College Football Picks: Mid-Major Game Day Predictions Week 8
by Dave Schwab - 10/17/2011
The first BCS rankings were released this past Sunday and while LSU, Alabama, and Oklahoma dominate all the talk at the top of the list, the mid-major conferences have two representatives with Boise State at No.5 and Houston at No. 19. When it comes to college football handicapping matchups in the mid-major conferences, there is always value to be found, as these games tend to be less influenced by the betting public than the heavily publicized contests in the major conferences.
Each week, we crunch the numbers in these ‘under the radar’ matchups in an effort to find the value that exists in the college football point spreads. Last week, we cashed in on Bowling Green covering by a point in a 28-21 loss to Toledo. We have already been back at work to uncover a few more solid plays for this week’s games.
Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Ball State Cardinals (-1.5)
It has been a rocky road for the Chippewas this season with just two wins against five losses straight-up and a 1-6 record against the spread. They come into this game licking their wounds after a 35-28 loss to Eastern Michigan as 11-point home favorites this past Saturday and now they have to go on the road where they are 0-4 both SU or ATS.
The Cardinals are 4-3 SU (3-4 ATS) this season and 2-1 SU in the MAC-West. They are coming off a huge 23-20 conference win over Ohio as 14.5-point road underdogs to keep their hope for a division title very much alive. A win this Saturday becomes crucial with games against Western Michigan and Toledo still on the Ball State football schedule.
Central Michigan has lost two out of the last three meetings both SU and ATS. Last season, it was hammered by Ball State, 31-17, as a 19.5-point home favorite and will struggle to keep things close this time around as a road underdog.
The Pick: Ball State 28, Central Michigan 20
Northern Illinois Huskies (-14) vs. Buffalo Bulls
The Huskies moved to 2-1 SU in the MAC-West with a 51-22 romp over Western Michigan as a 1.5-point home favorite. They are now 4-3 SU overall and 3-4 ATS. This team’s claim to fame this season has been a rushing offense that is averaging 253.7 yards a game, which is the ninth-best average in the country.
The Bulls are coming off a 34-0 beatdown at the hands of Temple as 21.5-point road underdogs. It was their fourth loss in their last five games to drop them to 2-5 SU (4-3 ATS) on the year. Buffalo is only managing to put up an average of 18.1 points a game, while giving up an average of 28.4 points a game.
Northern Illinois is 9-2-1 ATS in its last 12 conference games, while Buffalo is 2-8 ATS in its last 10 conference games. Last season the Huskies rolled to a 45-14 victory over the Bulls as 14-point home favorites in the first meeting between the two since 2006.
The Pick: Northern Illinois 33, Buffalo Bulls 13
SMU Mustangs vs. Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles (-3)
The Mustangs opened the season with a 46-14 loss to Texas A&M as 15-point road underdogs, but they have reeled-off five straight wins SU and four straight ATS. They are currently 3-0 SU in the C-USA East Division. SMU is ranked 10th in the nation in passing behind the arm of J.J. McDermott and averaging 33.7 points a game.
The Golden Eagles are also 5-1 SU (4-2 ATS), but they are in desperate need of a win in this game to keep pace in the C-USA West Division at 1-1. An early season 26-20 loss to Marshall as 7.5-point road favorites is starting to loom large in the division title race. Southern Miss is averaging 38.7 points a game while giving-up an average of 22.
These two last met in 2008 with the Golden Eagles coming away with a 28-12 victory as 14.5-point road favorites. SMU is 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games as an underdog and comes through in this one with a straight-up win.
The Pick: SMU 37, Southern Mississippi 35
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