Florida Atlantic fell behind early and never recovered in last week’s loss to Clemson. Even worse, the Owls lost their starting quarterback when Casey Thompson tore both his ACL and medial meniscus after battling injuries throughout his entire career.
Now, with conference play starting to heat up, games should start to be more competitive and teams should be on upset alert.
We’ll see if this week’s selection can get us back on the winning path.
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FIU will cover the spread at +10.5 with the moneyline being at +325.
It’s been a shocking start to the season for the Panthers to say the least.
They already have three victories and are one win away from eclipsing their 3.5 preseason win total. Not to mention, the Panthers are 3-1 against the spread this season. They’ve been underdogs in the three games they’ve covered.
This week presents the biggest test yet against Liberty, but I don’t think the Panthers are very intimidated.
It’ll be a big matchup between quarterbacks Keyone Jenkins of FIU, who leads Conference USA with 289 passing yards per game, and Kaiden Salter of Liberty, who ranks third with 254.3 yards per game. Salter also averages 63.7 rushing yards per contest. Whether the Panthers will contain him and the potent Flames offense is the biggest question.
FIU has faced a couple of dual threat QBs this season including the duo of Stone Earle and Chandler Rogers in a win over North Texas three weeks ago. The Panthers didn’t exactly stymie those guys, but it was great preparation for what they’ll see this week.
FIU is currently giving up just 22.5 points per game and has excelled with its red zone defense, giving up just five touchdowns on 13 attempts and forcing four turnovers.
If they can hold the Flames to field goals, they should be able to hang around.
New Mexico State-Hawaii Prediction: New Mexico State (+3, +130)
This was almost my selection for this week’s underdog before I realized how far the Aggies had to travel two weeks ago when they made the 1,500-mile trip to face Liberty. Now, they’re going over 3,000 miles in the opposite direction to face a Hawaii team that needs a win.
NMSU’s trip this week follows a huge victory over New Mexico that had to have taken a lot out of the Aggies. Still, I think that win gives them something to build on.
The Aggies’ offense is playing well, so expect them to put up some points in a game where the total is 57.5.
Memphis-Missouri Prediction: Memphis (+6.5, +190)
The matchup of the 3-0 Tigers teams.
Memphis is one of the few teams that’s 3-0 and didn’t receive any votes in the AP Top 25 poll. On the other hand, Missouri received 72 votes and is on the outside looking in.
The Tigers from Missouri are just 3-7 against the spread in the last three seasons when facing non-conference opponents. The Tigers from Memphis are 6-6 in such situations. I think Memphis has been viewed as not meeting expectations so far this season, so there are still some things to prove.
This would be the game to do so.
San Diego State-Boise State Prediction: San Diego State (+7, +215)
Things haven’t been great for either of these teams to start the 2023 campaign.
Boise State’s only win has been against an FCS opponent — albeit a good one — and the Aztecs have put up just 19 combined points in the past two weeks. They did play the Nos. 14 and 21-ranked teams in the country, however.
The Aztecs are 6-2 ATS against Boise State as a Mountain West opponent. Both teams are hungry to get back to the top of the league, setting this game up for what has the potential to be a gritty one.