College Football Picks: Mid-Major Game Day Predictions Week 5
by Dave Schwab - 9/28/2011
After four weeks of action in this year’s college football season, there are only two schools from the mid-major conferences in the AP’s top 25; Boise State at No.4 and TCU at No.20. This lack of notoriety sometimes causes the betting public to forget about the hidden value that exists in some of the matchups between all the other quality teams from these conferences.
Each week, we dig deep into the college football odds in these ‘under the radar’ contests in an effort to bring this value to the surface. Year to date, we have mined more than five of these gems that were right on the money, so here are a few more ‘best bets’ for this week that you can take to the bank.
Toledo Rockets at Temple Owls (-7)
Toledo kicks-off its MAC schedule after going 1-3 straight-up (2-2 against the spread) in the nonconference portion of its schedule. The Rockets gave Ohio State all it could handle in a 27-22 loss as 17.5-point road underdogs and took Syracuse to overtime before falling, 33-30, as two-point road dogs.
Temple was equally ambitious in its nonconference matchups, throwing a scare into Penn State in a 14-7 loss as a seven-point home underdog and running all over the ACC’s Maryland Terrapins, 38-7, as an eight-point road underdog. The Owls are 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS.
The Rockets are just 1-4-1 ATS in their last six games as underdogs; while the Owls are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games as favorites. These two last met in 2009 with Temple cruising to a 40-24 victory as a one-point road underdog.
The Pick: Temple 28, Toledo 17
Akron Zips at Eastern Michigan Eagles (-8.5)
Staying in the MAC, Akron comes into this game at 1-3 both SU and ATS after lopsided losses to Ohio State and Temple by a combined score of 83-3. The Zips are ranked near the bottom of Division-IA in both points per game (13.3) and average points allowed (38.8).
Eastern Michigan opens conference play at 2-2 SU overall (3-1 ATS). The Eagles notched victories over a couple of D-IAA schools before losing to Michigan, 31-3, and Penn State, 34-6, as 28.5-point road underdogs in both games.
The big difference between these two teams is Eastern Michigan’s ability to run the ball. It is averaging 234.3 rushing yards per game, which is ranked 18th in the nation. The Eagles have also struggled to put points on the board, but their defense is giving up just 20.3 points a game. Also, Eastern Michigan is 7-1 ATS in the last eight meetings.
The Pick: Eastern Michigan 23, Akron 13
North Texas Mean Green at Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-23)
North Texas gave up a combined 130 points in its first three games, but tightened things up last week with a 24-21 win over Indiana as a 5.5-point home underdog. The Mean Green is now 1-3 SU and 2-2 against the spread.
Tulsa has played one of the most brutal nonconference schedules in the country with games against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Boise State. Its lone victory of the season was a 31-3 rout over Tulane as a 12-point road favorite.
The Golden Hurricane will win this game, but by how many points becomes the big question. Quarterback G.J. Kinne is out indefinitely with a knee injury, so freshman Kalen Henderson is expected to get the start. In limited action, he has completed just 32 percent of his throws and has been intercepted three times. Expect a heavy dose of a Tulsa running game that is averaging 203.8 yards a game, but that should allow North Texas to keep this game closer than expected.
The Pick: Tulsa 34, North Texas 13
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