Some of the best betting value in college football is hiding beyond the BCS, in the small conferences. Each week, Covers Experts’ Doc’s Sports will look at the little programs that could help you make big cash this college season.
Team to watch: Alabama-Birmingham Blazers (2-9 SU, 4-7 ATS)
This week: -14.5 vs. Southern Mississippi
UAB may be better than its five-game losing streak suggests. As a 17-point underdog last Saturday, it extended an 8-3 Rice team to overtime before falling 37-34. This week's matchup should be a good one for the Blazers. The weakness of their team (232.2 rushing yards allowed per game) is going up against a futile Southern Mississippi rushing attack (70.3 ypg). On the other side of the ball, UAB averages 181.1 yards on the ground while the Golden Eagles give up 231.8.
Southern Mississippi has not won a game since the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24, 2011. For those counting, that's 23 consecutive losses. That also means zero career wins for head coach Todd Monken, who replaced UNC-bound Larry Fedora after the 2011 campaign. Freshman quarterback Nick Mullens threw two pick-sixes in last week's 42-21 setback against Middle Tennessee. The Golden Eagles lost 27-19 as 4-point home favorites against UAB last year and they are now 0-4 ATS in the last four head-to-head meetings.
Team to beware: Western Michigan Broncos (1-10 SU, 3-8 ATS)
This week: +35 at Northern Illinois
The 1-10 Broncos are still playing with freshman quarterback Zach Terrell, who has made five starts in place of senior Tyler Van Tubbergen. Only once has Terrell thrown for more touchdowns than interceptions (Western Michigan's lone win of the season, 31-30 scalp of Massachusetts on Oct. 26). Tuesday signals the final home game for Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch. He has thrown seven TDs and zero picks in his last four games for the undefeated and 16th-ranked Huskies.
Western Michigan is 1-8 ATS in its last nine conference games, 1-7 ATS in its last eight overall, 2-13-1 ATS in its last 16 against Northern Illinois, and 0-8 ATS in its last eight road trips in this head-to-head series.
Total team: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (4-7 SU, 2-9 O/U)
This week: 48 at Texas-San Antonio
Louisiana Tech will likely be without running back Kenneth Dixon and wide receiver Andrew Guillot for Saturday's contest at Texas-San Antonio. Dixon (knee) has 151 rushes for 917 yards and four touchdowns (plus one receiving) in 10 games. Guillot (arm) has 26 receptions for 320 yards and four touchdowns in seven games. The Bulldogs have scored 14 points in each of their last two outings. Without Dixon in last week’s loss to Tulsa, they attempted 43 passes and were picked off four times.
The under is 4-1 in Louisiana Tech's last five conference games and 9-2 in its last 11 overall. As for Texas-San Antonio, the under is 7-1 in its last eight against Conference-USA opposition and 5-1 in its last six overall.