College Football Odds & Picks: Betting Value With Florida Atlantic’s Ground Game Against Southern Miss

College Football Odds & Picks: Betting Value With Florida Atlantic’s Ground Game Against Southern Miss article feature image
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Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Malcolm Davidson.

  • The Southern Miss Golden Eagles will be looking for their third win of the season when they take on the Florida Atlantic Owls in Thursday night college football action.
  • The Owls have leaned on the ground game this season, which bodes well for them given the Golden Eagles' inability to stop the run.
  • Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting breakdown with updated odds below.

Florida Atlantic vs. Southern Miss Odds

Florida Atlantic Odds -8.5 [BET NOW]
Southern Miss Odds +8.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -345/+270 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 42 [BET NOW]
Time Thursday, 6:30 p.m. ET
TV CBSSN
Odds as of Wednesday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

After dropping only its second game of the season, Florida Atlantic looks to rebound on the road against Southern Miss.

Florida Atlantic went on the road to Georgia Southern and received a gift right before kickoff, as the Eagles’ starting quarterback couldn’t play due to injury. However, the Owls struggled on the offensive side of the ball and were held to only three points.

Willie Taggart tried to switch to a running quarterback to unleash the FAU rushing attack, but it ended up backfiring. However, the Owls should have a much easier time running the ball on Thursday night.

It’s been a disaster of a season for Southern Miss. It currently sits at 2-7 after its head coach resigned after one game. To make matters sound even worse, one of those wins came against FCS opponent North Alabama. The Golden Eagles haven’t played in over three weeks after having their last two games canceled due to COVID-19, so it’ll be interesting to see whether or not they’re ready to play on Thursday.

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Florida Atlantic Owls

Offense

New head coach Taggart had the Florida Atlantic offense humming through its first six games before running into a brick wall last week against Georgia Southern.

Almost all of its success has come on the ground. Entering the season, the Owls returned their top four running backs and have been gaining 4.5 yards per rush attempt since. Malcolm Davidson has been their best back, averaging 7.1 yards per carry.

The passing attack has struggled, though, as Nick Tronti averages only 5.6 yards per attempt. However, Javion Posey took over at quarterback against UMass and Georgia Southern, but he hasn’t found much success as a passer.

Posey, though, is a legit dual-threat option. He’s averaging 7.2 yards per carry on the ground, and Southern Miss struggles in stopping the run. So, I expect Florida Atlantic to run wild on Thursday night.

Defense

Florida Atlantic has gone through a lot of changes on the defensive side of the ball. The Owls returned only 43% of their defensive production from last year, including their entire defensive line.

So far, Florida Atlantic has been outstanding versus the run and pass, ranking inside the top 20 in both Defensive Rushing Success and Passing Success. Its strength, though, has been against the run, as it’s allowing only 3.6 yards per rush attempt.

Southern Miss has struggled to run the ball this year, so it will likely be forced to become one-dimensional in this game, which will play right into Florida Atlantic’s hands given how good its secondary is.


Southern Miss Golden Eagles

Offense

The Golden Eagles haven’t been terrible on the offensive side of the ball this season.

When he’s been playing, senior quarterback Jack Abraham has been pretty efficient, throwing for 8.2 yards per attempt. However, as of Nov. 20, Abraham has elected to transfer out of the program, elevating former West Virginia-transfer Trey Lowe III into the starting quarterback role. Most recently, Lowe completed 6-of-14 pass attempts for 67 yards against Western Kentucky on Nov. 14.

He has a number of different targets to throw to, as Southern Miss’ top four wideouts all have more than 20 catches on the season. However, this will be the best secondary that Southern Miss has faced all season. So, it’ll be interesting to see how effective the passing game is given how long it’s been since the Golden Eagles have played.

Frank Gore, Jr. — yes, the son of that Frank Gore — is the bell cow for the Golden Eagles’ rushing attack and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry on the season. However, much like Lowe’s passing matchup, this is the best run defense Gore has seen all season long. So, the Southern Miss offense is likely going to struggle on Thursday night.

Defense

The Golden Eagles have had all sorts of issues on the defensive side of the ball, which is what ultimately led to head coach Jay Hopson’s resignation. Southern Miss is giving up a whopping 6.0 yards per play and has struggled mightily in the secondary.

Southern Miss is giving up 8.2 yards per pass attempt and ranks in the bottom 30 in Defensive Passing Success and Passing Success Allowed, per College Football Data. Although Florida Atlantic isn’t much of an aerial threat with Posey at quarterback, it could still find success against Southern Miss’ secondary.

The Golden Eagles haven’t been much better versus the run either, allowing 4.7 yards per attempt while ranking 71st in Defensive Rushing Success. Against Liberty and Tulane, two above-average run-oriented offenses, Southern Miss allowed over 600 rushing yards and 6.8 yards per attempt. So, how are the Golden Eagles magically going to stop a dynamic rushing attack in Florida Atlantic?

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Betting Analysis & Pick

I think Florida Atlantic’s dynamic rushing attack with Posey at quarterback is going to give the Southern Miss defense fits all night long. Additionally, the Owls may have the best defense in Conference USA, so Lowe and Gore are going to have a difficult time moving the ball.

I have Florida Atlantic projected as -13.82 favorites on the road, so I think there’s value on the Owls at -8.5.

Pick: Florida Atlantic -8.5 (up to -9.5).

[Bet Florida Atlantic now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

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