It's time for another edition of the college football mid-major betting report. We're covering the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders this season. They are a team that looks to be on the rise inside Conference USA.
I'll be following everyone associated with the MTSU football program on Twitter. I'll also be reading the work of beat writers and following team press conferences. Any way I can, I'll be looking to find extra little nuggets of information. Essentially, I'll be looking to make myself an expert on this MTSU Blue Raiders team. The goal of this article is to show that specialization can be a profitable sports betting strategy.
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This is the sixth straight season I'm doing the mid-major report for Doc's Sports. How have the selections on the mid-major betting report done? Overall, the record is 32 wins and 24 losses with a gain of $1,460. We are coming off a really strong season following the Temple Owls. The selections on the Temple games last year went 11-4, and we gained $1,050 over the course of the season.
There will be a selection on each game at the end of the weekly article. We'll be using the Doc's Sports Unit Betting System for every pick, which will allow readers to follow along and track the results.
MTSU fell 47-24 to Vanderbilt on Saturday afternoon in a really disappointing loss for the Blue Raiders. There are quite a few takeaways from that game. It's important to point out that the 47-24 final is very misleading. MTSU actually outgained Vanderbilt 495-344 yards. The Blue Raiders had 25 first downs compared to only 20 for Vanderbilt.
MTSU turned it over twice deep in Vanderbilt territory. The first was a fumble on the opening drive of the game that was run back 55 yards by Vanderbilt to the MTSU 13-yard line. Later, Brent Stockstill threw an interception at the Vanderbilt 25 yard line, and the Commodores ran it back all the way to the MTSU 7-yard line before punching it in for a touchdown. On Vanderbilt's lone turnover, the Blue Raiders failed to capitalize. They picked up a big penalty to push them back and then missed a 44-yard field goal.
Vanderbilt rushed for 231 yards, while MTSU gained only 96 yards on the ground. MTSU threw for 399 yards compared to only 113 for Vanderbilt. Part of this was because MTSU was playing from behind for so long, but there's no doubt that MTSU's primary concern is stopping the run.
Nine penalties for 92 yards hurt the Blue Raiders a lot in this game as well. Overall, it was a game where MTSU showed they have a lot of potential, but the team failed to put it all together.
Last week's selection on the 'under' was a bad one. MTSU's faster pace showed in this one, and the game flew easily over the total.
Notes of Interest
-Aldo Giovanni Amato, who covers the Blue Raiders for the Daily News Journal, wrote about some of the good and the bad for MTSU through two weeks. MTSU is fifth in the nation in passing offense. This is likely to continue to be a strength for the team with Stockstill maturing and Tony Franklin finding ways to get the ball to star wide receiver Richie James. Red zone defense has been a real problem. Vanderbilt went a perfect 7-for-7 in the red zone against MTSU. Another negative is MTSU ranks 107th out of 128 FBS teams in penalties, with 179 yards in penalties in two games. Another huge positive is MTSU's pass protection. Stockstill has been sacked only one time in the first two games of the season.
-MTSU now has four wide receivers officially ruled as out for the year. Injuries are hurting this team in a big way early in the season. Richie James is the best wide receiver in the conference, but the guys behind him are unproven. Defensive end Chris Hale is still listed as out indefinitely, and he is a huge key for the defensive line as well.
-The Blue Raiders travel to Bowling Green to take on the Falcons this weekend. This is an early game for MTSU. Head Coach Rick Stockstill said about this game, "Defensively, we have to tackle great in space because they run a lot of screens." He went on to say the key will be avoiding giving up the explosive plays that Bowling Green is looking for in their fast-paced offense.
-MTSU is 6-13 against the spread in their last 19 road games.
-The Blue Raiders are 6-1 ATS in their last seven September games.
-Bowling Green is 4-1 ATS in their last five following an ATS loss.
-The 'under' is 6-2 in the Blue Raiders last eight games.
-The 'over' is 7-2 in Bowling Green's last nine home games.
MTSU vs. Bowling Green College Football Odds
MTSU opened as a 3.5-point road favorite at Bookmaker. Money has steadily come in on the Blue Raiders early in the week. They are now a 6-point favorite at some books. At other books, they are now favored by 6.5 in this one. It's certainly been a significant early-week line move. The posted total opened at 69.5 points in this matchup. It has been bet up slightly. There is a big variety of numbers available for the total now, with 70.5 available some places, 71 at others, and even 71.5 at several books.
MTSU vs. Bowling Green College Football Picks
Bowling Green hasn't been impressive so far this year. They were beaten 77-10 by Ohio State, and then were very fortunate to beat North Dakota 27-26 last week (North Dakota went for two to try to win the game and the attempt failed). The early-week line move tells me this a sharp side play on MTSU. I'll make a two unit play on MTSU -6 in this one.
My much bigger play here will be on the over. I'm taking over 70.5 for a five unit play in this one. MTSU is looking to play faster, and their passing attack has been great early in the season. Bowling Green is always looking to get into a track meet, and I see both teams having a bunch of possessions in this game. The MTSU defense hasn't really been tested by a good offense yet this year. Back and forth with a lot of scoring is the way I see this one.
Pick #131 5 Unit Play on MTSU/Bowling Green over 70.5
Pick #131 2 Unit Play on MTSU -6
Season Results- 0 Wins 1 Loss (-$220)
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