NCAA Football Mid-Major Free Betting Picks: Utah State Aggies Week 9
Week 9 of the mid-major betting report is ready to go. Utah State has been great so far this season. The Aggies aren't quite in the Top 25 yet, but they continue to receive quite a few votes. This mid-major team is now up to the 27th spot in the AP Top 25 Poll. Appalachian State just squeaked into the 25th spot this week, and Utah State could be next if they take care of business this weekend.
I chose to follow the Utah State football program this year. 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'll be following Utah State 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.
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.
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 was humming along with no signs of any issues, but last weekend was a close call for the Aggies. They won 24-16 at Wyoming, but if you look at all the statistics in the game you would say they were fortunate to win. Utah State gained only 194 yards and averaged just 3.2 yards per play. Wyoming gained 331 yards and averaged 4.5 yards per play. Wyoming was penalized 10 times for 80 yards. The Cowboys also turned the ball over twice, while the Aggies turned it over only once. The penalties and the +1 in turnover margin saved Utah State here.
Jordan Love had been fantastic all year, but he struggled in a big way on Saturday. Love was 12/28 passing for only 53 yards through the air. He had a quarterback rating of 5.7. Love threw zero touchdowns and one interception. Love has been so good this season that he deserves the benefit of the doubt here. I would expect him to turn it back around and be very good the rest of the year.
Utah State won in part because of a 99-yard kickoff returned for a touchdown by Savon Scarver. He's been excellent in the return game this year. Defensively, it was David Woodward yet again leading the way with 16 tackles. Woodward looks like a linebacker with an NFL future.
The two-unit play on Utah State/Wyoming under the total from last week's article was a winner.
Notes of Interest
-It was Utah State's ugliest win so far this season, but their win over Wyoming was still a road win over a rival with a very good defense. Stew Morrill, the former basketball coach who set all sorts of records at Utah State, texted Matt Wells after last week's game. Morrill said, "Matt it's extremely hard to win at Laramie in any sport. Enjoy the win, make your corrections and move on."
-Jason Turner, Utah State beat writer for the The Herald Journal, wrote about the positive of Utah State learning how to win close games. Turner pointed out that Utah State hadn't had many close games this year, and their wins have been blowouts. Turner also mentioned Coach Wells' quote from his press conference on Monday. Wells said, "You have to win games like this to compete for a championship." Also interesting was star receiver Jalen Greene's quote about the Utah State struggles last week. Greene said, "I'm glad it happened to us now, so we understand where our weaknesses are and where we need to anchor down, and what we can't let happen."
-Utah State is +6 in turnover margin on the year, which is good for 14 th-best in the country. The Aggies are +13 in sack margin, which is eighth-best in the nation.
-Utah State hosts New Mexico this week. The Lobos beat up on UNLV a few weeks ago, but overall it has been another very disappointing season for this team. That win over UNLV was in the Rebels first game without their star quarterback. New Mexico was beaten 38-7 at home by Fresno State last weekend. The Lobos have mixed in the pass a bit more this season than in the past few years, but they are still running on 64 percent of their offensive plays.
-New Mexico is 1-6 ATS in their last seven conference games.
-Utah State is 8-2 in their last ten games against a team with a losing record.
-The 'over' is 20-7 in Utah State's last 27 conference games.
-The 'under' is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these two teams.
New Mexico at Utah State College Football Odds
Utah State opened as a 23.5-point favorite here, but the line has gradually moved down throughout the week. The Aggies are now favored by 20.5 points at most books, but there are a couple books at -20. The posted total opened at 63.5, and it hasn't moved at all from that number.
New Mexico at Utah State College Football Picks
New Mexico and Utah State have a history of playing close games against each other, but I do believe Utah State is the much better team this year. These are two programs headed in different directions.
New Mexico's defense is a little better than they have been in some recent years, but their offense isn't nearly as good. The Lobos need to be able to run the ball, and I don't see them having any success against a strong Utah State front seven. The Aggies have allowed only 10 plays of 30 yards or more all year, and New Mexico has relied on big gainers in the running game the last couple seasons.
Because of the history of tight games in this series, I'll keep this to a one-unit play, but I'm backing Utah State in this one.
Pick #152- Utah State -20 (1 unit)
Season Results- 6 Wins 0 Losses (+$830)
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