Florida Atlantic vs. Florida International Odds & Picks: How to Bet Friday’s C-USA Rivalry
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Sage Lewis (3).
Florida Atlantic vs. Florida International
|Florida Atlantic Odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Florida International Odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-360 / +275 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||41.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Friday, 7 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
Florida Atlantic Owls
As mentioned in our Week 11 Pace Report, there has been an identity change on the defensive side of the ball with coordinator Jim Leavitt.
The Owls have obtained a top-30 rank in coverage, sack rate and against opponent pass explosiveness through four games. A tackling grade of 22nd in the country is just the tip of the iceberg.
Safety Jordan Helm ranks top-35 in individual pass coverage, and corners Zyon Gilbert and Romain Mungin have allowed less than a 50% completion rate when targeted by opposing quarterbacks.
Offensively, head coach Willie Taggart has been rush-based without much success moving the chains, but the Owls have achieved a handful of explosive plays.
There may continue to be formations to get the ball into the Owls’ biggest offensive threats, with quarterback Javion Posey getting a boost against Western Kentucky with nine rushing attempts last Saturday. However, Posey was picked off on his lone passing attempt, which has been par for the course in Florida Atlantic’s air attack.
Quarterback Nick Tronti has taken 10 sacks, a batted pass, four scrambles and five throwaways in 102 drop backs. The offensive line has been unable to protect Tronti, nor have the wide receivers been helpful when open. In 47 pass completions, Florida Atlantic’s skill personnel has only evaded eight total tackles.
Florida International Panthers
The season has been tough sledding for the Panthers with so many COVID-19 interruptions. Scheduled opponents Central Florida, Charlotte, Marshall and UTEP have all been affected by the pandemic.
The Panthers have played just a single game since Oct. 10, which was a nine-point loss to Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks logged over a 50% success rate in running plays and standard downs against a Panthers defense that ranks 100th in tackling per Pro Football Focus.
In more positive news, there is explosiveness in the offensive ground game. Malcolm Davidson averages 4.2 yards after contact, while James Charles has avoided 16 tackles on 33 rushing attempts this season.
Betting Analysis & Picks
Oddsmakers will be short of gamblers looking to invest in a Florida International team that has played just once in a month and was soundly defeated by an FCS team.
That may work to the benefit of sharp investors, but the question remains if the Panthers are focused and motivated.
Our Action Network projection lines Florida Atlantic at -7, but this is a short week for the Owls against a well-rested Panthers team. Taggart mentioned the quarterback position is “always open,” indicating Posey may see an increase in snaps that will have a parallel effect on the rise in rush rate.
If the expected rush rate is going to increase for the Owls, it is important to note that Florida International has one of the worst passing attacks with a tempo that ranks 67th overall.
Weather could also play a factor, as a tropical storm makes its way over South Florida midweek.
While the precipitation will pass through by Friday’s kickoff, the winds will still be present with a forecast of 10 mph throughout the game.
Tropical storm Eta makes landfall on Lower Matecumbe Key with 65 mph winds. pic.twitter.com/82F3zZDc9T
— Craig Setzer (@CraigSetzer) November 9, 2020
More and more factors line this game up to be an Under play. But, as the total dips, value increases on a Florida International number north of a touchdown.
The Panthers are top-40 in opponent explosiveness with a rank of 44th in defensive line yards. Those numbers are amazing considering the COVID-19 disruption to the staff and players. A healthy Panthers team with a full 85-man roster and coaching staff should be available for Friday night.
Pick: Under 42 or better; Florida International +9 or better