College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee: Betting Guide For Conference USA Duel

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee: Betting Guide For Conference USA Duel article feature image
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Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Grant Wells.

  • Marshall and Middle Tennessee both enter this game on losing streaks.
  • Blue Raiders' quarterback Chase Cunningham has eight touchdowns and zero interceptions this season.
  • Alex Hinton previews the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee Odds

Marshall Odds -11 (-110)
Middle Tennessee Odds +11 (-110)
Moneyline +320 / -425
Over/Under 65.5 (-110 / -110)
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV Stadium
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Marshall Thundering Herd enter this matchup against Middle Tennessee coming off a pair of heartbreaking losses in each of the past two weeks.

The Thundering Herd blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead to East Carolina, eventually losing 42-38.

Last week’s game saw a bad beat for bettors against Appalachian State, when Mountaineers running back Nate Noel slid short of the end zone to run out the clock and not cover the -7.5 point spread. Before that, Marshall led most of the game and had a nine-point fourth-quarter lead before falling 31-30.

Now, Marshall travels to Middle Tennessee for its Conference USA opener.

The Blue Raiders have already played two conference games and come in at 1-3 overall and 0-2 in C-USA play.

Middle Tennessee started the year with a 50-15 win over Monmouth, but it has dropped three straight to Virginia Tech, UTSA and Charlotte.

This will be the ninth meeting in the series and each team has won four matchups thus far. Marshall won last year’s meeting 42-14.


Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee Betting Preview

Saturday, October 2
7 p.m. ET
Stadium

Marshall Thundering Herd

Marshall Offense

Marshall’s offense has been one of the most prolific in the FBS this season.

The Thundering Herd rank 16th in scoring at 40.3 points per game and fifth in total offense, averaging 552 yards.

Marshall has done most of its damage through the air, ranking fifth in passing yards at 382 and 21st in Passing Success Rate.

Quarterback Grant Wells was a game manager last year, but he’s taken a leap in his second year as a starter. He’s increased his yards per attempt from last year — 7.7 to 9.2 — and is on pace to double his passing yardage from last year.

One thing Wells needs to clean up is turnovers, having thrown five interceptions in the first four games this season.

Wide receiver Corey Gammage is Wells’ No. 1 target,and he leads the team with 25 catches and 365 yards.

Running back Rasheen Ali paces the ground game with 376 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.


Marshall Defense

In the early part of 2021, Marshall’s defense has taken a step back from the dominant unit it was in 2021.

A big reason is its rushing defense.

Last year, Marshall gave up 79.5 rushing yards per game and that number is 214.3 so far in 2021. The Thundering Herd rank 95th in Rushing Success Rate defensively, but Middle Tennessee is not going to threaten them on the ground.

Marshall has excelled at getting after the quarterback this season and ranks fourth in Pass Rush Grade, according to Pro Football Focus. Marshall has 18 sacks in its first four games, with linebackers Eli Neal (three) and Charlie Gray (two) leading the way.


Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Middle Tennessee Offense

The Blue Raiders began the season with Bailey Hockman under center, but he opted to give up football after the UTSA game, paving the way for Chase Cunningham.

The Blue Raiders can’t blame Cunningham for their three-game losing streak. For the season, he’s completing 67% of his passes with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. Last week, he threw for 379 yards and five touchdowns.

Cunningham will look to take advantage of a Marshall defense that has allowed 678 passing yards in its last two games.

However, Cunningham must carry a heavy burden. The Blue Raiders can’t run the ball and are dead last in the FBS in rushing success rate. They also rank 94th in pass blocking grade and 110th in Havoc allowed.

Against Marshall, that will be problematic.


Middle Tennessee State Defense

The Blue Raiders have struggled on defense in its three losses, giving up 104 points in the last three games. For the season, the Blue Raiders are 98th in scoring defense and give up 29.8 points per game.

Middle Tennessee’s defensive line does not offer much resistance.

Middle Tennessee ranks 121st in Line Yards and it doesn’t affect the quarterback or create much disruption, ranking 95th in Pass Rush Grade and 105th in Havoc.

The Blue Raiders do a good job of limiting explosive plays, but Marshall has several advantages it will be able to support.

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Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Marshall and Middle Tennessee match up statistically:

Marshall Offense vs. Middle Tennessee Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 10 60
Line Yards 96 121
Pass Success 21 56
Pass Blocking** 16 95
Big Play 20 16
Havoc 32 105
Finishing Drives 42 15
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Middle Tennessee Offense vs. Marshall Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 130 95
Line Yards 105 114
Pass Success 114 53
Pass Blocking** 94 4
Big Play 93 81
Havoc 110 78
Finishing Drives 35 45
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 58 25
PFF Coverage 61 65
Middle 8 68 44
SP+ Special Teams 73 105
Plays per Minute 2 49
Rush Rate 45.3% (115) 46.5% (113)

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


Marshall vs. Middle Tennessee Betting Pick

Middle Tennessee State may be the perfect opponent for Marshall to face on a two-game losing streak.

Appalachian State is one of the best Group of Five teams in the country and Marshall went to their place and outplayed them for most of the game.

Now, the Thundering Herd faces an inferior team that they dominated last season. Marshall will enter this one with confidence.

Wells should have a big day throwing the ball. Marshall’s offensive line will have a significant advantage against the Middle Tennessee defensive line. Wells will have time to throw and spread the ball around to his receivers and Ali should also have another productive day on the ground.

The Blue Raiders will score some points and hang around for a little, but their inability to run the ball and stay ahead of the chains will make it difficult to sustain drives and keep up. You can also expect Cunningham to have a long day dealing with Marshall’s pass rush and exotic blitz packages.

I’m locking in Marshall at-10, and I would play it up to -12.5.

Pick: Marshall -10 (Play to -12.5)

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