Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders Preview and Pick

Florida Atlantic Owls (1-3), +3 @ Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
(1-3), -3, Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, 8 p.m. Eastern, Tuesday

By Oracle of Predictem.com

While the rest of the college football world is on hiatus Tuesday, none other than Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State will square off in one of the best places to say aloud to yourself Murfreesboro at 8 p.m. Eastern.

With both teams holding a 1-3 mark, the implications in the national spotlight are meager to nothing, really. But that shouldn’t stop bettors who are looking to cure their college football fix.

On the outside, it seems like a solid match up, as both teams are struggling to start the year record wise, at least and a Sun Belt Conference clash is what one team will use to catapult them for the rest of the season.

In fact, online sportsbooks consider this one evenly matched, too, as the home team Blue Raiders are favorites -2.5. No over/under has been posted at this time, either.

However, looking into the numbers, and more specifically the schedule, will help bettors in this match up.

Two of Middle Tennessee’s three losses have come against the top two teams in the Sun Belt Conference, Arkansas State and Troy. They also lost to Kentucky by just six points and covered a huge 19.5 point spread.

The one win they have? Against Maryland, who is 4-1 on the year and on the cusp of being ranked nationally in the Top 25.

Meanwhile, Florida Atlantic hasn’t necessarily had it easy so far this season, facing two Big Ten teams in Minnesota and Michigan State both losses and a loss to a Texas team now ranked in the Top 5 in the nation.

They beat up on a lowly UAB squad who only has one win on the year in a 49-34 win.

Both teams rely on their passing game, but it’s Middle Tennessee State’s air attack that has the upper hand. The Blue Raiders rank 18th nationally with nearly 278 yards passing per game.

Senior quarterback Joe Craddock has had a brilliant season, throwing for 1,079 yards, including connecting on 65.3% of his passes, and five touchdowns. Freshman Malcom Beyah is his favorite target, as they’ve connected 13 times on the year, three of those for touchdowns, and 323 yards.

Where the Blue Raiders might get into trouble is their running game, as their leading rusher has just 156 yards and a 2.5 yards per carry average.

If they continue to be one-dimensional, FAU has the edge. In contrast, though, the Owls rush defense has been less than stellar this season, giving up 211 yards per game.

The Owls love to toss the rock around, too, but junior quarterback Rusty Smith hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire. He’s completing just over 46% of his passes and has thrown five picks to four touchdowns.

Last season, Smith and the Owls got the better of Middle Tennessee St. in a 27-14 win. In that game, FAU held a 24-0 lead in the fourth quarter. Once again, the running game was the Achilles heel in that contest for the Blue Raiders, as they rushed for just 41 yards as a team. However, looking closer into the box score, they also committed 10 penalties and turned the ball over four times, leading to the loss.

In that game, FAU easily covered the -2.5 line as the favorite.

Good news for bettors is that Middle Tennessee St. does well against the spread against teams with a losing record, going 6-1-1 in their last eight overall. They also had a bye week, technically, as they haven’t played since last Saturday. They’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games after that bye week.

The bad news, though, is they’re 0-4 ATS in their last four Sun Belt games.

For the Florida Atlantic Owls, their 4-1 ATS in their last five games on turf, but don’t do as well after their bye week, which they also had a week ago, going 1-5 ATS in their last six after getting the nice rest.

Although these two squads aren’t known nationally, they’ll both have a chance to not only show people what they have, considering they’ll be the only game going on, but both teams have a chance to turn their seasons around with a nice win.

Oracles Pick: The Blue Raiders look to get revenge from last year, as their tough schedule to start the year may be overlooked by some bettors in this contest. So far, the public is heavy on Middle Tennessee State. At first, we liked them too but this is a fishy line that actually went up to hit -3.5 and was bet back down by sharp money. While this game pits two sub par teams, the play is either Florida Atlantic or a pass.