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. Last weekend's loss couldn't have been more heartbreaking for the Blue Raiders, so now it is time to see how the team can respond.
Through the rest of the season, 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.
Last week's 44-43 double-overtime loss to Western Kentucky was devastating for the Blue Raiders. Western Kentucky is their biggest rival, and MTSU put so much into this game. MTSU had the lead much of the time late in the game and had chances to put the game away. Instead, they couldn't pick up a first down that would have salted the game away and Western Kentucky got the ball back and kicked a field goal to put it into overtime. In the second overtime, MTSU had an extra point blocked, and that ended up being the way this one finished. What a terrible way to lose a huge rivalry matchup.
It also was a tough one to take for me. I had a six unit play on MTSU -2.5 last week. The statistics say that was the right side, but it ended up in the loss column. I was fortunate to cash the over 73.5 ticket, but that was the three unit selection. I would certainly love to have flipped the script and have seen the side win and the total lose!
MTSU outgained Western Kentucky 605 yards to 521 yards. The Blue Raiders had 32 first downs compared to 28 for Western Kentucky. Brent Stockstill threw for 434 yards in the game. MTSU had only four penalties compared to seven for Western Kentucky. The turnover battle was even with each team turning it over once. If you just looked at the box score, you would certainly have thought that the Blue Raiders won this game.
Notes of Interest
-MTSU plays a rare middle-of-the-season nonconference game at Missouri this weekend. It's hard to gauge whether this will be a good or bad thing for the Blue Raiders. A loss like last week's is going to be tough to take no matter what, but could it be helpful for MTSU to be playing on a bigger stage against an SEC team? Possibly.
-Aldo Giovanni Amato, MTSU writer for the Daily News Journal, wrote about the five biggest things the Blue Raiders need to do to win this weekend. No. 1 was block effectively, and that's a really important one this week. Missouri's defensive line is the strength of their team. Charles Harris is the leader of this group, and he's expected to be a high NFL Draft choice from his defensive end position. MTSU does have a very good offensive line. The Blue Raiders have allowed only four sacks so far this year.
-Ironically, the last time MTSU played against Missouri (in 2003), it was a missed extra point by MTSU that cost them the game. The Blue Raiders lost 41-40 in that contest.
-Rick Stockstill said this week that his team needs to learn from their tough loss last week. Stockstill said he hated seeing the kids hurting so much after last week's loss. At the end of the day though he said, "you have to man up, be a man and move forward."
-MTSU is 1-5 against the spread in their last six games vs. an SEC opponent.
-The Blue Raiders are 4-1 ATS in their last five after allowing 40 points or more last game.
-Missouri is 20-9 ATS in their last 29 games following an ATS loss.
-The 'under' is 12-5 in Missouri's last 17 home games.
MTSU vs. Missouri College Football Odds
The Missouri Tigers opened as a six-point home favorite in this one. The line has shifted around just a little bit, but the Tigers are currently 6.5-point favorites at most books. There are several books showing Missouri -7 as well. The posted total opened at 72 points at most books, and the current totals number is 71. Not a lot of movement in this game so far this week.
MTSU vs. Missouri College Football Picks
Missouri is playing much faster on offense this year, and initially I had hoped to be able to grab the over in this game, but this total came out much higher than I expected. I can't go over 71 points with the Missouri defense still being solid and Drew Lock being very inconsistent for the Tigers.
I expect Brent Stockstill and the Blue Raiders offense to have some success through the air here, and given the touchdown, I'm going to take the points. Missouri was beaten at home by a Georgia team that isn't very good. They were also drilled 42-7 by LSU and 40-14 by Florida. I know MTSU isn't that good of a team, but I do believe the Blue Raiders come back prepared to play and take this game to the wire. I'll make a two unit play on MTSU +7 here.
Pick #393- Middle Tennessee State +7 for 2 units
Season Results- 3 Wins 4 Losses (-$740)
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
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