Middle Tennessee vs. UTSA Betting Odds & Pick: How to Bet Friday’s Makeshift Conference USA Showdown (Sept. 25)
John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sincere McCormick.
- The Friday night college football matchup was originally supposed to include the Memphis Tigers, but program issues with COVID-19 forced a late switch.
- Middle Tennessee answered the call, and now the Blue Raiders travel to take on UTSA on the road in what was supposed to be their off-week.
- Collin Wilson breaks down everything you need to know to wager on these two teams tonight and explains why the under is fully in play at 61 or higher.
Middle Tennessee at UTSA Odds
|Middle Tennessee Odds||+5.5 [BET NOW]|
|UTSA Odds||-5.5 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||58.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Friday, 8 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
The Memphis Tigers’ persistent issues with COVID-19 have led to yet another makeshift game. With less than a week’s notice, Middle Tennessee will head to San Antonio to face the Roadrunners.
The 2020 season has not been kind to Middle Tennessee with big losses to both Army and Troy. It would be foolhardy to back the Blue Raiders on the road with less than a week’s preparation … right?
Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
There are plenty of issues with the Blue Raiders, but through eight quarters of play, the offense has just two red zone trips. While the offense fails to generate scoring opportunities, the defense has allowed an average of 5.0 points per trip when opponents cross the 40-yard line.
To this point, Middle Tennessee has been a passing offense with a 63% rate through 10 and 20 personnel. Quarterback Asher O’Hara has not been good with pressure and has already thrown three interceptions on passes that were less than nine yards in depth.
But, let’s not pick on only O’Hara: The defense has had just as many problems. The Blue Raiders have already recorded nine missed tackles between both starting safeties and cornerback Kenneth Major.
The Week 2 barnburner against Texas State put UTSA football back in gamblers sights. The Roadrunners have been fantastic in a few advanced statistical categories.
No offensive lineman has allowed more than three run disruptions. Wide receivers Joshua Cephus, Brennon Dingle, Sheldon Jones and FWAA Freshman All-American Sincere McCormick form a lethal trio in space, generating more than 30 yards after the catch. More importantly, UTSA is 11-for-11 in offensive red-zone opportunities.
— KÏŁŁÄ ČÄM (@FTBeard1) September 19, 2020
The UTSA defense has been one of the nation’s leaders in defensive havoc, pacing the FBS field with the most tackles for loss this season. Defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix is a seasoned coach who is disguising the blitz from multiple formations.
The struggling Middle Tennessee offense must contend against a Roadrunners defense that has blitzed from six different formations — no easy task on short notice:
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Betting Analysis & Pick
As bad as Middle Tennessee has played, catching +6.5 on the road may be a little much against a red-hot UTSA team. The Blue Raiders players were likely looking forward to time off to rest this week, but now they must flip back into “game day”-mode following the matchup’s unexpected and swift scheduling change.
Texas State proved you can move the ball through the air on the Roadrunners, but improved offensive line play is required for the Blue Raiders to contend. Two factors may lead to a look at the under.
- The Blue Raiders’ poor offensive success rate will limit their possessions, essentially by definition. If you’re unable to gain sufficient down and distance to keep the offense on schedule, you stand little chance of extending drives or gaining additional possession opportunities.
- Middle Tennessee’s slow pace of 27 seconds per play further exacerbates the Blue Raiders’ issues with offensive possessions. On the flip side, UTSA runs 66% of the time out of 12 personnel. This burned plenty of clock against Stephen F. Austin in a game that had just 34 points total.
Neither of these teams will be prepared to play each other. With UTSA’s rush-heavy offensive attack and blitzing nature on defense, the under is the look. I may be interested in the Middle Tennessee side, but I would more than likely need some Friday night steam to +7.
The Bet: Under 60; Middle Tennessee +7 or better