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: East Carolina Pirates (8-2 SU, 5-5 ATS)
This week: -6.5 at North Carolina State
East Carolina has to be feeling good about itself at 8-2, which includes a current four-game winning streak in which it is beating opponents by an average of 36.25 points. It has to be feeling even better about getting to play North Carolina State Saturday.
The Wolfpack are 3-7 and one loss to Maryland away from their first winless ACC season since 1959. Don’t be fooled by N.C. State’s decent-looking pass defense (209.7 yards per game), which is going up against the strength of East Carolina (341.2 yards per game). The team is often getting blown out by halftime, at which point opponents resort to keeping the ball on the ground.
Quarterback Brandon Mitchell missed his sixth game of the season in last week’s loss to Boston College and the Wolfpack used three different signal-callers in his absence. Defensive tackle A.J. Ferguson is also questionable for NCSU with an undisclosed injury.
Team to beware: San Diego State Aztecs (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS)
This week: +7 vs. Boise State
San Diego State has won three in a row but it has won those games by an average of 5.3 points, despite playing two of the three worst teams in the Mountain West Conference in Hawaii and New Mexico. Starting safety Gabe Lemon is likely still out with a neck stinger. Defensive tackle Sam Meredith returned last week from missing two games with a torn right labrum, but he is far from 100 percent.
Boise State is faring just fine without quarterback Joe Southwick, who suffered a broken ankle on Oct. 19. In his first two games, replacement Grant Hedrick threw one touchdown and two interceptions. In his last two, however, he tossed eight scores compared to only one pick in wins over Colorado State and Wyoming.
Total team: Wyoming Cowboys (4-6 SU, 5-5 O/U)
This week: 62 vs. Hawaii
After allowing 23 points or fewer in three of its first four games, Wyoming has given up at least 31 points in each of its last six, including at least 48 points in four straight contests. The Cowboys moved from a 4-3 defensive scheme to a 3-4 and they rarely bring more than the minimum number of pass rushers while basically refusing to play press coverage on wide receivers at the line of scrimmage.
They are facing Hawaii running back Joey Iosefa, who has 72 carries for 341 yards and two touchdowns in his past two outings. The good news is that Hawaii’s run defense (201.4 ypg) is almost as bad as Wyoming’s (236.3). Wyoming is averaging 196 rushing yards per game. This has shootout written all over it.