Smaller-school action here as the Charlotte 49ers will travel to Massachusetts to take on the Minutemen. It’s been a rough year for UMass, as they’ve suffered three straight blowout losses. The 49ers on the other hand, sit at 2-1 and are looking for the non-conference road win.
49ers On Extended Rest
Charlotte is coming off a narrow three-point win over Old Dominion. In Week 1 they beat down Fordham 34-10 but were crushed by Appalachian State in Week 2 45-9. The win over Old Dominion gave them a crucial conference win as they headed into this matchup against independent UMass.
The 49ers prefer to run the ball, and will seek to establish the running game here. Through three games, they have almost as many rushing yards (487) as they do passing yards (577).
The 49ers have a couple of advantages here. For one, they’re playing on extended rest. They last played on Thursday, meaning they’ll have two extra days of rest and preparation. Secondly, UMass’ rushing defense has struggled recently. In their most recent game, they got gashed on the ground by FIU, giving up 5.9 yards per carry in a 63-24 rout.
UMass Battered Three Times
Things got off to a good start for the Minutemen in 2018. They beat FCS school Duquesne in their opener, and it’s been all downhill since then. First they lost 55-21 to Boston College. Then they lost 34-13 to Georgia Southern. Then last week was the aforementioned debacle against FIU.
Their defense has struggled mightily, in particular their run defense, something that plays right into Charlotte’s hand. In addition to giving up 5.9 YPC to FIU, they gave up 5.7 YPC to GSU, and 4.5 YPC to BC. If UMass is going to have any shot at covering the spread here, they’ll need to shut down the run, something they haven’t been able to do yet. UMass are big favorites in this game, likely because they’re at home and because of Charlotte’s record last season. But Charlotte has shown significant improvement, and this game definitely isn’t a gimme.
UMass has played three different quarterbacks significant snaps this year and their offense has been extremely inconsistent. It’s unclear at this point who will start against Charlotte, but Michael Curtis seems like the best bet to start. He was spotty against FIU, making a couple good plays but also tossing two interceptions.
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 vs. CUSA
- Minutemen are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
- 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The 49ers are being disrespected here because they went 1-11 last year. This year’s team is clearly much improved, and I think they have a good chance to win outright here. UMass’ defense hasn’t shown anything to suggest they can get enough stops to win games by double digits, and their offense is in disarray. Take the points with Charlotte here.
Prediction: Charlotte +9.5
Full-Game Total Pick
At this point, the Minutemen don’t know who their starting quarterback is going to be and it could be any one of three players. The 49ers like to run the ball and will seek to control the game on the ground. It could turn into a sleepy game with minimal points, and 61 is a lot to ask from these two teams.
Prediction: Under 61
Half-Time Side Pick
Ignore the fact that the 49ers were abysmal last year, and the matchup is actually pretty solid here. If Charlotte is going to come away victorious, they’ll need to start strong, so betting them in the first half makes some sense. The game should be close at the break, and 4.5 points is solid value.
Prediction: Charlotte +4.5
Half-Time Total Bet
Asking these two teams to score more than four touchdowns total before the half is a lot. Expect both teams to try to feel each other out by taking things slowly at first. Things could pick up a bit in the second half, but the first half should be a relatively slow-paced affair. There won’t be a ton of points, and the first half under is my favorite thing about this game.
Prediction: Under 29.5