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Finding the Next Dwight Dasher
by Nick Parsons

This article was written by Nick Parsons.

Sharp bettors found a hidden gem last year when Middle Tennessee failed to cover the +18.5 spread in their 37-14 opening day loss to Clemson. The stat line nor the ESPN game recap failed to provide any indication of how well Dwight Dasher ran the offense in the 2nd half.

Dasher did throw 2 INTs in the opening quarter, but the team did show potential in the second half. Dasher led three drives over 40 yards, one being an 85 yard drive that resulted in a TD.

The poor result in game one and the lack of coverage on Dasher’s performance by ESPN, actually gave backers a golden opportunity. Those who watched the game saw a completely different offense in the 2nd half, but the stat line would help make Middle Tennessee an undervalued team for the rest of the season.

MTSU went on to cover the spread 10 times in their next 12 games and not once, even on their winning streak, were they listed as more than a 17 point favorite. That 17 points spread by the way was against 0-12 Western Kentucky, which was easily covered with a 62-24 Blue Raiders victory.

Solid QBs in small conferences have always been a solid bet throughout the season, Dasher not only proved this but so did CMU’s Dan LeFevour in his senior year where he led the Chippewas to a 9-3-1 ATS record.

What is important in the first week is to look beyond the stat line, because remember most of these small conference teams are playing against top BCS teams on the road. Anyways here are some QBs to keep your eye on.

Wesley Carroll & Wayne Younger, FIU

FIU has yet to have a winning season in FCS play, and only twice in 2005 and 2008, did they have above .500 ATS years. Don’t expect to see any improvement with their opening slate consisting of Rutgers at home and then three road games against Texas A&M, Maryland, and Pittsburgh.

But they do have a decent competition at QB with ex Mississippi State Bulldog Wesley Carroll and SR Wayne Younger. With the tough schedule expect a lot of turnovers, but its important to observe how well either Carroll or Younger respond after a bad series or play.

Zac Dysert, Miami (Oh)

Opening day at the Swamp won’t be pretty, with books listing the Redhawks as 35 point underdogs against the Gators. Last year wasn’t a delight either, with the team going 1-11. The lone bright spot was QB, Zac Dysert, now a sophomore.

Dysert threw 16 interceptions to 12 TDs in 2009, but expect an improved performance this year. The Redhawks won’t generate much offense against Florida, but do look for how the second year QB reads the blitzes and coverage. Dysert isn’t completely under the radar as some publications have him as 1st team all MAC, but with a blowout expected on opening day, expect future value throughout the season.

Diondre Borel, Utah States

In the WAC, everyone’s sleeper QB is Nathan Enderle at Idaho, and that could be the problem this year, is that he’s “everyone’s sleeper”. Even Mel Kiper has him listed as the #3 Senior QB in the NCAA.

A player in the same conference that could have a better year is Utah State’s Diondre Borel. The Senior QB threw 2885 yards and 17 TDs last year with only 4 INTs. He added 458 yards and 6 TDs on the ground. The Aggies went just 4-8, but went 8-3 ATS.

Their opener at Oklahoma will obviously be tough, and even that -31.5 spread they have to cover could be out of reach, Borely though, definitely does have the talent to lead the Aggies to a winning record.

Basically when watching opening day, be on the lookout for things that the stat line won’t tell you. Observe how well the offensive line handles double teams and where are the weak spots. Are the QB and WR in sync? Were passes just broken up by solid plays on defense? See if after a blowout if one of the smaller conference team responds differently by putting in decent drives. They will be playing against the 2nd or 3rd teams, but their talent is often the equivalent of the teams they will playing in conference play.

And as MTSU’s season showed last year, just because a team gets blown out on opening day, doesn’t mean they won’t be a good bet later on. In fact it may help.

FYI and way off topic but important: early line movement on UCLA at Kansas State. Wildcats opened at +2.5 dogs, but now listed as 3 point favorites

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