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2018

UCONN Huskies

College Football

Betting Preview

Things went as expected in Randy Edsall’s return to Connecticut last season going 3-9 overall. Edsall is in year two of a rebuild and the team appears one year away from a legitimate chance at a bowl. The Huskies maybe have more talent offensively, but this group still has a long way to go with an over/under of three wins (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) meaning little to no improvement is expected, also with +30000 odds to win the AAC, tied with ECU. 

The Huskies return David Pindell under center, who finished last year with three-straight 200-yard passing performances to go with close to 250 rushing yards. His mobility could work well in new coordinator John Dunn’s offense, which is expected to be a little more up-tempo. Returning experience at tackle will help, but the other positions aren’t defined on the line. Even with Dunn, this offense will probably focus on the ground game again between Kevin Mensah (561 yards) and Nate Hopkins (343 yards), although if the team rushes for 3.6 yards per carry again, that may not be the best strategy. Pindell only completed 52.8% of his passes last year, but he at least returns top wide outs Hergy Mayala (615 yards, 7 TDs), Keyion Dixon and Tyraiq Beals. Dunn comes over from a couple years with the Chicago Bears and should give the offense a little jolt, yet that jolt will only make them mediocre after averaging 23.6 points per game.

Even through struggles the past few years, UConn often had a decent defense, but that wasn't the case in 2017 as it allowed 38 points and a ridiculous 333 passing yards per game. It’s logical to expect improvement, but with a lot of those pieces gone, it’s not a guarantee. The hope is that Miami transfer Ryan Fines can plug some holes at nose tackle and Kevin Murphy can take up a bigger spot next to him. Outside of senior Santana Sterling, a couple sophomores are expected to start at linebacker. The secondary has to improve on last year’s miserable numbers and has four sophomores expected to start with a couple of them returning starters. The defense probably won’t improve by a lot, but it’s hard to get worse from last year.

The Huskies likely won’t start the season on a good note with two difficult games before hosting Rhode Island. Their three wins could come from RIU, UMass and… someone. There are a few chances to pull off road upsets like at Tulsa and ECU, but also an early home game against Cincy could be a win. In a best-case scenario, UConn reaches five wins and misses out on a bowl after falling to Temple in the season finale. That’s possible, but it won’t be easy to bet the over. If the Huskies can turn a couple of the close games they had last year into wins, that would do it. But that means Pindell has do something positive in the new offense and the defense can’t get gashed by every mediocre offense. 

 

2018 Connecticut Huskies Football Schedule

Aug. 30 vs. UCF

Sept. 8 at Boise State

Sept. 15 vs. Rhode Island

Sept. 22 at Syracuse

Sept. 29 vs. Cincinnati

Oct. 6 at Memphis

Oct. 20 at South Florida

Oct. 27 vs. Massachusetts

Nov. 3 at Tulsa

Nov. 10 vs. SMU 

Nov. 17 at East Carolina

Nov. 24 vs. Temple

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