Free NCAA Football Mid-Major Week 2 Pick from Expert Handicapper
Bettors got their first real taste of action in the new college football season last week. While most of the marquee teams in the nation rolled to easy victories in Week 1, do not tell that to the fans at Arizona or UCLA, who saw their teams get off to a rough start with a shocking straight-up loss at home to a Mid Major program.
I really liked Tulane's chances to upend Wake Forest last Thursday night as a six-point home underdog for my free Week 1 Mid Major pick, but I had to settle for a PUSH with the Demon Deacons squeezing out a 23-17 victory
NCAAF Week 2 Mid-Major Top 25 Betting Overview
Central Florida remains the pride and joy of the Mid Majors out of the AAC with a SU 14-game winning streak. The Knights made short work of conference rival Connecticut in Week 1 to extend last season's perfect 13-0 campaign. They started the season ranked No. 21 in the AP's preseason Top 25, and the 39-point victory over the Huskies as 24-point road favorites moved them two spots to No. 19. UCF opens its home schedule this Saturday against South Carolina State.
The other shining star in the Mid Majors is No. 20 Boise State out of the Mountain West. The Broncos moved up two spots in rankings with solid 56-20 romp over Troy last Saturday as nine-point favorites on the road. This Saturday, the will try and take a page out of the Knights' playbook in a home game against Connecticut. I am not sure who is responsible for the Huskies' brutal start.
NCAAF Mid-Major Free Pick of the Week: Texas El Paso at UNLV
Staying in the Mountain West as one of my top Mid-Major conferences to handicap, I have set my sights on this Saturday's matchup between the Conference USA's Texas El Paso Miners and my hometown UNLV Rebels. Game time from Sam Boyd Stadium is 9 p.m. (ET) and the Rebels have been opened as 23.5-point home favorites . The total for this game is set at 54 points.
The Miners got their 2018 campaign underway with a 30-10 loss to Northern Arizona as seven-point home underdogs. This followed a winless 2017 season in which they only managed to cover in two games. To say that UTEP is in a rebuilding mode would be putting things mildly. Former Kansas State offensive coordinator Dana Dimel took over as head coach with a daunting task to turn things around.
UTEP never had a chance against the Lumberjacks last week, facing a 17-0 deficit in the second quarter. It did cut that lead to seven points by halftime only to get shut out over the next two quarters. Kai Locksley got the start at quarterback, and he ended the game with 120 yards passing. He was also the team's leading rusher with 50 yards on 18 carries. The Miners were held to 229 yards of total offense.
The Rebels took on the Pac-12's USC Trojans in their season opener. And while they fell on the wrong side of a 43-21 loss, they did manage to cover as 24.5-point road underdogs. The total went OVER 59 points in that game. UNLV is coming off a SU five-win season, but it finished on a strong note at 3-2 (SU and ATS) in its last five games. This included a huge 26-16 road upset against Fresno State as a 22.5-point underdog.
What impressed me the most about last Saturday's game was the Rebels ability to keep things close into the fourth quarter. Eventually they were outscored 24-7 in that final quarter of play, but they also proved they can hang with a top program from the majors. The key to this Saturday's matchup could be running back Lexington Thomas and a UNLV ground game that rushed for 308 yards against USC on 43 carries.
While I like the Rebels' chance to cover the spread in this game, the best bet is to go with the "over" on the 54-point line. The total has gone over in 13 of their last 17 homes games and they could actually take this game over the total on their own.
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