NCAA Football Mid-Major Free Betting Picks: Utah State Aggies Week 1
The college football mid-major betting report is back! This is the eighth straight year I've done this for Doc's Sports, and I'm looking forward to yet another season. The goal of this article is to show that specialization can be a profitable strategy when betting on sports.
How have the selections on the mid-major betting report done overall? 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.
Again this year, 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.
I'll be following the Utah State Aggies this year. Why Utah State? 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 has 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. We'll see if they can do it this season.
I'll be following beat writers, following players and coaches on Twitter, and reading the press conference transcripts to find information on the Aggies. I'll be looking to make myself an expert on this Utah State football team.
Season Preview- Utah State Offense
Utah State averaged 30.2 points per game a year ago. The Aggies averaged 5.6 yards per play. Kent Myers and Jordan Love shared time at the quarterback spot. Love is the only returner at quarterback, and I would expect him to be the full-time starter as long as he stays healthy. Love was only a freshman last season, and he played well for Utah State late in the season. If he can cut down on his turnovers, he could be very good in this offense.
Utah State entered last season with no returning starters on the offensive line. All five starters from last year's offensive line are back this season. The area where I believe Utah State is much stronger this year is the wide receiver position. Their top three receivers from last year return, and they add in USC transfer Jalen Greene, who could be a star in the Mountain West Conference.
With nine returning starters and an improving quarterback, this Utah State offense should be quite a bit better than it was last year.
Season Preview- Utah State Defense
Utah State allowed 26.9 points per game a year ago. They allowed 5.2 yards per play. The Aggies have been strong in the secondary the last couple seasons, but they have been only mediocre in the front seven.
Utah State lost a really good one in Dalllin Leavitt at safety, and he will be tough to replace. Ja'Marcus Ingram will be expected to step up and have a big season. I think their pass defense numbers will dip a bit this season, but this is still a fairly good secondary.
The Aggies allowed only 3.6 yards per carry in 2015, but they allowed 4.4 and 4.5 yards per carry in the last two seasons. I expect the Aggies to be much stronger against the run this season. Suli Tamaivena is a great leader from his inside linebacker position, and he led the team with 111 tackles last year. The defensive end position is deep this year, and Utah State should have a better pass rush as well.
On the whole, this defense returns nine starters and should be better than a year ago.
Notes of Interest
-Jason Turner, Utah State beat writer for The Herald Journal, recently wrote about the Aggies special teams and how good they should be in 2018. Aaron Dalton averaged 42.0 yards per punt a year ago, and he is back as the team's punter this year. Dominik Eberle was a Lou Groza finalist at placekicker, and big things are expected from him. The punt and kick returners are very good as well. Savor Scarver was only a freshman last year, but he had the most kickoff return yards in a season for Utah State since 2011. Jordan Nathan averaged 8.5 yards per punt return last year, which was good for 24th best in the nation. The Aggies look to have a Top 10 special teams unit in the nation this year, and that should help them in tight games.
-Utah State plays in East Lansing this week against the Michigan State Spartans. Mark Dantonio is a very good coach for the Spartans. Overall, Dantonio is 80-71-4 against the spread in his career as a head coach. It is interesting to note that he is 13-23 ATS in the first three weeks of the season.
-Utah State is 4-11 ATS in their last 15 road games.
-Michigan State is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games.
-The 'over' is 14-6 in Utah State's last 20 games overall.
-The 'under' is 7-3 in Michigan State's last ten home games.
Utah State at Michigan State College Football Odds
Michigan State opened as a 25-point favorite in this one when most books opened more than two months ago. That line has now dipped to 23.5 at most shops , with even a couple books showing Michigan State -23. The posted total opened at 50.5. Some books are still showing 50.5, while others have inched higher at 51 on this total.
Utah State at Michigan State College Football Picks
Utah State was beaten by 49 points at Wisconsin in the opener last year. They were also beaten 46-10 at Wake Forest early last year. I don't think this game will go that poorly for them, but I would want a bigger number to take Utah State plus the points.
Instead, I'm going to make a small play on the over here. Utah State was consistently ranking in the Top 15 in the country in pace of play late last season. The Aggies will likely play very fast again this year. Michigan State's Brian Lewerke is an underrated quarterback, and he'll likely give the Utah State secondary trouble here. I think Jordan Love and the Utah State offense can score a little more here than most would expect as well.
I'll take over 50.5 for a one-unit play here.
Pick #141 1 Unit Play on Over 50.5
Season Results- 0 Wins 0 Losses
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