Beyond the BCS: Capping college football's small conferences

Oct 22, 2013 |
The Under is 5-1 in Marshall’s last six overall heading into Week 9.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
The Under is 5-1 in Marshall’s last six overall heading into Week 9.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
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: Colorado State Rams (3-4 SU, 5-2 ATS)

This week: -5.5 at Hawaii

The Rams are battle tested on the road heading into Saturday’s date at winless Hawaii. They lost at Tulsa and Alabama before scoring a 30-point win at Wyoming last weekend. Colorado State churned out 509 yards at the Cowboys’ expense, including 290 yards on the ground. Quarterback Garrett Grayson threw three touchdown passes and has nine in his last three outings. The offensive unit should be licking its chops to an even greater extent against a 0-6 Hawaii squad that is allowing 475.8 yards per game. Colorado State won this matchup 42-27 at home last year.

The Rams are 5-1 ATS in their last six overall and 4-0 ATS in their last four road contests. Hawaii is 4-9 ATS in its last 13 Mountain West showdowns and 3-9 ATS in its last 12 against opponents with losing records.

Team to beware: Akron Zips (2-6 SU, 4-4 ATS)

This week: +10.5 vs. Ball State

Akron is 2-6 (1-3 MAC) and has lost five of its last six games. The Zips are coming off a road win at Miami (Ohio), which is 0-7 and has not come closer in any contest than it did in last week’s seven-point margin. Akron is 1-6 ATS in its last seven home games and 5-11 ATS in its last 16 conference dates. Ball State, on the other hand, is 7-2 ATS in its last seven against the MAC and 7-2 ATS in its last nine against teams with losing records.

If there is a weakness on Ball State (7-1, 4-0 MAC), it’s a rushing defense that surrenders 204.5 rushing yards per game. The Zips, though, likely can’t capitalize on such an opportunity. They are gaining a mere 107.9 yards per game on the ground.

Total team: Marshall Thundering Herd (4-2 SU, 1-5 O/U)

This week: 56.5 at Middle Tennessee

The Thundering Herd’s defense is the main reason why they are 4-2 overall and off to a 2-0 start in the C-USA. Marshall is allowing just 117.8 rushing yards and 180.3 passing yards per contest. It has given up more than 23 points in regulation only once this season.

Middle Tennessee, meanwhile, is averaging only 176.9 yards per game through the air and running back William Pratcher, who rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns in his team’s season opener, is out for the season.

The Under is 5-1 in Marshall’s last six overall and 5-1 in Middle Tennessee’s last six overall. It is 6-2 in Middle Tennessee’s last eight road games and 5-1 in its last six against opponents with winning records.
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