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Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Betting Odds & Pick: Take Under Despite 49ers’ Defensive Woes

Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Betting Odds & Pick: Take Under Despite 49ers’ Defensive Woes article feature image

Silas Walker/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Reynolds.

Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Odds

Thursday, Oct. 21
7:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
FAU Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-108o / -112u
Charlotte Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-108o / -112u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Entering Thursday night, Charlotte sits at the top of the Conference USA East standings with a 2-0 record in conference play. The 49ers have bounced back from a disappointing 2-4 finish in 2020 and have utilized an efficient passing game to sport a 4-2 record.

Meanwhile, Florida Atlantic enters the contest at 3-3 after some bad losses to Air Force and UAB over its past three games.

To date, the Owls haven’t really played in a competitive contest. Its three losses have come by an average of more than 20 points per game, while its three wins have come by 32, 31, and 37 points.

It’s probably not the start that FAU fans were hoping for after ranking in the top five in preseason conference championship odds, but a win here would put the Owls right back at the top of the divisional standings.

Both teams have shown their fair share of definite strengths and significant weaknesses in 2021. With that in mind, who is best set up to capitalize in this matchup?

Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic Offense

The FAU offense hasn’t been anything special this year, but it has definitely improved from a horrendous 2020 performance.

Miami transfer quarterback N’Kosi Perry has elevated FAU’s play at the position, and he currently ranks just outside the top 40 quarterbacks in adjusted yards per attempt.

However, the surrounding parts aren’t making Perry’s job any easier. The offensive line ranks 115th in pressure rate allowed, and the receiving corps’ PFF grade of 62 ranks outside the top 100 as well. Perry has played fine individually, but the passing game hasn’t been great overall because of those other factors.

The ground game has been better, ranking 41st in Expected Points Added (EPA) per rush. Running back Johnny Ford has arguably been the biggest bright spot on offense and leads the Conference USA in missed tackles forced per attempt, per PFF.

Florida Atlantic Defense

So far, the FAU defense has outpaced the offense.

The highlight of the defense has been the secondary, which is good news when considering where the strength of Charlotte’s offense is.

The leader of the back end has been safety Teja Young, who has allowed just eight catches for 72 yards on 182 coverage snaps, per PFF. As of now, his 89.4 coverage grade ranks fourth in the nation among safeties, and Young has been a major part of a defense that ranks 16th in Passing Success Rate Allowed.

To date, the Owls haven’t allowed a single opponent to pass for eight yards or more per attempt.

While the secondary is easily one of the best in the conference, FAU’s front seven hasn’t been particularly effective in terms of raw numbers.

The Owls rank 51st in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, due largely to some rough games against two very efficient rushing attacks in Florida and Air Force.

While those games were bad for the run defense, FAU has completely stifled its four other opponents on the ground, so there is definitely room for optimism despite an unspectacular ranking.

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Charlotte 49ers

Charlotte Offense

Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds has been the highlight for the 49ers in his fourth year as a starter, as he ranks 22nd in adjusted yards per attempt on the year.

Reynolds has two effective weapons on the outside in Grant DuBose and Victor Tucker, who have combined for 892 yards in two games and have generated 68% of the team’s total receiving yards.

In terms of PFF receiving grade, each ranks in the top 10 at their position in the conference, and are heavy contributors to a passing attack that ranks 25th in EPA per throw.

One clear weakness of this group is the offensive line. It ranks 106th in pass-blocking grade and 87th in run-blocking grade, per PFF. The ground game has been impacted by the weak line more than the passing attack has, as Charlotte sits 73rd in EPA per carry.

Overall, this is a top-40 offense in terms of Success Rate. While it has been productive in total, it has done so against the 105th-ranked offensive strength of schedule, per my numbers.

The Owls, especially in the secondary, will be a step up in competition from most of the defenses Charlotte has played so far.

Charlotte Defense

There aren’t many good things to say about the 49ers’ defense. In terms of EPA, Charlotte ranks outside the top 100 against the pass and the run. Outside of Week 2 against FCS Gardner Webb, Charlotte’s defense hasn’t really had a solid performance all year.

It seems like Charlotte’s defense gets abused in one facet in every game, including the wins.

It was absolutely gashed on the ground by the likes of Duke and Illinois and then was chasing its tail in the passing game against Florida International and Middle Tennessee, despite coming away with wins in both of those games.

Markees Watts has been a bright spot for this team on the edge with 5.5 tackles for loss. He’s also generated four of Charlotte’s 10 sacks on the year. Additionally, he’s second on the team in tackles and has even added a pass breakup. There aren’t a ton of pieces in this group, but Watts has definitely been the highlight.

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Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Florida Atlantic and Charlotte match up statistically:

Florida Atlantic Offense vs. Charlotte Defense
Rush Success 30 96
Line Yards 38 118
Pass Success 41 65
Pass Blocking** 110 117
Big Play 51 81
Havoc 79 63
Finishing Drives 54 42
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Charlotte Offense vs. Florida Atlantic Defense
Rush Success 56 51
Line Yards 59 82
Pass Success 49 16
Pass Blocking** 106 102
Big Play 25 10
Havoc 88 101
Finishing Drives 25 31
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 89 106
Coverage 21 110
Middle 8 7 75
SP+ Special Teams 89 74
Plays per Minute 31 121
Rush Rate 53.3% (73) 57.4% (49)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Florida Atlantic vs. Charlotte Betting Pick

It’s scary to say this with how Charlotte’s defense has performed this season, but the under is definitely worth a look here.

One big factor in that reasoning is pace, especially on Charlotte’s side of the ball. The 49ers rank 128th in seconds per play on offense and 114th in drives per game. While Florida Atlantic ranks in the middle of the pack in seconds per play, it joins Charlotte in ranking outside the top 100 in possessions per game.

I’m projecting just under 23 total possessions in this matchup, nearly two possessions lower than the national average.

This total opened at 54.5 on Sunday but shot up to 57 by Monday afternoon. Compared to my projection of 51.3, the over steam has turned this total into one of my bigger edges on the board.

It’s key to remember to always respect the market and understand that there’s usually good reason for line movement, but I do like the under at this price based on my projections.

A very strong FAU secondary could cause problems for an offense that has picked on a terrible schedule of opposing defenses so far, and the overall pace could limit possessions on both sides.

Pick: Under 57

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