USA Today Sports

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: Utah State Aggies (5-4 SU, 6-3 ATS)

This week: -13.5 at UNLV

Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton is out for the season, but backup Darell Garretson is doing just fine, especially after getting one start under his belt. In his last two games, the freshman has completed 43 of 64 passes for 514 yards and four touchdowns with just one interception. The Aggies beat New Mexico and Hawaii by a combined score of 92-20 in those two contests.

On the other side of the ball, Utah State starts seven seniors and three juniors. The lone sophomore of the experienced unit, Kyler Fackrell, earned Mountain West Defender of the Week honors for his performance against Hawaii. UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck praised his opponents' defense for disguising its formations and throwing off quarterbacks with different looks.    

The Aggies are 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight conference games and 5-1 ATS in their last six against the Rebels.

Team to beware: Tulsa Golden Hurricane (2-6 SU, 1-7 ATS)


This week: +17 at East Carolina

The Golden Hurricane have scored 22 total points in their current two-game slide. Head coach Bill Blankenship apologized to fans after last week's dreadful 34-15 Homecoming loss to Texas-San Antonio. Tulsa linebacker Trent Martin is questionable after missing the last two games due to a knee injury. Despite playing in five of eight games he is still third on the team with 4.5 tackles for loss.

Tulsa is 1-7 ATS in its last eight overall and 1-4 ATS in its last five road games. The Golden Hurricane may have a hard time reversing those trends because this doesn’t look like a great matchup for them. Taking to the ground is their strength on offense but they are going up against an East Carolina defense that is giving up just 85.3 rushing yards per game.

Total team: UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (6-2 SU, 5-3 O/U)


This week: 67.5 vs. Troy

Louisiana-Lafayette is averaging 43.7 points per outing in its current six-game winning streak. It scored 35 in the second half of last week's 49-35 win over New Mexico State and running back Alonzo Harris ran for five touchdowns. Troy, Thursday's opponent, may be without stud safety Camren Hudson, who will be a game-time decision. For ULL, linebacker Chris Hill (sixth leading tackler on the team with 30, including three for loss) missed last week’s game against New Mexico State due to a concussion and is questionable.

The over is 6-0-1 in UL Lafayette's last seven home games. It is 14-2 in Troy's last 16 overall, 4-1 in its last five on the road, and 8-2 in its last 10 conference games.

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