The college football season enters its ninth week. And while some of the top teams in the nation continue to jockey for position in the BCS rankings, I am much more interested in the mid-major teams that are fighting to get to six wins just to go to a bowl game. The matchups at this level usually do not attract that much attention from the betting public, but they offer a ton of value in the betting lines if you know where and how to look.
My hot streak continued last week to raise my record to 7-2 over my last nine top plays. This has helped to reverse a slow start and improve my overall record to a more respectable 13-10-1 for the season. Digging through this week’s “diamonds in the rough” in search of a few potential gems, I came up with the following three college football picks in the mid-majors using lines provided by 5Dimes.
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No.24 Ohio Bobcats (-7) vs. Miami (OH) RedHawks
Ohio’s 7-0 straight up start has it in the BCS rankings at No.24 and at the top of the standings in the Mid-American’s East Division, but it has not been that profitable to wager on at 3-4 against the spread. The key to this week’s matchup is a punishing Bobcats’ rushing attack that is averaging 217.3 yards a game. Beau Blankenship has done most of the damage with 951 yards rushing and six touchdown runs.
Miami is 3-4 overall and even worse ATS at just 1-6. Since scoring 56 points against Akron in Week 5, its offense has stalled with just 26 total points in its last two games. The RedHawks are now ranked 93rd in the nation in scoring with an average of 23 points a game while giving up an average of 37.6 points a game on defense.
The Bobcats bring a six-game winning streak over Miami into Saturday’s matchup, and they are 5-1 ATS over the same stretch of games. Another trend in their favor is the fact that the road team in this series is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings. Ohio needs a win to keep pace with Kent State in the division, and it will run through the RedHawks to get one.
Take #115 Ohio (-7) over Miami (Saturday, Oct.27, 3:30 p.m.)
UAB Blazers (-3) vs. Tulane Green Wave
UAB is off to a dreadful 1-6 SU start overall and is 0-3 in Conference-USA play, but it has covered in three of its last five games. Part of the Blazers problem has been a brutal nonconference schedule and games against some of the top teams in the conference. They are due for a break-out game against an opponent they outclass on both sides of the ball, especially with quarterback Austin Brown leading a passing game that is ranked 13th in the nation.
Tulane has produced the same 1-6 SU start in its first seven games this year and is 4-3 ATS. The problem with the Green Wave is that they are just flat-out bad across the board. Their offense is averaging just 13.1 points a game while defense is giving up an average of 37.4 points a game.
The Blazers were hammered by Tulane 49-10 last season as 12-point home favorites, so the revenge factor looms large in this year’s contest. UAB is actually 2-1 both SU and ATS in the last three meetings. The overall record of these two teams may be the same, but the differences between them are night and day.
Take #199 UAB (-3) over Tulane (Saturday, Oct.27, 3:30 p.m.)
Central Florida Knights (-2.5) vs. Marshall Thundering Herd
UCF was playing for pride this season after a NCAA sanction made it ineligible for postseason play, but that was recently lifted pending an appeal. This means the Knights are back in the Conference-USA title hunt at 5-2 SU (4-3 ATS) overall and 3-0 in conference play. They already rolled over East Carolina 40-20 as 11.5-point home favorites, and a win over the Thundering Herd would almost assure them a spot in the conference title game.
Marshall comes into this matchup at 3-4 SU (3-3-1 ATS) and 2-1 in conference play. Behind quarterback Rakeem Cato, the Thundering Herd has one of the most potent passing attacks in the country and an offense that is putting up 43.1 points a game. The problem is a defense that is ranked 120th in points allowed, giving up an average of 41.6 points a game.
Central Florida has won the last seven meetings SU and is 5-2 ATS. Last season, it beat the Herd 16-6 as a 19.5-point home favorite, but this followed a 35-14 victory the season before as a 6.5-point favorite on the road. Playing away from home could actually been in the Knights’ favor as the road team in this matchup is 4-0 ATS in the last for games.
Take #187 Central Florida (-2.5) over Marshall (Saturday, Oct.27, 8 p.m.)
Year-to-date record: 13-10-1
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