College Football Picks Today | 2 Tuesday Bets for Jacksonville State vs FIU, UTEP vs Sam Houston

College Football Picks Today | 2 Tuesday Bets for Jacksonville State vs FIU, UTEP vs Sam Houston article feature image

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  • Action Network's Week 9 weekday college football coverage continues with two games on Wednesday night.
  • Our writers broke down both games on the schedule and came through with picks for Jacksonville State vs. FIU and UTEP vs. Sam Houston.
  • Read on for both Wednesday night college football betting previews.

Week 9's weekday college football action continues on Wednesday with two matchups in Conference USA.

First, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks look to keep their hot streak going after being included in Brett McMurphy's most recent bowl projections, as they take on an FIU Panthers team that has lost three of their last four.

Then, to close out the night, the Sam Houston Bearkats look for their first-ever win as an FBS program when they take on the UTEP Miners as a short favorite in Huntsville.

Our writers broke down both games and came through with a pick in their in-depth betting previews, so check out their analysis for both Tuesday night college football games below.

Wednesday College Football Betting Previews

The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups from Wednesday's slate of college football games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.

GameTime (ET)Pick
7 p.m.
8 p.m.
Specific betting recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Jacksonville State vs. FIU

Wednesday, Oct. 25
7 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Jacksonville State -7.5

By Greg Liodice

Let’s have ourselves a Wednesday night Conference USA bash. The Jacksonville State Gamecocks head south to Miami to face the FIU Panthers in this midweek college football matchup.

Jacksonville State has struggled to find its identity over the last two weeks. The Gamecocks took a loss to first-place Liberty and then just snuck past Western Kentucky.

Perhaps a game against an inconsistent FIU team will help them get back on track.

Similarly, FIU finds itself in the midst of some struggles. The Panthers came out with a double-overtime win over Sam Houston last week but lost three in a row prior to that. They haven't fared well in conference play, though, only going 1-4 this season.

Where does the betting value lie in this matchup? Let's find a Jacksonville State vs. FIU prediction in this college football betting preview for Wednesday, Oct. 25.

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Jacksonville State Gamecocks

Despite the in-season success the Gamecocks are having, there’s a whole lot of uncertainty at quarterback. Both Zion Webb and Logan Smothers have split starts, and head coach Rich Rodriguez is pretty unsatisfied with them both.

Last week, Webb took the majority of the snaps and pulled off a win, but the whole season has been a carousel.

It’s certainly shown in the numbers as well, as the Gamecocks are a lower-tiered passing team. They significantly lack explosiveness and rank 103rd in Passing Success Rate.

Perry Carter has been the most efficient and explosive receiver regardless of who's under center. Carter has registered two touchdowns and averages nearly 17 yards per catch.

This team finds most of its success and volume on the ground, as it ranks 12th in rush rate and 36th in Rushing Success Rate.

Both Webb and Smothers are the second- and third-leading rushers, respectively, but a lot of it relies on Malik Jackson. The redshirt senior is having himself a really solid season, averaging 5.5 yards per carry while finding the end zone four times.

Rodriguez has also run out Anwar Lewis a lot more. Lewis was sidelined all offseason and missed the first two weeks with a lower-body injury. Every week since his return, he’s become progressively more involved in this offense, and I expect that to continue tonight.

The most successful thing about this Gamecocks team is its defense in every facet. While the secondary is more prone to give up an explosive play, it's still pretty stout, ranking ninth in Passing Down Success Rate and 19th in PPA.

Jax State is even better at stopping the run, ranking third in the nation in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and sixth in PPA.

Defensive lineman Chris Hardie is a monster, leading the team with nine tackles for loss, and linebacker Quae Drake leads the unit in total tackles. Both cause a ton of Havoc for opposing rushers.

Florida International Panthers

After a hot start to the season, it looks like FIU has come back down to earth. The Panthers have a pretty weak offense, but the defense has held strong for the most part.

Freshman Keyone Jenkins has been the head honcho behind center and has done well for a first-year starter.

While he’s been pretty accurate for the most part, completing nearly 60% of his passes, he needs to be better at his reads. He has more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six), which is why FIU's offense is among the worst in the nation (126th in Success Rate, 114th in PPA).

Jenkins and Kris Mitchell have formed really solid chemistry, though. Mitchell has hauled in more than 30% of the targets and averages 16.5 yards per carry. He’s the only real explosive receiver Jenkins has but manages to find himself open quite frequently.

With a freshman quarterback, the run game has been most proficient for the Panthers. They’re extremely capable of making an explosive play but struggle with inefficiency, placing 69th in Success Rate.

Shomari Lawrence and Kejon Owens have formed a solid committee, each rushing for 5.5 and 6.2 yards per carry, respectively. Most of FIU’s touchdowns have come on the ground as well.

While Lawrence and Owens have been huge parts of the ground attack, Jenkins has found himself scrambling a ton due to his poor offensive line, which has allowed him to find the end zone five times.

For what it is, FIU's defense has done a solid job at defending the pass. The Panthers rank 41st in Defensive Passing Success Rate and 40th in PPA.

Defensive back CJ Christian has created a ton of problems for opposing quarterbacks with three interceptions while also ranking fifth on the team in total tackles.

The Panthers' run defense is OK for the most part, but it's nothing flashy and has some issues in efficiency. Linebackers Donovan Manuel and Reggie Peterson lead the team in tackles, while Manuel paces the unit with 12 TFLs.

Jacksonville State vs FIU

Betting Pick & Prediction

From the jump, it’s clear that Jax State holds the advantage here.

The Gamecocks have a powerful run game, but their defense is what makes them stand out. I think they can have their way with a team that has trouble creating for itself with a freshman quarterback.

While I’m very wary of the QB situation in Jacksonville, I can’t imagine that Webb or Smothers would have an issue with the Panthers.

FIU has had such a hard time in conference play. It’s 1-4 against conference opponents and would've moved to 0-5 if it weren't for an overtime victory over a winless Sam Houston team.

I think Jenkins is a fine signal-caller, and I really love the chemistry he’s formed with Mitchell. However, given how Jenkins has struggled with reads, I imagine the Gamecocks — who rank top-50 in Havoc — will take advantage of his mistakes.

Lastly, FIU’s run game is solid, but with its lack of efficiency, I don’t see it breaking Jax State’s dominant run-stoppers.

This line sits at Jacksonville State -7.5 as of writing, and I think the Gamecocks cover. They’ve covered in 71% of their games, and I don’t see this being an exception.

Pick: Jacksonville State -7.5 (Play to -10)

UTEP vs. Sam Houston

Wednesday, Oct. 25
8 p.m. ET
Under 36.5

By Eric Caselton

Week 9 brings us a Conference USA matchup from Huntsville, Texas, as the Sam Houston Bearkats welcome the UTEP Miners.

Both teams are coming off of losses last week — UTEP at the hands of the New Mexico State Aggies and the Bearkats lost at home to the Panthers of FIU.

Sam Houston is hunting for its first win of the year in what should be a very winnable game against the 2-6 Miners.

Let’s see which team may hold the advantage in UTEP vs. Sam Houston.

UTEP Miners

The Miners look to get back on track this week following a home loss.

They came up one game short of bowl season last year, and they will need to be perfect from here on out under head coach Dana Dimel in order to do what they could not a year ago.

Offensively, this UTEP team has really struggled. The Miners only put up an average of 16 points per game, which is not enough to win many games, especially with the push for offenses to score more and more each year in college football.

This team has also turned the ball over 11 times this season, mostly via interceptions from quarterback Gavin Hardison. Hardison enters this game as questionable after backup Cade McConnell got the start last week in an unimpressive 28-7 loss.

UTEP’s offense ranks 112th this season, so it should have a tough time scoring again this week. The Miners rank 39th in Rush Play Rate, so I would assume we can expect a heavy dose of the run game to try and limit turnovers.

The Miners' defense doesn’t rank much better than their offense (88th). The strength of this defense comes through the air, where it ranks 35th. This is especially impressive given that the unit ranks 20th in defensive Pass Play Rates.

This tells me Sam Houston will have a hard time airing it out and scoring quickly. Most of this is due to UTEP’s ability to rush the quarterback, tallying 21 sacks on the year thus far.

Look for this defense to find some success against the struggling Bearkat offense.

Sam Houston Bearkats

The Bearkats enter this game winless following a six-point loss at home to FIU. This game was somewhat inspiring for the Bearkats, given they put up their best offensive performance of the year with 27 points. Unfortunately, their defense gave them one of their worst performances of the year.

The jump to FBS from FCS has not been fun for the Bearkats, but they seem to be playing some more competitive games as of late. This team will need both sides of the ball to click this week in order to take down the Miners.

The Bearkats are putting up 18 points per game following last week’s 27-point outburst, but outside of that matchup, it has been tough sledding for Keegan Shoemaker.

Shoemaker has 1,322 passing yards this year with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. He has been sloppy at times, but the Bearkats are only -2 in turnover margin compared to UTEP’s -6.

This could be something to watch if Sam Houston can get a few short fields, which will make things a bit easier on its offense.

Sam Houston loves to throw the ball this year (20th in Pass Play Rates), which may be a bit inflated due to the amount of time it has been trailing. It is also due to the Bearkats' inability to run the ball (131st).

The heavy pass attack plays right into UTEP's defensive strengths, so this could be an ugly one for a struggling Sam Houston offense.

Defensively, Sam Houston has been pretty stout given its offensive woes. The Bearkats rank 54th defensively this year in Success Rate, which is pretty impressive for a team that just made the jump to FBS.

This defense shows no real weakness against the run or the pass, so it should be able to stifle a struggling UTEP offense, especially with UTEP traveling to Huntsville this week.

UTEP vs Sam Houston

Betting Pick & Prediction

Both of these offenses are not good and both teams have solid defenses that should be able to bottle up the opposing offenses.

I think as long as both teams take care of the ball and avoid any bad turnovers leading to short fields, this game could finish somewhere around 17-13.

It will all depend on who gets that one key turnover.

For that reason, I am going to avoid picking a side and take under the low point total of 36.5.

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