College Football Picks: Mid-Major Game Day Predictions Week 7
by Dave Schwab - 10/9/2012
The college football season has reached its midpoint. While the battle for this year’s BSC title game is starting to take shape with major conference showdowns on each week’s slate, I prefer to turn my attention to the “under-the-radar” opportunities that can often be found in teams that reside in the mid-majors. These “diamonds in the rough” do not attract much attention from the betting public, so the value in the lines is there if you know where and how to look.
All my hard work finally paid off with a perfect 3-0 record in Week 6 that raised my overall mark on the season to 9-8-1. After digging into this week’s pile of potential gems, I came up with the following three top plays using the lines provided by 5Dimes.
UAB Blazers vs. Houston Cougars (-14.5)
UAB snapped an 0-4 start the season with a dominating 52-3 victory over Division IAA Southeastern Louisiana last Saturday as a 19.5-point home favorite. It was the first game that the Blazers were favored in this season and the first where they did not give up at least 29 points. They are now 3-2 against the spread this season.
Houston has been a mere shell of last season’s powerhouse but is starting to find its way after a 0-3 start. The Cougars have won their last two games to improve to 2-3 both SU and ATS. David Piland is no Case Keenum, but the sophomore quarterback has still thrown for 1,722 yards and nine touchdowns that have Houston ranked sixth in the nation in passing yards per game.
The Blazers are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings between these Conference-USA rivals. The favorite in this series is a perfect 6-0 ATS in the last six games, including last season’s 56-13 romp by the Cougars as 27.5-point road favorites. This contest will remain much closer this time around, but Houston’s offense is still no match for UAB, which will be evident in the final score.
Take #158 Houston (-14.5) over UAB (Saturday, Oct.13, noon)
Akron Zips vs. Ohio Bobcats (-20.5)
It has been a brutal start for the Zips this year. Their 66-6 romp of D IAA Morgan State in Week 2 as 12.5-point home favorites is the only tally in the win column this season against five losses. Akron has already lost its first two games in the Mid-American Conference by a combined score of 80-59 and is ranked 116th in the country in points allowed.
Ohio is close to breaking into the AP’s Top 25 with a perfect 6-0 SU (3-3 ATS) start that includes a stunning upset of Penn State on opening weekend. The Bobcats could be the most complete team in the MAC this season with an offense that is averaging 449.3 yards and 36.8 points a game to complement a defense that is holding opponents to an average of 22.8 points a game. Beau Blankenship has already rushed for 843 yards to lead Ohio’s bruising ground game and should be able to rack up quite a few yards this Saturday afternoon.
The Bobcats have won the last four meetings SU and ATS; covering double-digit spreads the last two years. The home team in this series is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings and the Zips are 1-4 ATS in their last five trips to Peden Stadium. Make it five straight this season as Ohio rolls in this one.
Take #122 Ohio (-20.5) over Akron (Saturday, Oct.13, 2 p.m.)
Memphis Tigers vs. East Carolina Pirates (-17.5)
The Tigers carved-out their first win of the season in last Saturday’s 14-10 victory over Rice as five-point underdogs at home. They are now 1-4 SU and 2-3 ATS. Memphis has never seemed to recover from an opening-weekend 20-17 loss to D IAA Tennessee-Martin as a 9.5-point favorite at home. Its offense is managing just 20.6 points a game while its defense is giving up an average of almost 30 points a game.
East Carolina began play in Conference-USA this season with 24-14 victory over Southern Miss as a seven-point road underdog. It has split its last two conference games, including a 40-20 loss to Central Florida last week as an 11.5-point road dog. The Pirates’ defense has not given up more than 18 points in their three wins this season and should be able to hold the Tigers in check in this game as well.
Memphis has lost the last six meetings SU and is 0-10 ATS in this series dating back to 2001. In fact, the Tigers have covered just once in the last 14 meetings between the two. Despite last week’s loss to the Knights, East Carolina still has some serious designs on winning the C-USA East Division, but it knows that it cannot afford anymore conference losses along the way.
Take #142 East Carolina (-17.5) over Memphis (Saturday, Oct.13, 4:30 p.m.)
YTD Record: 9-8-1
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