Fading Charlotte’s abysmal defense

Will Healy's Charlotte squad is ranked dead last among 131 FBS teams in total defense.

If we’ve learned anything early in the 2022 college football season, it’s that Charlotte’s defense is downright atrocious. Using that logic, we went with Maryland’s Team Total ‘over’ 24.5 points in the first half and ‘over’ 46.5 for last week’s game at Charlotte.

The Terrapins went ahead 28-14 with 12:55 remaining in the second quarter to cash the 1H wager. They went North of their 46.5-point tally on a 49-yard touchdown run for a 49-14 lead with 3:28 left in the third quarter.

Before getting pummeled by Maryland, Charlotte lost 41-24 at home to William & Mary. In the 49ers’ opener at Florida Atlantic, they lost 43-13. Wait, it gets worse.

In its regular-season finale last season, Charlotte ate a 56-burger from ODU. In the two previous games, the 49ers allowed 49 and 42 points vs. Marshall and at La. Tech, respectively.

Out of 131 FBS teams, Charlotte is ranked dead last nationally in total defense, surrendering 553.3 yards per game. The 49ers are No. 122 versus the pass (314.7 YPG) and No. 125 against the run (238.7 YPG). Finally, they are No. 126 in scoring defense, giving up an average of 46.7 points per game.

This unit is being led by new defensive coordinator Greg Brown, who hasn’t called defensive plays in a decade since he held the same gig at Colorado St. We aren’t implying it’s all on Brown by any means, but it’s certainly fair to suggest he’s a bit rusty calling defensive schemes on a play-by-play basis.

Will Healy’s team plays at Georgia St. on Saturday. The Panthers are starving for a win after losing at South Carolina (35-14) and vs. North Carolina (35-28).

They held a 14-12 lead over the Gamecocks with 7:30 left in the third quarter, but Shane Beamer’s team blocked two punts and returned them for TDs to create a misleading final score. Then last week in Atlanta, Shawn Elliott’s squad had a 28-21 advantage on UNC with 1:00 remaining in the third quarter.

Despite facing two quality Power-Five opponents, Ga. St. still produced 217.5 rushing yards per game. The Panthers also averaged 4.6 yards per carry. QB Darren Grainger had three TD passes without an interception against the Tar Heels. The senior signal caller had a 19/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season, in addition to rushing for 660 yards and three TDs with a 5.0 yards YPC average.

Like we did last week with Maryland, we’re backing Ga. St.’s Team Total to go ‘over’ 20.5 points (-130 price at DraftKings) in the first half and ‘over’ 40.5 points (-115 at DraftKings) for the game.

We’re on those two plays regardless. However, there are still some other betting options that are attractive for this game, but they all depend on the status of Charlotte star QB Chris Reynolds, who left the opener at FAU with an injury and has missed the last two games since then.

Reynolds was a third-team All-C-USA selection in 2021 when he threw for 2,684 yards with a 26/9 TD-INT ratio. He also ran for four TDs. Reynolds is the program’s all-time leader in career passing yards.

In an appearance Thursday on ESPN Charlotte, Healy said he’s “much more optimistic” about Reynolds’ chances of playing at Ga. St. compared to last week’s home game vs. Maryland. “We should know after practice [Friday].”

If Reynolds gets upgraded and does start, then I think the 49ers will score points. Therefore, I’ll have a small play on the ‘over’ (61 at the Westgate SuperBook). If Reynolds is downgraded to ‘out,’ then we’ll consider going another route and NOT play ‘over’ 61 for the game.

Instead, we’ll look to perhaps play Ga. St. in the first quarter (currently -7 at a +110 price at DraftKings), Ga. St. in the 1H (-11.5 at Caesars) and/or the Panthers at -20.5 for the game.

But to be clear, my larger plays (amount-wise) are on Ga. St.’s two team totals to go ‘over’ (1H and game). Also, if Reynolds is downgraded to ‘out,’ the lines I just referenced could move against us and in that scenario, I would probably leave those additional side plays on Ga. St. alone.

I certainly wouldn’t lay more than seven on the Panthers in the first quarter. Likewise, I wouldn’t lay more than 14 points on a 1H wager or more than 21 for the game.

For more of my Week 3 opinions, you can check out the Bet CFB podcast here. Also, follow me on Twitter as I often tweet out in-game bets that I’m making throughout the games on both Saturday and Sunday.

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