College Football Picks: Mid-Major Game Day Predictions Week 4
by Dave Schwab - 9/21/2011
As the college football season starts to heat up with marquee matchups in the major conferences, the betting public sometimes forgets to tap into the tremendous value that exists in some of the games in the mid-majors.
Each week we crunch the numbers in these ‘under the radar’ contests in an effort to mine this value out of the college football odds. Last week we were a bit off the mark with a 1-2 record after going a perfect 3-0 in Week 2. Here are a few more ‘best bets’ for this week that you can take to the bank.
UAB Blazers at East Carolina Pirates (-13.5)
The Blazers have yet to be competitive in their first two games and have been outscored, 89-10. The 39-0 loss to Florida as 24-point road underdogs was understandable, but the 49-10 loss to Tulane as 12-point home favorites as thrown up some serious red flags for this team.
The Pirates have also come up on the wrong end of their first two games, but they hung in there against No.12 South Carolina in a 56-37 loss as 21-point road underdogs and gave No.13 Virginia Tech all it could handle in a 17-10 setback as 17-point home underdogs.
East Carolina is 5-1 against the spread in the last six games against UAB and 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings at home. After two brutal nonconference games to start the season, the Pirates will be looking forward to starting their Conference-USA play on a winning note.
The Pick: East Carolina 33, UAB 13
Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Troy Trojans (-12.5)
The Blue Raiders came very close to knocking-off Purdue in their opener in a 27-24 setback as 14.5-point road underdogs, but they came out flat last week in a 49-21 loss to Georgia Tech as 13-point home underdogs. This team can put points on the board, but has a defense that is struggling to keep opponents from doing the same.
The Trojans open play in the Sun Belt Conference at 0-2 overall, but they have to feel pretty good about last week’s effort in a 38-28 loss to No.14 Arkansas as 23-point road underdogs. They come into this one with the 16th-ranked passing offense in the country behind quarterback Corey Robinson.
Troy has won the last five games against Middle Tennessee both SU and ATS. The favorite in this series is 7-2 ATS in the last nine meetings.
The Pick: Troy 42, Middle Tennessee 20
Fresno State Bulldogs (-3.5) at Idaho Vandals
The Bulldogs come into their WAC opener with a defense that is giving up an average of 33.3 points a game. They covered the 28-point spread in a 42-29 road loss to No. 9 Nebraska two weeks ago, but struggled to get by North Dakota 27-22 last week as 28-point home favorites.
The Vandals are coming off a 37-7 loss to No. 8 Texas A&M as 36-point road underdogs after pasting North Dakota 44-14 as 14-point home favorites the week before. With a couple of injuries in the Fresno State secondary, wide receiver Mike Scott could be in for a big day. He already has 22 receptions for 285 yards on the year.
The line on this game opened at six and has been sliding in the Vandals’ favor ever since. It’s doubtful that the betting public is causing the shift, so we are going to side with the sharps in this one.
The Pick: Idaho 28, Fresno State 24
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