As most of the Division IA teams wrap-up their regular season over the next two weeks, it provides a few more opportunities to capitalize on the tremendous value that can be found in the college football point spreads if you know where to look. This is especially true when it comes to games between teams in the mid-majors. Some of these ‘under-the-radar’ matchups literally jump off the page when properly handicapped.
Last week we remained ahead of the curve on our top three mid-major college football picks with Temple and Fresno State easily covering against the spread. With the big Thanksgiving holiday weekend coming up we got an early start this week’s games to uncover a few more solid picks.
Friday, November 25
Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (-19.5)
The Eagles are out of the running for the MAC-East Division title, but they do get a shot at knocking off the lead dog this Friday afternoon. It has been a decent outing this year for Eastern Michigan with an overall record of 6-5 both straight-up and against the spread. The Eagles have been one of the best rushing teams in the nation with an average of 226.1 yards a game.
The Huskies have already locked up the MAC-West, but they will look to run their current winning streak to seven games after a disappointing 2-3 start. They come at 8-3 SU overall, but just 5-6 ATS. Northern Illinois was a double-digit favorite five times this season, but only managed to cover the spread in three of the games.
The road team in this series is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings and the Eagles are 4-1 ATS in their last five trips to Northern Illinois.
Prediction: Northern Illinois 27, Eastern Michigan 17
No. 8 Houston Cougars (-3) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
Houston is not only one of two undefeated teams in D-IA at 11-0 SU, it has been one of the biggest money-makers in college football at 9-2 ATS. Behind Heisman Trophy hopeful Case Keenum, the Cougars come into this game with the No.1-ranked passing offense in the country with an average of 447.5 yards a game. They also lead the nation in scoring with a ridiculous 53.1 points a game.
Tulsa can actually clinch the Conference-USA West Division with a win against Houston as both teams are a perfect 7-0 in conference play. The Golden Hurricane are 8-3 SU overall and 7-4 ATS. They are averaging 35.7 points a game, so a side bet on the ‘over’ could be in order even if the current total line is 75.
The Cougars are 6-0 ATS in their last six conference games and Tulsa is 12-2 ATS in their last 14 conference games. Past trends in this series tend to favor the Golden Hurricane, but stick with Houston’s virtually unstoppable offense to blow this game wide-open down the stretch to easily cover the three points.
Prediction: Houston 48, Tulsa 34
Saturday, November 26
Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Utah State Aggies (-1.5)
The Wolf Pack are 6-4 SU (4-6 ATS) overall this season. They are coming off a heart-breaking 24-20 defeat to Louisiana Tech last Saturday as seven-point home favorites. This loss basically cost them the WAC title, leaving little left to play for in this game other than pride.
Utah State, on the other hand, is 5-5 both SU and ATS and playing for an invitation to a bowl game with a sixth win. The Aggies have won three straight to get to this point after a dismal 2-5 start, so the motivation runs high to salvage their season at the Wolf Pack’s expense.
Nevada is 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings overall and 0-4 ATS in its last four trips to Utah State. The home team in this series is 6-1 ATS in the last seven games.
Prediction: Utah State 33, Nevada 28
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