Florida Atlantic vs Middle Tennessee State Betting Odds & Picks: September 30th 2008
The Owls of Florida Atlantic (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) are the defending champions of the Sun Belt Conference, but have been a little disappointing thus far. On Tuesday night they will hit the road to face off against the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) in NCAA college football action that is set to get underway at 8 PM ET at Horace Jones Field/Floyd Stadium (artificial turf) in Murfreesboro, TN.
NCAA Football Betting Odds: MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE -3
Here are some of the NCAA college football betting trends as they relate to this matchup:
* FAU has covered five of its last seven games
* FAU has played nine of its last 12 games OVER the total
* FAU has covered four of its last six road games
* FAU has lost 17 of its last 25 road games SU
* MT is 2-4-1 ATS in its last seven games
* MT has lost five of its last six games SU
* MT has played its last five games UNDER the total
* MT has covered four of its last six home games
* MT has played four of its last five home games UNDER the total
To put it mildly, Rusty Smith has been a disappointment. The signal-caller for Florida Atlantic University generated quite a bit of buzz when he went 25 of 32 for 336 yards and five touchdowns in last year’s New Orleans Bowl, highlighting a season where he tossed 32 TD’s with just nine INT’s. Coming into his junior season, the speculation was whether Smith, who has NFL size, would opt out of college early and become one of the top two or three QB’s selected in the draft.
But right now Smith looks like a guy who’s got to go back to the drawing board. He misfired against Texas in the season opener, was just 17 of 34 with FOUR interceptions against Minnesota, and was a dismal 8 for 34 against Michigan State. He has hit on just 46% of his throws, and his Owls have generated just 13 points in their three losses. If there is some encouragement, it’s that Smith has been sacked only once this year, and when stepping down in quality of competition, against UAB, he threw for 325 yards and three TD’s in a 49-34 win. So it is not implausible to assume that against this Sun Belt Conference foe, he’ll be more productive. Middle Tennessee is 70th nationally in pass efficiency defense, although they have yielded just 56% completions.
The Owls will undoubtedly have to turn Charles Pierre (6.5 ypc) loose to help free up things for Smith, and such a thing is not impossible. The Blue Raiders have gotten better stuff out of Joe Craddock, who is 65% with 1076 yards passing, but they can’t run a lick (just 1.9 ypc).
When sufficiently motivated, MTSU can produce; in Week 2 of the season, the Raiders controlled the ball for nearly 40 minutes and scored a ten-point win over Maryland, which has since beaten nationally-ranked California and Clemson. This is a big occasion, with a crowd “blackout” scheduled.
The thing is, we’re absolutely convinced Smith is not as bad as his current stats would indicate, and after facing Big 12 and Big Ten foes, this MTSU defense may provide a bit of relief. The Owls have a more balanced offense, and let’s forget that to win the Sun Belt title and gain the bowl berth last year, FAU had to go on the road and beat Troy. Look for Howard Schnellenberger to pull something out of his bag of tricks and get things going in starting this “new slate” in conference play. Take the points with FAU, the three-point underdog in the BetUS NCAA college football betting odds.
JAY’S PLAY: FLORIDA ATLANTIC +3 **
(Graded on a scale of 1-4 stars)