Weekly Mid-Major Betting Report NCAA Football Picks: Akron Zips Week 1
by Aaron Smith - 8/28/2014
The weekly mid-major betting report is back! For the past three years, Doc's Sports has been offering this weekly mid-major report. What's the goal of this weekly article? The goal here is to try to show bettors that specialization is a profitable betting strategy. It's a strategy many of the best bettors in the world use in many different sports. Since there are so many teams in college football, specialization is particularly relevant in this sport.
Over the first two seasons of doing this weekly mid-major report, I went 13-7-1 with my selections and $100 per-unit bettors were up $1,410. In last year's report, I went only 5-8 on the selections, but because my largest plays were winners, I did pull a profit of $180 on our $100-per-unit betting scale. On the whole, through three years the record for the mid-major betting report selections is 18-12, and the overall profit is $1,590.
Last season we followed the UNLV Rebels, but this year we will turn our attention to the Akron Zips out of the Mid-American Conference. Akron went 1-11 in three consecutive seasons before jumping to 5-7 last year. They have a big-name head coach in Terry Bowden, and the Zips appear to finally be on the right track.
All season long I'll be following the Zips in every way possible. I'll be listening to press conferences, following the team on Twitter, and reading reports from beat writers to try to find extra nuggets of information that could help me become an expert on this team. At the end of each mid-major report I'll be making a selection on that game. Doc's Sports Unit Betting System will be used for every pick. This will allow readers to follow along and track the results closely.
We'll start the season off by taking a look at Akron on both sides of the ball and giving a brief preview of their Week 1 game against Howard.
2014 Akron Zips Offense
The strength of the Akron offense is their passing game. Kyle Pohl gives Akron one of the better quarterbacks in the MAC. Pohl's mobility was limited by an early injury last year, and the team is confident that he can improve on last season's numbers as long as he stays healthy. Pohl has a big arm, and he's able to make all the throws. A major help to Pohl is the fact that Akron is loaded with skilled wide receivers. Keith Sconiers was injured in Week 1 last year and missed the rest of the season. Sconiers is healthy again, and he'll be the leader of this group in 2014. Zach D'Orazio, LT Smith, and Fransohn Bickley return as the top three receivers from last year's squad.
It's also important to note that Akron has Jawon Chisholm in the backfield, and he's a great pass catcher from the tailback spot as well. Chisholm has finished just shy of 1,000 yards rushing in each of the past three seasons. He's back for his senior season, and I think he has a good chance of topping that 1,000-yard mark this season. The biggest question mark for Akron's offense is the offensive line. The Zips haven't run for any more than 3.8 yards per carry since 2008. If the offensive line improves, this offense has a lot of potential.
2014 Akron Zips Defense
The Zips have a great nucleus of guys at the linebacker spots. Jatavius Brown is the star of the group, but CJ Mizell and Justin March came on strong late last season as well. Every player that will see the field on a consistent basis for Akron in this linebackers unit has tons of experience, and that should be a great anchor to build around. Last year's defensive line helped Akron to their best run defense numbers in many years. The Zips lost a lot of talent from last year's defensive front, but they have to be excited about Se'Von Pittman starting at defensive tackle this season. Pittman transferred to Akron from Ohio State, and he should be able to dominate in the MAC.
The weakness of this defense is the secondary. Since 2007, Akron has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete at least 61 percent of their passes in every single season. Only one starter from last year is back, and this group is going to be tested again this season. While there are several seniors and juniors starting here, if they don't perform well I expect Bowden to turn to some youngsters. Akron has recruited pretty well the past couple years, and the secondary has been an area this team has focused on in recruiting.
Week 1: Howard vs. Akron
Since Howard isn't an FBS school, the line for this game isn't available at most books, and I won't be making a selection on this game. Howard went 6-6 last year and 4-4 in the MEAC. Howard's star is quarterback Greg McGhee. He's a dual-threat quarterback who is starting for the fourth straight year for the Bison. McGhee was named the MEAC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Akron's biggest advantage in this game should be in the trenches. While they won't be able to push teams around in the MAC nearly as often, a team like Howard is overmatched in the trenches, and Akron should be able to run the football. I expect to see Chisholm get a lot of carries in this one. Keep an eye on the Akron secondary since they are the group that is the biggest question mark on either side of the ball for the Zips. McGhee will test them, and how they fare against him could help tell us how they will do in the future against even better passing teams.
Keep an eye out for next week's mid-major weekly betting report which will preview Akron's game at Happy Valley against the Penn State Nittany Lions.
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