Free NCAA Football Mid-Major Week 9 Pick from Expert Handicapper
At this point of the college football season, the opening betting lines for games in the five major conferences have gotten sharper and sharper with each passing week. While you can still find some betting value among the non-marquee matchups, your best bet for finding a few softer lines still lies in the other five Division IA (FBS) conferences affectionately known as the Mid Majors for professional handicappers like myself.
Going back to last week's free pick for Doc's, I really liked Buffalo as a slight one-point road favorite in last Saturday's MAC matchup against Toledo. The line shifted the other way with the Bulls getting three points on the closing line ahead of their impressive 31-17 win.
NCAAF Week 9 Mid-Major Top 25 Betting Overview
I have been tracking the AP Top 25 all season to see just how much love the Mid Major conferences have gotten this year, and the only shining star in this group has been the AAC's Central Florida Knights. They actually started the season in the rankings coming off a perfect 13-0 straight-up run through the 2017 season. With a perfect SU 7-0 start while going 5-2 against the spread, the Knights have climbed to No. 10 heading into this week's bye.
The AAC's No. 21 South Florida Bulls have also started the year at 7-0 SU, but they have been a much less reliable betting team at 2-5 ATS. They will be on the road this Saturday against 6-1 Houston as seven-point underdogs in one of the more interesting Mid-Major matchups on the slate.
The nation's top writers must be paying attention to what is going on outside the Power 5 with the Sun Belt's Appalachian State Mountaineers crashing the party this week at No. 25. At 5-1 (SU and ATS), their 2018 resume includes a tight seven-point loss to Penn State as 24-point road underdogs to start the season and four covers as double-digit favorites in four of their last five games.
NCAAF Mid-Major Free Pick of the Week
I am sticking with the MAC this week for my free pick with Northern Illinois going on the road to face BYU, playing as an Independent. The Huskies come in as seven-point road underdogs for this 3:30 p.m. start on ESPN this Saturday afternoon. However, I am more interested in the 43.5-point total line in this game.
I am actually shocked that the number is so low since I had it opening at 46 or 47 points. The Huskies are not known as an offensive power, but they have put up at least 24 points in four of their last five games as part of an overall record of 4-3. The total has stayed "under" in their last three games, but the line was set at 50 points or higher in each contest.
BYU is coming off a bye, and the total has gone "over" in 15 of its last 22 games following a week off. I am more impressed with the 49 points the Cougars hung on Hawaii their last time out. Overall, they are averaging 25.1 points per game this season as part of a 4-3 record SU and ATS. Defensively, things are headed in the wrong direction with a points-allowed average of 34.3 in their last three games.
This should remain a close, hard-fought battle through the fourth quarter that ultimately adds up to more than 43.5 total points on the scoreboard at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
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