Free NCAA Football Mid-Major Week 1 Pick from Expert Handicapper
The start of a new season of college football is one of the most exciting times of the year, and it also one of the best opportunities of the year to make some serious money betting on the games. It is a new season for everyone, including the oddsmakers, who are bound to release some soft betting lines for the games.
Too many recreational bettors make the mistake of focusing all of their attention on the marquee matchups on the board where the betting lines are still going to be sharp. With five conferences making up the Mid-Major segment of Division IA (FBS) college football, that is where the best betting value can usually be found.
NCAAF Week 1 Mid-Major Betting Overview
When the AP recently released its preseason Top 25, the only two Mid Majors on that list were Central Florida at No. 21 and Boise State at No. 22.
UCF is coming off its run to an unofficial national title at 13-0 straight-up with an 8-4-1 record against the spread. The Knights will try and keep that streak alive on Thursday night as heavy 23-point road favorites against the Connecticut Huskies in an early matchup in the AAC. The total line for this game has been set at 74 points, and it has actually gone "over" in four of the last five meetings.
Boise State starts its new season on the road against the Troy Trojans on Saturday in a very interesting Mountain West/Sun Belt clash. The Broncos are favored by 10 points, with the total set at 50 points. Boise State has covered in five of its last six road games, and Troy is just 1-7 ATS in its last seven games at home.
NCAAF Mid-Major Free Pick of the Week: Wake Forest at Tulane
The Tulane Green Wave play out of the AAC, and they will step up in class against the ACC's Wake Forest Demon Deacons as six-point home underdogs for this Thursday night's season opener at Yulman Stadium. The total line for this 8:30 p.m. kickoff on CBS Sports Network has been set at 55 points.
Wake Forest finished last season at 8-5 SU with an 8-4-1 record ATS. It closed out the year with a 55-52 victory against Texas A&M as a 3.5-point favorite in the Belk Bowl. While this would have to be considered a successful season for one of the lower-profile teams in the ACC, I question whether the Demon Deacons can duplicate that success in 2018.
Turnover on both sides of the ball was high, and it does not help that Wake Forest's projected starting quarterback, Kendall Ninton, and tight end, Thomas Cole, have been suspended by the team for the first three games. I am not sure that the offense has the depth at quarterback to fill that void after the departure of John Wolford as a four-year starter.
Tulane posted only five SU wins in 2017, but it did manage to cover in eight of its 12 games. The Green Wave came close to beating Houston SU as 9.5-point home underdogs late in the season as part of a 5-1 record ATS at home last year. They were 4-2 ATS in six games closing as underdogs.
Tulane has the talent on both sides of the ball to get to a bowl game this season. I like the fact that Jonathan Banks returns as the team's starting quarterback. His 2017 stats with 1,797 yards passing with 12 touchdown throws are not Heisman material, but they are something to build on. He was also the team's second-leader rushing with 592 yards on an offense that averaged 231.5 rushing yards per game.
The Green Wave have been able to cover in seven of their last 10 nonconference games, and I really like their chances to win this game SU at home this Thursday night.
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