Bet of the Day – MTSU Blue Raiders at Arkansas State Red Wolves, Nov. 2, 2010

MTSU Blue Raiders (-2) at Arkansas State Red Wolves (+2), Over/Under 59

Yesterday’s bet, Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts, was a winner.  Hopefully, you held on to your Giants World Series bet or locked in a guaranteed profit early in the series.  Not many games of interest today, so I am going with the college football game.  Both of these teams are better than the public may realize.  This is a key conference game in primetime.

The MTSU Blue Raiders are 3-3 and coming off a good win over Louisiana Monroe (held them to minus 4 yards rushing).  The MTSU offense has looked better since their home loss to Troy.  The Blue Raiders average 5.4 yards per play (YPP) and 14.3 yards per point scored (YPPT) on offense.  On defense, they allow 4.8 YPP and 13.8 YPPT.  Decent efficiency on offense, but they give up too many yards and let teams convert too many points.  QB Dwight Dasher now enters his 4th game back.  Dasher is INT prone but a dangerous runner.   Arkansas State will certainly be keying on Dasher, but MTSU also has two solid running backs to carry the load.  This is a big game for both teams.  Expect a big effort from MTSU.

Arkansas State has already played 8 games.  They are 3-5 overall but have been tough in conference games.  The Red Wolves average 5.4 YPP and 14.0 YPPT on offense.  On defense, they allow 6.5 YPP and 15.0 YPPT.  The Red Wolves are okay on offense.   Their defense isn’t great; they give up too many yards but are okay at limiting converted points (this seems to be driven by consistently forcing turnovers).  Sophomore QB Ryan Aplin is averaging 7.10 yards per attempt for 13 TDs and 7 INTs with a 129.88 QB rating.  Arkansas State has played more games and faced tougher teams.  They are a home underdog in primetime conference game.

The Sagarin Ratings have Arkansas State 58.52 and MTSU 52.83.  With the 3.03 point home advantage, the fair line is Arkansas State -8.72.  This isn’t close to the current line of MTSU -2.  According to pregame.com, 53% of bets are on Arkansas State.  Yesterday, the % bet on Arkansas State was in the mid 60’s.  The line has moved to -2 and money is clearly being bet on MTSU.

My football model predicts Arkansas State 29.3 over MTSU 28.0 for 57.3 total points.  The offensive numbers are very similar.  On defense, Ark State gives up more total yards but MTSU is less efficient.  The key variance contributors are both teams defensive yards allowed.  Whichever team allows fewer yards relative to their mean allowed should win the game.

Not sure what to make of the point spread.  There is heavy betting on MTSU but the numbers give me a slight lean to Ark State.  Not enough of a lean for me to take either side, so tonight I am going to tease the Over with another game.  Here’s why.  Both teams move the ball well and can score points.  Both teams have mediocre (at best) defenses.  Dwight Dasher is now in his fourth game back and was much improved last game.  I modeled the game at 57.3 points and expect this game could turn into a shootout.  Bet a 7-point teaser with MTSU/Arkansas State Over 52 and Houston Cougars +9.5. If you can find Houston +10, even better.

Will update with NFL Week 9 simulations tonight or tomorrow morning.  Follow me on Twitter for all my picks.  Good Luck!

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