The betting public definitely loves the marquee matchups any given week when it comes to betting on college football, but I like sifting through the rocks in search of a few “diamonds in the rough” by wagering on a couple of games from the mid-major conferences. These “under the radar” matchups are often easier to handicap and a great way to supplement your overall betting strategy with a few low-unit plays.
I pulled out a 2-1 record on last week’s picks to even my slate to 3-3 on the year. After sifting through this week’s pile, here are my three college football picks for Week 3 with lines provided by 5Dimes.
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Saturday, Sept. 15
East Carolina Pirates vs. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (-7.5)
East Carolina kicks off play in Conference-USA this week after splitting a pair of nonconference games. The Pirates rolled over Division I-AA Appalachian State to cover as a 14.5-point home favorite, but were thumped by South Carolina as a 21-point road favorite. The Pirates have no running game to speak of, but quarterback Rio Johnson has thrown for 435 yards and two touchdowns so far.
Southern Miss was picked as one of the favorites to win C-USA this season and in its only game so far, it failed to cover as a 20.5-point underdog on the road in a 49-20 loss to Nebraska. The only real highlight of that game was running back Anthony Alford’s 84 yards on the ground as part of a 185-yard team rushing effort against the Cornhuskers.
These two teams have evenly split the last six meetings straight up, but Southern Miss has covered against the spread in eight of the last 10 meetings dating back to the 2002 season. Coming into this game, the Golden Eagles are clearly the better all-around team and should have little problem covering the 7.5 points at home.
The Pick: Take #128 Southern Miss (-7.5) over East Carolina (Saturday, Sept. 15 3:30 p.m. EST)
Ohio Bobcats (-6.5) vs. Marshall Thundering Herd
Ohio moved to the center of attention in Week 1 with a stunning win over Penn State as a 5.5-point road underdog. It moved to 2-0 SU and ATS with a 51-24 romp over New Mexico State as a 21.5-point home favorite. The Bobcats feature a balanced attack on offense that has averaged 307.5 yards a game through the air and 234 yards on the ground.
Marshall split its first two games this year with a lopsided loss to West Virginia on opening weekend as a 26.5-point road underdog followed by a rout of Western Carolina as a 30-point home favorite last week. The one constant has been quarterback Rakeem Cato, who has already thrown for 790 yards and five touchdowns.
This will be the fourth straight season these two have met with Marshall winning the first two SU and Ohio winning last season, 44-7, as a 5.5-point home favorite. The gap has continued to widen between the two programs with the obvious edge going to the Bobcats. This will be painfully evident to the hometown crowd come Saturday night in another Ohio rout.
The Pick: Take #155 Ohio (-6.5) over Marshall (Saturday, Sept.15 6:30 p.m. EST)
New Mexico State Aggies vs. Texas-El Paso Miners (-12)
New Mexico State will look to bounce back from last week’s lopsided loss to Ohio behind a passing game that has averaged over 250 yards a game. Aggies’ quarterback Andrew Manley has completed only 56.5 percent of his passes but has still thrown for 499 yards and four touchdowns, while only getting picked off once.
The Miners have lost their first two games by a combined score of 52-17 in matchups against Oklahoma and Mississippi, so they are certainly battle-tested heading into Week 3. The problem is that their offense could be without its leading rusher Nathan Jeffery, and quarterback Blaire Sullivan remains out of the lineup while nursing an ankle injury.
These two have met every year for the last eight seasons with UTEP winning six of the eight games SU and going 5-3 ATS. For the most, the games have remained fairly close in the past, so this is an excellent chance to capitalize on what I see as an inflated spread.
The Pick: Take #173 New Mexico State (+12) over Texas-El Paso (Saturday, Sept. 15 8 p.m.)
YTD Record: 3-3 (-$30 for $100 bettors)
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