It was a nice weekend for the GMS underdog picks last week, and it was this close to being a great week. Fresno State had a trick-play interception in the end zone when it could have tied Minnesota late, and a Bulldogs victory there (or a loss by one if FSU had chosen to go for two and the win) would have made us 4-1 against the spread.
As it was, three other picks not only covered but won outright, so hopefully readers took some chances with money-line bets and made some money.
Lessons learned this week: Don’t bet against Alabama. No matter how high the total, no matter the spread. The Crimson Tide probably won’t cover every spread this season, but that team is a machine, even more so than in past years.
On to Week 3, where there are plenty of possibilities for dogs to bark.
Underdog pick No. 1: Toledo
10. Miami (Florida) (-10.5), noon ET, ESPN2
There’s some uncertainty with both teams here; in their last game, each pounded an FCS opponent, so that tells us little. Toledo had a bye last week and so comes they with extra rest and the emotional incentive to beat a Top 25 team at home. Miami, meanwhile, still has the wounds from an ugly loss to LSU in its season opener. Can the Hurricanes create enough offense to outpace Toledo, one of the MAC’s most consistent programs, by more than 10 points? It seems more likely this is a close game into the fourth quarter, and in that case, you’d like to be on the side of the team getting double-digit points.
Pick: Toledo +10.5
Underdog pick No. 2: Vanderbilt
At Notre Dame (-14.5), 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC
One of the best ways to find value in bets is to identify teams that are undervalued and others that are overvalued. Notre Dame has a fine team this year, to be sure, but big brands like the Fighting Irish are almost always overvalued by public bettors, which typically artificially drives up point spreads. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, is a traditional SEC punching bag. But the Commodores have two easy wins against solid mid-major teams in Middle Tennessee and Nevada and have the defense to stay close in this one. Notre Dame is the better team but hasn’t exactly lit up opposing defenses yet. The spread should probably be more like eight or nine in this game, so with 14.5, Vandy is a nice choice, and even one that even has a slight possibility of pulling the outright big-money upset.
Pick: Vanderbilt +14.5
Underdog pick No. 3: Boise State
At Oklahoma State (-3), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Oklahoma State is a legitimate top 20 team playing in front of what should be a raucous crowd, so this certainly seems like an unorthodox pick. But that should tell you how strongly you should regard Boise State after the Broncos beat a very solid Troy team like a drum after traveling across the country and then did the same to Connecticut. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State hasn’t challenged itself in two outings yet, and the Cowboys might need a quarter or a half to get up to Boise’s level. By then, it could be too late.
Pick: Boise State +3
Underdog pick No. 4: North Texas
At Arkansas (-7), 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network
This is a bit of a trendy pick, so be cautious, but North Texas has an explosive offense and Arkansas proved that might be a problem last week when it fell apart in the fourth quarter at Colorado State. The Razorbacks are back in the friendly confines of Fayetteville for this one, but the Mean Green also could be one of the biggest mid-major surprises in the country. Buckle up for a wild one and don’t be shocked if North Texas pulls the outright upset.
Pick: North Texas +7
Underdog pick No. 5: Tulsa
Vs. Arkansas State, 7 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network
This line frankly feels like it should be the other way, and it very well might be by Saturday morning, so act quickly if you want to grab some good money-line juice on the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa grades out slightly better than Arkansas State in most computer rankings and is playing at home. Arkansas State also has the disadvantage of having been physically beat up by Alabama for 60 minutes last Saturday. Tulsa is technically an underdog, though, so jump on this line while you can.
Pick: Tulsa +1
SEASON RECORD: 5-7 ATS, 4-8 straight up
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