Liberty Flames (0-0) at Baylor Bears (0-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 2, 2017, 7:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Baylor Bears -30 -- Over/Under: 58
The Liberty Flames and Baylor Bears meet Saturday in college football action at McLane Stadium.
The Liberty Flames would love nothing more than to pull off an upset to set the tone early after winning six games last season under coach Turner Gill. Liberty returns its quarterback in Stephen Calvert, who had 15 touchdown passes and a 57 percent completion percentage. B.J. Farrow is expected to takeover as the main wide receiver, while Carrington Mosley Todd Macon return as a 1-2 punch at running back after combining for more than 1,300 rushing yards. Liberty averaged 27.5 points per game last season and should be able to duplicate those numbers with the returning talent. Defensively, Juwan Wells returns after leading the Flames with 79 tackles, Chris Turner had three interceptions and Solomon McGinty had five pass deflections. The Liberty Flames have lost six of their last eight road games.
The Baylor Bears hope to put off-the-field issues behind them and start a positive era under new coach Matt Rhule, who finished 28-23 in four seasons with Temple. Zach Smith takes over as full time starting quarterback after throwing 13 touchdowns with 196 pass attempts in replacement for the injured Seth Russell. He’ll have a lot of help around him with 1,000-yard rusher Terence Williams, playmaker JaMycal Hasty and wide receiver Chris Platt, who averaged 16 yards per catch last season. The Baylor Bears are always poised to be an explosive offensive team and this season should be no different with the returning talent. Defensively, Taylor Young after producing 93 tackles last season, K.J. Smith had seven sacks and Verkedric Vaughns had seven pass deflections. Baylor was sixth in the Big 12 last season, allowing 29 points per game. The Baylor Bears have split their last eight home games.
The Bears are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games on grass and the under is 4-0 in Bears last 4 games in September. The Flames are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 non-conference games, 11-1 ATS in their last 12 road games and 11-1 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
If you know anything about the Baylor Bears, it's that they score points and don't take their foot off the pedal for anyone. So, the over seems like the smart play in this contest. Smith showed he's more than capable of leading the charge in his previous reps, and there's enough talent around him to keep this one of the higher scoring teams in the country yet again. This is a pretty small number considering we've seen the Baylor Bears drop 60 points by themselves at times. Expect usual fireworks.