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Beyond the BCS: Capping college football's small conferences

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: Rice Owls

This week:
-6.5 vs. Kansas

Rice kicked off its season with a tough road date at Texas A&M, but it accounted itself relatively well by pinning 31 points on the Aggies and covering the 28-point spread in a 52-31 loss. The Owls were even better last year against Kansas, going into Lawrence as 12-point underdogs and coming away with a 25-24 win.

Are the Jayhawks in line for some revenge? Maybe not. They are 1-4 ATS in their last five overall, 0-4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games, and 2-8 ATS in their last 10 against C-USA opposition. Rice is 4-0 ATS in its last four overall, 5-0 ATS in its last five out of conference, and 5-0 ATS in its last five against teams with winning records.

Team to beware: New Mexico State Aggies

This week: +6.5 vs. UTEP

It’s not like New Mexico State scheduled Texas and Minnesota to begin its season in order to get battle-tested for conference play. After all, the Aggies are independent. So it’s hard to see anything good having come from those two contests. New Mexico State lost at Texas 56-7 and to Minnesota 44-21. The Longhorns rushed for a bloated 359 yards and the Golden Gophers racked up 342 yards on the ground.

The Aggies are going up against a UTEP squad that gained 280 yards on 46 carries in a 42-35 loss last weekend. UTEP is 4-0 (3-1 ATS) in the last four season’s against New Mexico State. The Aggies’ own trends are not encouraging, either. They are 0-6 ATS in their last six overall, 0-5 ATS in their last five non-conference contests, and 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.

Total team: Troy Trojans

This week:
66.5 at Arkansas State

Quarterback Corey Robinson, who has surpassed 3,000 yards through the air in each of his first three seasons, is already up to his old tricks. Through two games of 2013, Robinson has completed a ridiculous 47 of 51 passes for 499 yards and five touchdowns without throwing an interception. Troy also rushed for a combined 419 yards in victories over UAB and Savannah State.

The over is 8-1 in the Trojans’ last nine overall, including 2-0 this year (they beat UAB 34-31 and Savannah State 66-3). Four of their last five non-conference games have gone over the total. Troy is facing an Arkansas State team that is averaging 547 yards per game, including 329.5 on the ground, in 2013.

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