College Football Odds & Picks for UTSA vs Temple (Oct. 7)

College Football Odds & Picks for UTSA vs Temple (Oct. 7) article feature image

Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: E.J. Warner (Temple)

UTSA vs Temple Odds

Saturday, Oct. 7
3:30 p.m. ET
-110o / -110u
Temple Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Don’t overlook this AAC tilt.

UTSA vs. Temple features two of the best quarterbacks in the Group of Five. Frank Harris and E.J. Warner (son of NFL legend Kurt Warner) are exceedingly fun to watch.

Temple isn’t playing well this season, which is why the Owls are two-touchdown home underdogs on Saturday.

But, despite Temple's woes, the Owls are catching too many points.

Check out our NCAAF Betting Hub for more college football previews, predictions, news and analysis.

UTSA Roadrunners

Unfortunately, in their first season in the AAC, the Roadrunners’ hopes hang on the health of their star quarterback.

Harris has missed the past two games with a toe injury and as a result, UTSA has lost to both Army and Tennessee.

Eddie Lee Marburger played well in relief against the Knights (17-for-25, 239 yards, three TDs) and Owen McCown played well in relief of Marburger in the blowout loss to Tennessee (18-for-20, 170 yards, two TDs).

Still, either quarterback is a downgrade from Harris.

In a press conference early this week, Jeff Traylor commented on Harris’ injury status.

Keep a close eye on his status as his availability could significantly swing this spread.

The Roadrunners are dealing with other injury uncertainty. Starting right tackle Makai Hart is out until late October and wideout De’Corian Clark is still recovering from an ACL tear, though he’s probable to play on Saturday.

Luckily, UTSA is coming off a bye, which hopefully helped improve the health of its roster.

If there’s a saving grace for the Roadrunners, it’s the secondary. Led by safety Rashad Wisdom, the unit returned three of four starters from last year and ranks top-35 nationally in EPA per dropback allowed.

Then again, the secondary also grades out as the worst in the nation by PFF’s Coverage grades. It seems the Roadrunners are preventing Explosive passing plays (13th in Passing Explosiveness Allowed), but are getting shredded underneath (93rd in Passing Success Rate Allowed).

They’re 105th nationally in Standard Downs Success Rate Allowed and fifth in Passing Downs Success Rate, which checks out.

Conversely, UTSA’s managed to stuff shorter runs (43rd in Rush Success Rate Allowed), but has been shredded by big ground plays (121st in Rush Explosiveness Allowed).

We could potentially target UTSA for defensive regression, as it ranks 123rd nationally in EPA per play allowed in early downs. Because late downs are highly variable, teams tend to regress towards their early-down marks. That would be rough for UTSA.

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Temple Owls

I was high on Temple before the season, but the Owls have been underwhelming.

They won the games they were supposed to (Akron, Norfolk State), but are also 1-4 ATS after getting blown out by Tulsa as three-point dogs.

Warner simply hasn’t been that good. He’s completed only 54.1% of his passes and has thrown five picks. He has six big-time throws and eight turnover-worthy plays.

Warner is young and improved drastically at the end of his true freshman season to throw 10 touchdowns over his final four games, so it’s not inconceivable to think he’ll right the ship as he settles down.

Unfortunately, the Owls can't run the ball. They’re 120th in EPA per rush and are averaging 3.6 yards per carry behind a weak offensive line that ranks 102nd in Offensive Line Yards.

Additionally, Temple hasn’t improved at stopping the run. It’s allowing 5.0 YPC and ranks 124th in EPA per rush allowed. The Owls allowed 290 rush yards to Tulsa, 320 to Miami and 250 to Rutgers.

UTSA vs Temple

Betting Pick & Prediction

In Warner’s final five games last season — when he shredded South Florida, Houston, Cincinnati and ECU — his average depth of target was about 8.4. In the preceding four starts, it was closer to 9.4

Warner started hitting guys underneath more — including running back Edward Saydee — which helped him cut down on his mistakes. He threw eight interceptions across the four games with the higher aDOT, and only threw three in the following four games.

UTSA should take away the deep ball, but the underneath routes will be readily available for Warner.

Meanwhile, I don’t think UTSA will take advantage of a weak Temple offensive line. The Roadrunners are sub-50th nationally in PFF’s Pressure grades and sub-60th in total pressures created (42).

This looks like a solid get-right matchup for Warner.

Also, UTSA simply has too many question marks.

If Harris plays, our Action Analytics team only projects the Roadrunners as an 8.5-point favorite. However, I’ll be betting on Temple regardless of his status.

But let's cut through the noise for a second. This could turn into an ugly game between offenses that are both sub-100th nationally in EPA per play behind offensive lines that are sub-100th in average Line Yards.

Throw in one injured quarterback and another struggling one, and I’m unsure if the offenses will get out of their own way, even if the defenses can’t stop a nosebleed.

A low-scoring, grinding game script helps the heavy home 'dog. And either way, I think the Owls also have some key schematic advantages.

It also helps that Temple is money as home ‘dogs. The Owls are 32-21 ATS as home underdogs since 2005, including a 4-1 mark in Drayton’s first year.

Only UConn has turned a larger profit in that spot over the past two decades.

Pick: Temple +14 (Play to +12.5)

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