Miami Hurricanes (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Florida Atlantic Owls (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Friday September 11th, 8:00PM EST
Where: FAU Stadium Boca Raton, F.L.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIA -17.5/FAU +17.5
Over/Under Total: 55
Friday night lights return this week on the college gridiron when the Miami Hurricanes make the short trip to north on I-95 to meet the Florida Atlantic Owls at FAU Stadium. Miami had a warmup game of sorts last week in their opener against Bethune from the FCS. The Hurricanes pitched a 45-0 shutout against the Wildcats and enter this weeks matchup with Florida Atlantic as 17.5 point favorites over the Owls. The Hurricanes clearly have the talent advantage for this Fridays meeting and this is expected to be another rather easy preparation game for their showdown with Nebraska on September 19th.
However the Owls would love nothing more than to knock off one of their big instate foes this Friday after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Tulsa last week in overtime. The Owls held a 10 point lead going into the 4th quarter of last weeks battle with Tulsa but simply could not make the plays down the stretch to seal the victory. Defensively, the Owls serious issues coming up with stops. Despite 4 Tulsa turnovers, the Owls still relinquished 618 total yards to the Golden Hurricane offense that included 414 yards through the air in the passing game.
The good news for the Owls chances this Friday is the fact that will face a very different looking style of offense. Miamis offense does not spread the ball around near as much in the passing game and they rely more heavily on their ground attack. Miami quarterback Brad Kaaya has definitely had his issues behind center going back to last season where he completed just 58% passing with 26 scores and 12 picks for the season. Previously Duke Johnson was there to save the Miami offense from the passing woes and keep the chains moving on the ground. With Johnsons departure to the NFL, the question now becomes who will be the workhorse and go to option for this offense?
The Hurricanes have a trio of young running backs lead by sophomore Trayone Gray that will be looking to keep the football moving on the ground. My fear for Miami is that without the elite rushing for of Johnson this offense is going to have some serious issues as even more pressure is put on the arm of Kaaya. It will be interesting to see if the Owls defense can load up the box to make an effort to stop the run as their primary defensive plan this week. I believe that will give them their best opportunity to put pressure on Kaaya and possibly have another game where they can force some turnovers to give Florida Atlantic a winning opportunity.
Despite the offensive concerns for Miami in the post Johnson era, the betting public still likes the Hurricanes and the points from the early betting stages. More than 60% of the early betting action has favored Miami minus the 17.5. However if you were liking the Owls to cover the number, there are some trends that are playing into your favor. Miami is just 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games on the road and just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall going back to 2014. On the other hand, Florida Atlantic has been a pretty solid team for bettors despite losing their last 6 games going back to last season. The Owls have covered the number in 17 of their last 25 straight games including as a 4.5 underdog last week in their loss to Tulsa.
The key for Florida Atlantic will be finding ways to keep the chains moving to give their defense rest and capitalizing on all scoring opportunities. The dual threat capability of quarterback Jaquez Johnson gives the offense possibilities. Last week Johnson threw for 263 yards with 2 touchdowns and 0 picks while rushing for another 97 yards on the ground. Last year Johnson had major consistency issues but his 23 for 34 start last week was a good sign of improvement. The Hurricanes defense has notoriously struggled against mobile quarterbacks in recent years so it will be interesting to see how things turn out this Friday.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: From a match-up standpoint, I believe Florida Atlantic does the things that can frustrate Miami on Friday and make this closer than expected. Take FAU +17.5!
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