After a bye week, the college football mid-major betting report is back and the focus is once again on the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders. They are a team that some have picked to rise toward the top of Conference USA this year. The start of the season has gone relatively well for MTSU, but the next few weeks is when we will find out a lot about this team. Can they take that next step forward?
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 bits of information to try to gain an edge. 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 went to North Texas and won 30-13 before their bye week. The Blue Raiders offense didn't quite fire on all cylinders like we've come to expect, but the defense picked up the slack and then some. The Blue Raiders defense allowed a grand total of five rushing yards on 22 attempts. Run defense has been a problem for MTSU, so this was very encouraging for fans and the coaching staff.
MTSU won and covered the number despite losing the turnover battle. North Texas was thought of as a bottom-feeder by many before the season, but their recent results suggest otherwise. During MTSU's bye week, North Texas stunned Marshall with a 38-21 win at home. They did that as nearly two-touchdown underdogs.
Brent Stockstill passed for 245 yards, but he completed only 24 of 45 passes. I'Tavius Mathers had 135 yards on the ground on only 24 carries. The huge positive on the offensive side was their ability to convert on third down. MTSU was 11 for 19 on third-down-conversion attempts.
Mason Fine threw for 303 yards for North Texas, but he had 54 pass attempts. That means he threw for 5.6 yards per attempt, which tells me the MTSU secondary did a nice job in this contest.
My one unit selection on the "over" in this game was a loser.
Notes of Interest
-MTSU hosts Western Kentucky this Saturday for the Blue Raiders homecoming game. MTSU and Western Kentucky have been longtime rivals, and this is arguably the biggest game on the Blue Raiders schedule the rest of the way. Western Kentucky has been very successful inside Conference USA the last few seasons. The Hilltoppers smashed MTSU 58-28 last season, so MTSU has a score to even up with their rivals.
-Rick Stockstill spoke at this week's press conference about how happy he was that the bye week came when it did to help heal up the team and give them a mental break. Stockstill believes the mental break is even more important than the ability heal up the injuries based on the high intensity level the players go through for so many weeks in a row.
-MTSU linebacker DJ Sanders spoke about the need to be in position against an explosive offense like Western Kentucky's. Sanders said, "We just have to eliminate the explosive plays and read our keys. Last year that was the problem: we didn't read our keys and guys were out of place."
-The worry for the MTSU offense before the year was their running game. Would they have enough balance? The running game has been tremendous so far this season. MTSU is averaging 5.39 yards per carry on the season. They haven't had a single game where their yards per carry number was below 4.27. That's really impressive considering MTSU averaged 3.8 yards per carry for the season last year. If the run game continues to be this successful, the Blue Raiders will have a breakout season.
-Western Kentucky is 0-5 against the spread in their last five games overall.
-MTSU is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six conference games.
-The 'over' is 6-2 in the Hilltoppers last eight road games.
-The over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these two teams.
Western Kentucky vs. MTSU College Football Odds
The Blue Raiders opened as a one-point favorite in this game, but steady money has come in on them and they are now favored by 2.5 points across the market. The posted total opened at 70.5 points but has been bet up to 73.5.
Western Kentucky vs. MTSU College Football Odds
I believe this is a great spot for MTSU to prove they are the real deal. Western Kentucky is still a good team, but they are definitely down a couple notches from last year. On the other hand, I see MTSU as a much-improved team. The Blue Raiders have much more balance on offense than anyone ever expected them to have this season. Louisiana Tech just rolled up 561 yards and 55 points on this Western Kentucky defense. Look for MTSU to put up a big number here, too.
MTSU had a bye week to prepare for this game, and I think that helps them immensely. This MTSU team is coming into this game with a bunch of positive momentum. Western Kentucky limps into this one having lost two of their last three games.
I like both the MTSU side and the over in this one, but with the line move from 70.5 to 73.5, I will keep the play on the over slightly smaller. I'll play MTSU -2.5 for a rare six-unit play. I'll take the over 73.5 for three units.
Pick #189- Western Kentucky/MTSU over 73.5 for 3 units
Pick #190- Middle Tennessee State -2.5 for 6 units
Season Results- 2 Wins 3 Losses (-$380)
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