NCAA Football Mid-Major Free Betting Picks: Utah State Aggies Bowl Game
A lot has changed for the Utah State Aggies since the last mid-major betting report. Matt Wells left to take the Texas Tech job. That's obviously disappointing for the players and the program in general, but Wells did an amazing job for this Utah State football program. Also, the Aggies were selected to play in the New Mexico Bowl against North Texas. The loss to Boise State meant they couldn't quite accomplish what they had hoped for this year, but it has been a tremendous season for the Aggies.
I chose to follow the Utah State football program this year because of their potential for a breakout season. The Aggies haven't had a winning season since 2014. They were 6-7 a year ago and lost a bowl game to New Mexico State. Utah State had lost their last eight games decided by a touchdown or less. They were on the cusp of breaking out last year but couldn't get over the hump. I have been following Utah State beat writers, following players and coaches on Twitter, and reading the press conference transcripts to find information on the Aggies. The goal has been for me to become an expert on this Utah State Aggies team.
How have the selections on the mid-major betting report done overall? Coming into this season, the overall record is 48 wins and 33 losses with a gain of $2,020. Last year, I followed the Marshall Thundering Herd as they tried to recover from a bad season in 2016. Marshall did have a nice bounce-back season, and the selections last year went 8-5 and we finished up $520. It was nice to have another strong season. With one game left this year, the results sit at 8-2 and up $800. It's been another great season!
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.
Utah State lost to Boise State 33-24 in a contest that decided who would play in the Mountain West Conference Championship. Boise State went on to lose a close game to Fresno State in the title game.
Boise State racked up 509 yards of offense against Utah State in that 33-24 win. The Broncos threw for 310 yards on only 32 pass attempts. Alexander Mattison rushed for 200 yards on 37 carries as well. This was the most anyone has taken advantage of the Utah State defense this season. Boise State controlled this game in every way. The Broncos dominated in time of possession. They had the ball for a little more than 42 minutes in this game. Boise State didn't turn the ball over at all. Utah State had two turnovers.
The punting game continued to be a weakness for Utah State. The Aggies punted five times, and those punts averaged only 30.4 yards. Utah State ran for only 3.3 yards per carry in this loss.
The one-unit play on the "over" was a loser in this contest.
Notes of Interest
-Wells has moved on to Texas Tech. Who will be Utah State's new coach? A familiar face. Gary Andersen will be back as the head coach at Utah State. Frank Maile is the interim coach for the bowl game. Andersen was at Utah State from 2009-2012. He then coached at Wisconsin and Oregon State. It will be interesting to see how Andersen does in his second stint leading the Aggies.
-Utah State will take on North Texas this weekend in the New Mexico Bowl. North Texas finished the regular season 9-3. The Mean Green did play a very weak schedule this year, though. They had close losses to UAB and Louisiana Tech. North Texas didn't beat a single team that made a bowl game. They are very well-coached, though, and this team got a major boost when Seth Littrell said he wanted to stay at North Texas. He has been rumored to be a candidate for other major jobs, but he said he wants to stay at North Texas.
-Mason Fine was named Conference USA's Offensive Player of the Year. Fine threw for a whopping 27 touchdowns compared to only five interceptions this year. Fine completed 64.6 percent of his passes, and he averaged an impressive 8.17 yards per pass attempt. Fine said this week that not winning a bowl game in his career (0-2 in bowl games the last two years) is something that has been gnawing at him. He and his team should be highly motivated.
-How will Utah State respond to not having Wells leading them for the bowl game? Are the Aggies excited to be in this game? Motivation is everything in bowl season. Initially, Wells was slated to be on the sidelines for this bowl game. Either Wells or the Utah State Athletic Director had a change of heart, and now he will not be on the sidelines for this game. Jaden Johnson, who works with the Mountain West Network, broke that news on Twitter on Monday. Gary Andersen will not be in New Mexico for this bowl game, either. David Yost will be calling the plays for Utah State in this bowl game.
-What do the statistics look like for this game? Both North Texas and Utah State's offenses are explosive. North Texas and Utah State both had exactly 73 plays of 20 yards or more this year. That ranks tied for 15th best in the country in that statistic. Utah State allowed only nine sacks this year, which was good for third best in the country. North Texas allowed 26 sacks this year. Utah State ranked 10th in yards per play on offense. North Texas ranked 20th in yards per play. These teams have similar statistical profiles, but Utah State has played a slightly tougher schedule.
-North Texas is 0-4 against the spread in their last four games against a team with a winning record.
-Utah State is 4-15 ATS in their last 19 vs. a team with a winning record.
-The 'under' is 6-0 in Utah State's last six bowl games.
-The under is 12-3-1 in North Texas' last 16 games.
North Texas vs. Utah State College Football Odds
Utah State opened as a 10-point favorite in this one. That number has gone down to 8.5 or 8 at most books. There has clearly been some action coming in on North Texas. The posted total opened at 64.5, but that has been bet up to 67.5 at most books.
North Texas vs. Utah State College Football Picks
It is very hard to gauge Utah State's motivation level for this game. They are playing for an interim coach, which isn't ideal. North Texas wants this game badly, and the Mean Green have a passing attack that should be able to take advantage of Utah State's secondary. The Aggies defense is very strong in the front seven, but the secondary can sometimes be beaten. Both teams are going to score quite a few here, but this total is awfully high. I'll take North Texas plus the points for a two-unit play based on them having their head coach and clearly being motivated to be in this game.
Pick #201- North Texas +8.5 (2 units)
Season Results- 8 Wins 2 Losses (+$800)
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