NCAA Football Mid-Major Free Betting Picks: Marshall Thundering Herd Week 1
College football is back, and that means it is time for the college football mid-major report once again. The goal of this article is to show that specialization can be a profitable strategy in sports betting.
This is the seventh 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 40 wins and 29 losses with a gain of $1,500. We are coming off an 8-5 year with a small gain of $40 last season when following the MTSU Blue Raiders. We had some bad luck on the larger plays last year, but finished strong to get into the green for the season.
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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.
This year, I'll be following the Marshall Thundering Herd. Why Marshall? I've selected them because I feel like they are a team that will bounce back in a big way from last year's ugly 3-9 campaign. This is a program that was accustomed to winning a bunch of games, and results like last year's won't be tolerated for long at all.
I'll be following beat writers, following players and coaches on Twitter, and reading the press conference transcripts to find information on the Thundering Herd. I'll be looking to make myself an expert on this Marshall team.
Season Preview- Marshall Offense
Marshall had a clear weakness on offense last year, and it was their running game. The Thundering Herd ranked 122nd in the nation in rushing yards. How bad was it late last year? Marshall ran for 100 yards or less in six of their last eight games of the season. There isn't a ton of talent at running back, and the offensive line was really bad a year ago. This is an area that must improve this season.
Chase Litton is a guy with a solid amount of talent, and if given time I think he'll have a pretty good season. Xavier Gaines gives the team a good backup as well. Marshall has a really good tight end that should put up some big numbers this year.
None of this will matter though if the offensive line doesn't improve by a large amount. There is more experience here this year, and they should stay healthier. They will improve, but by how much?
Season Preview- Marshall Defense
Marshall allowed 35.3 points per game last year. The Thundering Herd allowed only 17.8 points per game two years ago, so that poor defensive performance wasn't expected. Marshall allowed 5.0 yards per carry last season.
There are lots of reasons to expect Marshall to be better on defense this year. In fact, this is the main reason I expect a big improvement from Marshall this year. The number of ultra-talented transfers from big schools that the Thundering Herd picked up is amazing. On the defensive line, Ryan Bee and Davon Durant both have a really high upside. Jaquan Yulee should be great at linebacker.
The strength of the defense is the secondary. Chad Clay transferred here from Georgia and is expected to make an impact right away. Similarly, Shurod Thompson transferred from Oregon State, and he'll get a lot of playing time. This should be the best secondary in the conference.
Notes of Interest
-Miami transfer Juwon Young (linebacker) is suspended for the first four games, so he'll have to wait a bit to make his Marshall debut
-Doug Smock, Marshall beat writer for the Charleston Gazette Mail, wrote an interesting piece about Marshall's opponent for this week and how experienced they are across the board. The Miami Redhawks won six of their last seven games a year ago. This is a team that has been full of freshman and sophomores starting the last couple years. There are a couple fifth-year seniors to lead the team. The junior and senior classes have experienced some really low periods, but they are now leading the comeback of this Redhawks program.
-Gus Ragland, quarterback for Miami, threw 17 touchdown passes and one interception a year ago. His lone interception was a cheap one, too. It was a ball that was just put up for grabs in a last-second heave. This much is clear; Ragland makes great decisions with the football.
-Marshall and Miami have met 43 times, dating back all the way to 1905. It's an underrated rivalry that has featured some tough clashes. Most famous is likely the 2002 game, where a Miami assistant coach punched a Marshall fan after a shootout between Ben Roethlisberger's Redhawks and the Thundering Herd without injured quarterback Byron Leftwich.
-Miami is 4-0 ATS in their last four road games.
-Marshall is 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 nonconference games.
-The 'under' is 7-1 in Marshall's last eight games.
-The under is 9-3 in Miami's last 12 games.
Miami (OH) vs. Marshall College Football Odds
The Marshall Thundering Herd are favored by two points in this one at most books . The line sat at pick'em for a long time before some solid Marshall money came in on Monday. The posted total opened at 51.5 and has edged down to 51 across the board.
Miami (OH) vs. Marshall College Football Picks
I believe in this Marshall team. I think the Thundering Herd have a real purpose this season after the huge disappointment a year ago. Miami is a team that plays hard and makes good decisions, but I believe Marshall has more talent than the Redhawks, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Marshall still has a solid home-field advantage. In this series in particular, the home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings. It isn't likely to be easy against a quality Miami team, but I think Marshall wins and covers the short spread here.
Pick #158 2 Unit Play on Marshall -2
Season Results- 0 Wins 0 Losses
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