Free NCAA Football Picks Week 3: Under-the-Radar Matchups Provide Great Betting Profits
With all due respect to the NFL game that is scheduled to happen tonight between the Houston Texans and Cincinnati Bengals, I probably won't watch a single second. Instead, I will focus my attention on the lone college game taking place in Boise, Idaho, where the Broncos play host to the New Mexico Lobos in a battle of 1-1 Mountain West teams. As of writing this, the Broncos are 14.5-point favorites and the total sits at 58.5.
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Tomorrow's college card features three games, including one ranked team in action - No. 22 South Florida (-17.5) hosting Illinois, and two vastly overrated teams taking on much weaker opponents. Temple is laying -14.5 at home to Massachusetts, and Arizona is laying 23 points on the road against UTEP.
From a Top-25 perspective, Saturday's slate has a few games I am looking forward to watching instead of betting. No. 23 Tennessee travels to No. 24 Florida (-5) to take on a Gators team that is offensively challenged. The lack of points in this game will be made up for elsewhere, likely in Memphis where No. 25 UCLA (-3) takes on the Tigers, in Louisville where the 14th-ranked Cardinals (+3) host the defending National Champion, No. 3 Clemson, or in Southern California where the No. 4 USC Trojans (-15.5) host Texas.
The purpose of this weekly piece is to help you specialize in finding those under-the-radar games with soft lines in order to increase your edge over the book and turn a profit. We all know there are two kinds of bettors - "sharps" and "squares" - but what most people don't realize is that most of the sharps specialize in smaller conferences with lesser teams where the lines are softer. The reason being is that these games/teams generally fly under the radar from the betting public, thus leaving more value in the betting line. On the flip side, square bettors would be considered "generalized" bettors, which means they bet on what the media tells them to bet. If the only thing a casual bettor sees is hype videos reminding fans how crazy last year's Clemson/Louisville game was, or how USC and Texas are playing for the first time since the memorable Vince Young Rose Bowl performance, the chances they look elsewhere for a game to bet on is slim to none. If every casual bettor does this, there is rarely any value left in the betting line.
Last week I crushed it. I cashed not only one 4-Unit Play on Old Dominion -3.5 against UMASS, but I also cashed a 3-Unit Play on Middle Tennessee +10 over a vastly-overrated Syracuse team. This brings the season record to 3-2 +5.6 Units.
This week I have two "under-the-radar" games from the Saturday board that I expect the get the job done. I will use $100 as my unit of wager and as always, all lines are courtesy of our friends at 5Dimes.
Coastal Carolina @ UAB (+1.5) Saturday Sept. 16, 1 p.m. EST
Let's be completely honest with each other for a second. The only people who are going to be watching this game are those that are in attendance and those with a financial stake in the game. Bettors like myself will have a keen interest in this game, and you should follow me with my predictions as well.
At first glance, I thought this would be a perfect spot to take the home pooch here both on the spread (for insurance) and on the moneyline at +105. However, the more digging I did, the more I started to like Coastal Carolina. There are two key reasons why. The first reason being is that they had a bye week last week, thus making them much fresher than a UAB team that travelled eight hours up the I-65 to lose by 20 while committing 10 penalties and turning the ball over twice. The second reason is the fact that the Blazers are not very good at dictating how the game is played. In both games thus far they have lost the time of possession battle, and the Chanticleers are a team that thrives when holding onto possession. They held the ball for nearly 37 minutes against UMass in Week 1 while racking up 321 rushing yards and just 80 passing yards. I expect more of the same from them this week with all three running backs; Osharmar Abercrombie (149 yards and two touchdowns), Marcus Outlow and Alex James (104 yards combined) gashing a weak UAB defense that surrendered 160 yards to a similar run-first offense.
UAB is projected to win a grand total of three games. I've seen their schedule, and this is not one of those games. They will win at North Texas next week and at Charlotte toward the end of October. Coastal Carolina is projected to win four, and they are likely to take place before conference play rolls around.
Pick: 3-Unit Play on #121 Coastal Carolina -1.5 (-110)
Southern Mississippi @ UL-Monroe (+7) Saturday Sept. 16, 9 p.m. EST
The ULM Warhawks have a few things going for them heading into this Saturday night matchup against their Conference-USA opponent. The first is that their game against Florida State was cancelled last week (due to unfortunate conditions), which means they didn't have to travel to Florida and get their ass kicked, and that also means they are very well rested (last game was Aug. 31 against Memphis). The second thing the Warhawks have going for them is that this is their home opener, and the place will be as packed as a Sun Belt stadium can be.
I watched the Warhawks' first game against Memphis, and I liked the fight they showed despite being down and out of the game by halftime. They allowed Memphis to rush for 319 yards for the game, but just 72 of them came in the second half. This team did not mail it in. They outscored Memphis 22-17 in the second half, and that's the kind of effort that will be rewarded when the games are closer. They also outgained Memphis 425-416 yards, and that includes a 279-97 yard passing advantage.
Southern Mississippi comes into this game with a record of 1-1 after losing to Kentucky to open the season and then shutting out Southern University by a score of 45-0. This is a team that opened up as the Conference-USA favorite last year but was plagued by inconsistency from one week to the next. Southern Miss certainly has the talent to make some noise this year, but I would rather not lay a touchdown with a road team who is trying to find their identity.
This Southern Miss team returned very little on the defensive side of the ball, which means they can be attacked and exploited by an efficient passing attack. ULM fits the bill.
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