that is very outmatched in most conference games they play. The Commodores dodge both Alabama and LSU this year, so the schedule could be worse. There is some upside here, and it's not like anyone is going to take his team seriously.
Ben Hicks, SMU: Like others, Hicks is a third-year starter who took big strides from year one to year two. In his first year he, quite impressively, scored 19 touchdowns without an interception. Last year he jumped up to 33 scoring passes but threw 12 picks - still a decent ratio. If he can limit some mistakes in his third year while remaining productive then he could be sitting on a strong year. His biggest challenge is going to be surviving as rough a two-week stretch as any QB will face this year when he has to face TCU and Michigan defenses. If he can get through that with his confidence still intact then he could be in for a very solid year. There is a pretty good chance that his team gets very significantly humbled in both, which will further diminish any slight public attention he may have received. There could be real backend opportunities there.
Jawon Pass, Louisville: It is very tough to follow a legend, and that is what Pass has to do after taking over for Heisman winner and now Baltimore Raven Lamar Jackson. But what I like here is that there was very little hesitation naming the starter from the program. Teams can be left grasping at straws when a long-time star departs, but Pass stood out in the spring game, and was the clear starter heading into fall camp. He is a sophomore with less than 300 career passing yards, and he was already named a team captain - a very solid sign. He's talented and in a system that should suit his strengths. He also got enough action to know what to expect last year, and he had a good relationship with his predecessor. There will be growing pains, and no one should start their career playing against Alabama, but the upside is significant, and Bobby Petrino, through all his faults, runs systems that can benefit quarterbacks.
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