Free NCAA Football Picks Week 8: Under-the-Radar Matchups Provide Great Betting Profits
We are officially at the halfway point of the college football season, and it's been one hell of a ride so far. There have been blowouts, upsets, Hail Marys, injuries, suspensions, quarterback controversies, soaring Heisman stocks and plummeting Heisman stocks. Yet, one thing has remained the same with the exception of last year's national title game - Alabama is still the best team in college football. At least that's what the rankings say, but I guarantee if you asked 10 people from 10 different states you would get 11 different answers. But I digress. I will let my colleagues focus on the upper echelon of college football while I focus my efforts, like I've done every week so far (with the exception of last week - sorry I was on my honeymoon), on "under-the-radar" games that get next to no media attention. I believe games that feature lesser teams in lesser conferences such as the MAC, the Sun Belt, and even Conference USA, provide bettors with a bigger edge when it comes to making money.
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The purpose of this weekly article to help bettors find those "diamond in the rough" type games with soft lines and increase your edge over the book. The majority of new bettors make the same mistake every week - they get sucked into the media's propaganda and all the "hype up" commercials on television. I can't tell you how many commercials I've seen for the upcoming Michigan/Penn State game. If that's the only thing a new bettor sees, that is likely the game they will bet on. What these square bettors don't know is that the line has very little value left in it and the books will typically win more often than not.
Tonight's card features four games, including a pair from Conference USA and a pair from the Mountain West Conference. Western Kentucky (-10) travels to Norfolk to take on Old Dominion to start the night, while Marshall (-2.5) takes on Middle Tennessee, Air Force (-7) takes on Nevada and Colorado State (-7.5) tangles with New Mexico in the nightcap.
From a Top-25 perspective, there are two prime-time, marquee games that make up the Saturday card. In the first matchup, No. 19 Michigan travels to Beaver Stadium to take on the No. 2-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. Penn State is currently 9.5-point favorites in this one with the total set at 45. And in the second game, the No. 11 USC Trojans travel to South Bend to take on No. 13 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish are currently laying 3.5 and the total is set at 65.
Two weeks ago, I was unable to cash in with either of my selections. My record currently sits at 7-6 with a profit of 6.1 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.
Western Michigan @ Eastern Michigan (+3) Saturday Oct. 21, 2 p.m. EST
For my first selection, I am going back to one of my favorite conferences to bet on and take a team that can score a boatload of points in every single game they play in. Last year, the Western Michigan Broncos ran the regular season table and finished 12-0, only to lose to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl. This year, they lost their head coach and nearly half of their starters from last year. While a regression from 13-1 was always likely, the Broncos have put together one of the best offenses in the nation, scoring at a clip of 38.6 points per game. With the exception of last week's 14-13 loss to Akron, the Broncos had scored 37 points or more in winning four straight. This is the kind of offensive firepower that Eastern Michigan will struggle to contain.
Eastern Michigan has been kind to me so far this season in the three games I've wagered on them. I bet on them in their first two games -- two wins and covers, and I faded them in the third where they dropped a 27-20 decision to Ohio. Since that game, they have been lost three straight games on the road and scored more than 20 points just once. If the Eagles had any sort of home-field advantage in this one (they don't), I may have stayed away from this game and looked elsewhere.
I believe you are getting a very short number based on last week's results and the public perception. Western Michigan looked shaky against the Zips, while Eastern Michigan played Army tough.
Another important piece of information to keep in mind. Last week, Army did not complete a single pass (0 for 5). They ran the ball 60 times for 413 yards. I can assure you that Western Michigan will complete several passes and Eastern Michigan will have no response.
Pick: 4-Unit Play on #333 Western Michigan (-3) -110
North Texas @ Florida Atlantic (-3.5) Saturday Oct. 21, 5 p.m. EST
For my second selection of the day, I am venturing into Conference USA to give you a winner in the North Texas/FAU game. To keep it short and sweet - I like FAU in this spot as I think the number is a tad low, and I believe that if they want to get to a bowl game (something Lane Kiffin was brought in to do) then this is the game they need to win.
FAU come into this game fresh off their bye week. Prior to that, they had a 30-point blowout win on the road at Old Dominion. In that game, FAU racked up 550 total yards, including a whopping 453 rushing yards. They converted on 13 of 22 third-down attempts and won the time of possession. Those last two stats are something I look closely at as they give me a better indication of how the game actually played out.
If you look at FAU's remaining schedule, you will see Western Kentucky, Marshall, LA-Tech, FIU and Charlotte. In order to get to six wins and be bowl eligible, this week's game against North Texas is a must-win game (along with the FIU and Charlotte games).
North Texas, on the other hand, is quietly putting together a solid season of their own. They own a 4-2 record and are coming off a 29-26 win against UTSA. They are second in the Conference USA East and have serious ambitions of going bowling. Unfortunately, I don't believe they match up well in this game. The Mean Green give up more than 400 yards of offense per game, which leads me to believe that FAU should have no problems moving the ball up and down the field.
I expect this to be a higher-scoring game (total is currently 65.5) so the team that boasts the better defense (I believe this is FAU) and gets one or two key third down stops will emerge victorious.
Pick: 3-Unit Play on #324 Florida Atlantic (-3.5) -110 .
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