College Football Picks: Mid-Major Game Day Predictions Week 3
by Dave Schwab - 9/14/2011
The betting public is often so infatuated with the marquee matchups on the college football schedule they often overlook the tremendous value that can be found in some of the games that may be ‘under the radar’ week after week.
Each week we search for these ‘diamonds in the rough’ and after a rocky 1-2 start in Week 1, all three of our football picks last week were right on the money. Here are a few more ‘best bets’ for this week that you can take to the bank.
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Central Michigan Chippewas at Western Michigan Broncos (-8.5)
Central Michigan opened its season with a 21-6 victory over South Carolina State as a 20-point home favorite, but comes into this MAC West rivalry reeling from a 27-13 loss to Kentucky as a 10-point home underdog in a game it controlled into the third quarter.
Western Michigan is also 1-1 after falling to Michigan, 34-10, as a 14.5-point road underdog in its opener, followed by 38-7 pounding of D-IAA Nicholls State as a 27-point home favorite. Running back Tevin Drake leads a Broncos rushing attack that is averaging 154.4 yards a game.
The Chippewas have owned this series over the course of the past five years with a perfect 5-0 record straight-up and a 4-0-1 record against the college football point spread. Last season they hammered out a four-point win at home as a three-point favorite, but the average margin of victory in the other four games has been 12 points.
The Pick: Central Michigan 24, Western Michigan 20
Central Florida Knights (-5) at Florida International Golden Panthers
Central Florida came into this season as the third-favorite at 4/1 to win the Conference-USA. So far it is right on track with two nonconference victories, including an impressive 30-3 beatdown of Boston College as a 7.5-point home favorite. The Knights have racked up 551 yards on the ground in their first two games.
Florida International opened as the 3/1 favorite to win the Sun Belt, and so far it has lived up to the lofty expectations as well. It knocked off North Texas, 41-16, in a conference opener as a 13.5-point home favorite and added a victory over a major program to its early resume with a 24-17 upset of Louisville last Friday night as a four-point road underdog.
These two teams have not played one another in recent memory, but many of the players on both sides are already calling this game a backyard brawl between two Florida schools that are trying to gain recognition along with the other major programs in the state. This should result in a hard-fought battle that remains close until the final gun.
The Pick: Central Florida 21, Florida International 17
Nevada Wolf Pack (-6.5) at San Jose State Spartans
Nevada waited a week to start its final season in the WAC only to open with a 69-20 pasting at the hands of Oregon as a 26.5-point road underdog. As a 2/1 favorite to win the conference this season, the Wolf Pack will be looking to regroup in their conference opener after falling flat against the Ducks.
San Jose got off to a dreadful start against another PAC-12 power with a 57-3 loss to Stanford as a 30-point road underdog. The Spartans played better against UCLA last week, but still lost, 27-17, as a 20.5-point road underdog. So far their offense has struggled to move the ball with an average of just 277 total yards a game.
The Wolf Pack have won eight of the last nine games between the two straight up and are 7-2 ATS. San Jose has won just three times overall in its last 27 games dating back to the start of the 2009 season, and with quarterback Matt Faulkner still questionable with the lingering effects of a concussion, loss number 25 seems imminent.
The Pick: Nevada 33, San Jose State 13
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