Free NCAA Football Mid-Major Week 6 Pick from Expert Handicapper
My job as an expert handicapper for college football is to find the best value in a betting line regardless of which conference each team plays in. I was glued to my TV during last Saturday's Big Ten showdown between Ohio State and Penn State, but I was more interested in the bet I placed on a game involving a pair of teams from the Mountain West as one of my top betting conferences.
When it came to last week's free Mid-Major pick for Doc's, the "over" bet on a 52-point line in the Army at Buffalo game paid off even though the game did not play out as expected with the Black Nights winning 42-13 as 7.5-point underdogs. The value was in the 52-point total line based on each team's scoring potential. Turning to this week's free pick, I have turned my attention to Conference USA for Friday's matchup between Middle Tennessee and Marshall.
NCAAF Week 6 Mid-Major Top 25 Betting Overview
The AAC's Central Florida Knights have been the poster child for Mid Majors for the past two seasons with their current straight-up 17-game winning streak. The 4-0 SU start this season while going 3-1 against the spread has UCF ranked No. 12 in the latest AP Top 25 heading into Saturday night's home game against SMU. The Knights are favored by 24 points to keep this winning streak alive.
With BYU dropping out of the Top 25 from No. 20 following last Saturday's 35-7 loss to Washington as an 18-point road underdog, the Knights are the only Mid Major ranked in a national poll.
South Florida and Boise State spent some time in the AP Top 25 before dropping out following a loss. Each team remains on the watch list move back into the next poll along with Cincinnati.
NCAAF Mid-Major Free Pick of the Week: Middle Tennessee at Marshall ( -6)
Middle Tennessee is an even 2-2 both SU and ATS in its first four games following a tight 25-24 victory against Florida Atlantic as a 2.5-point home underdog last Saturday in its C-USA opener. Both of the Blue Raiders' losses this season came against a SEC team, including a 49-7 loss to Georgia as 34-point road underdogs.
This is a good mid-level team in C-USA, but it does not have the firepower on offense to keep pace with the better teams in this conference. Middle Tennessee is averaging just 365.5 yards of total offense producing an average of 25.0 points per game. In the absence of any high-level playmakers, there has been way too much pressure on a Blue Raiders' defense that has sunk to 109th in the nation in points allowed (36.3).
Marshall has been able to establish itself as one of the better teams in C-USA this season with a solid SU 3-1 start. The lone loss came against NC State in a 37-20 setback at home as a six-point underdog. Last Saturday, the Thundering Herd pulled out a 20-17 victory against Western Kentucky in their conference opener with a late fourth quarter score, but they could not cover as 3.5-point road favorites.
The one thing that did impress me about Marshall was the play of quarterback Isaiah Green, who has shown the ability to help his team quickly put points on the board. He has thrown for 1,108 yards and eight touchdowns in his first four games. While the overall numbers do not jump off the page, the fact that he is a legitimate playmaker gives the Thundering Herd the edge in Friday night's game.
Marshall has had the clear edge in the last two meetings by outscoring Middle Tennessee a combined score of 80-27. Things may remain a bit closer this time around, but I have the Thundering Herd covering the six points at home with relative ease.
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