NCAA Football Mid-Major Free Betting Picks: Marshall Thundering Herd Week 8
The Week 8 edition of the mid-major betting report is here 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.
The Marshall Thundering Herd were the team I chose to follow this season, because I thought they could turn things around. This team has a proud past, and so far this season they have indeed been much improved from a year ago. The rest of the season I'll continue to follow beat writers, follow players and coaches on Twitter, and read the press conference transcripts to find information on the Thundering Herd. I'll be looking to make myself an expert on this Thundering Herd team.
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We'll take a look back at last week's contest, find some important pieces of information regarding Marshall football, and then give a selection for this week's game.
Marshall beat Old Dominion 35-3 last weekend. While the Thundering Herd clearly controlled the game, the final score is a little misleading. It was 0-0 after one quarter. Marshall led 7-3 at halftime. Marshall led 14-3 after three quarters. The Thundering Herd scored three touchdowns in the final quarter.
Old Dominion drove all the way down the field on the opening possession of the game and eventually threw an interception at the Marshall three-yard line. Old Dominion took a 3-0 lead in the second quarter. Marshall drove down the field the next drive but missed a field goal. The Thundering Herd scored a touchdown on their final drive of the second quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Marshall scored a touchdown to go up 21-3. On the ensuing kickoff Old Dominion fumbled and Marshall ran it back for a touchdown to seal up the game.
Marshall averaged 5.89 yards per play in this game. The offense was decent, but it was again the defense that led the way. The Thundering Herd allowed only 197 total yards in this one. Old Dominion's star running back Ray Lawry did play, but the Monarchs only averaged 2.3 yards per carry.
The selection from last week's article on the under was a winner.
Notes of Interest
-Marshall is the first team in the 22-year existence of Conference USA to not allow a touchdown in its first two conference games of the season. The Thundering Herd have allowed a total of 27 points in their last four games.
-According to Chuck McGill on Twitter, Marshall punter Kaare Vedvik's 92-yard punt (yes 92 yards) was the seventh longest in FBS history. It was also the longest punt recorded in the past 45 years. Apparently, 45 is a key number, since Vedvik is now averaging an impressive 45 yards per punt on the season as well.
- Doug Smock, writer for the Charleston Gazette-Mail, wrote a midseason review on Marshall football this week where he gave a bunch of interesting statistics about the team compared to last year. He pointed out that Litton had thrown three pick-sixes at this point last season. He has a grand total of only three interceptions so far this season. Litton is clearly doing a better job valuing the football. Smock also pointed out that Marshall stunningly had zero first- or second-team Conference USA players last year. No doubt that will change this season. Smock surmises that this year Marshall could get all three of their linebackers on the first or second team. With Hancock, Young, and Johnson the Herd certainly have three great leaders.
-MTSU (the team I covered last year for this report) is Marshall's opponent this week. Brent Stockstill is one of the best quarterbacks in the country, and MTSU will be without him again this week as he continues to recover from an injury. John Urzua will make the start in his place. Urzua is completing almost 65 percent of his passes, but he has thrown six touchdowns vs. eight interceptions on the season. Richie James, the best receiver in the conference, is back from his injury, so Urzua will have a great weapon on the outside to throw to for this Friday night's contest.
-Marshall is 5-1 against the spread in their last six games.
-MTSU is 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a loss.
-The 'under' is 20-7 in Marshall's last 27 conference games.
-The under is 6-0-1 in MTSU's last seven games overall.
Marshall vs. MTSU College Football Odds
Marshall opened as a 2.5 point favorite on the road in this one. The line still sits at 2.5 at some books, while other books have moved the line to Marshall -3. The total opened at 50 points. It has bounced all over the place since the open. It went as low as 48.5. It went as high as 52. The total has since settled to 49.5 or 50 at most books.
Marshall vs. MTSU College Football Picks
There are some reasons to be cautious about this matchup for Marshall. It is a blackout game at MTSU on national television on Friday night. This is a big home-field advantage for the Blue Raiders. MTSU is averaging 5.4 yards per play and allowing only 4.7 yards per play, so they have been a bit unlucky as well. Still, I'm going to lay the 2.5 with Marshall in this spot.
The primary reason for this play is I trust Marshall's defense to make big plays here. Urzua has had turnover problems his entire career. Marshall has the defensive line to put early pressure on him, and they have the aggressive secondary necessary to make him pay for mistakes. I believe Litton's values the ball much better than Urzua at this stage in his career.
I'll play Marshall -2.5 for a two unit play here as I expect Marshall to get their sixth win of the season and cover the short number.
Pick #309 Marshall -2.5 (2 unit play)
Season Results- 5 Wins 2 Losses (+$360)
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