College Football Betting Preview: North Texas Mean Green at Florida International Golden Panthers

North Texas Mean Green at Florida International Golden Panthers
FIU Stadium, Miami, Florida
Thursday, September 1, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN Gameplan
Opening Line: FIU -14 1/2
Current Line: FIU -14
Opening Total: 53 1/2
Current Total: 54
Opening Money Line: FIU -550 / North Texas +450
Current Money Line: FIU -525 / North Texas +425

Week 10 NFL Odds & Lines
Florida international is a 14 point home favorite over North texas in teh Sun Belt opener for both teams.

North Texas and Florida International open Sun Belt Conference play and the season against each other. The teams have played each other 6 times as conference rivals. North Texas won the first two meetings but Florida International has won the last 4 games in the series including a 34-10 win last season at North Texas.

The Mean Green finished 3-9 last season and fired coach Todd Dodge. They replaced him with former Iowa St coach Dan McCarney. Florida International finished 7-6 last season and won the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl 34-32 against Toledo. Florida international is the favorite to win the conference title under coach Mario Cristobal.

Despite having only 3 wins, the offense wasn’t completely terrible last season for the Mean Green. They averaged 378.6 yards a game, including a top 20 rushing attack that averaged 205.5 yards a game. North Texas averaged 23.9 points a game. Sophomore quarterback Derek Thompson takes over behind center for former coach Todd Dodge’s son Riley who transferred after his father was fired. Thompson only had 18 passing attempts before injuring his leg in the third game of the season. He missed the rest of the season. The offense will lean heavily on senior running back Lance Dunbar. Dunbar had 274 carries, 1,553 yards, and 13 touchdowns last season. He also had 28 catches, 332 yards, and 3 touchdown catches. Senior James Hamilton, and sophomore Brandin Byrd will also get significant carries. Senior Lance Dunbar is the top returning receiver. He had 28 catches, 332 yards, and 3 touchdowns last season. Michael Outlaw and Chris Bynes missed last season due to inju8ry but both return and will counted on as receivers. The offensive line must replace 3 all conference players, but does return Matt Tomlinson who was a pre-season all-Sun Belt selection.

The Mean Green defense gave up 396.1 yards a game and 29.7 points a game last season. The defense is led by sophomore linebacker Zachary Orr and senior cornerback Royce Hill.

Florida International averaged 396.4 yards a game last season including 188.8 rushing yards a game and 28.8 points a game. Senior quarterback Wesley Carroll returns. He threw for 2,623 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions last season. Senior running back Darriet Perry had 170 carries, 839 yards, and 16 touchdowns last year. He also had 12 catches. Junior Darian Mallary also returns. He had 122 carries, 679 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Mallary had 22 catches and 1 touchdown. Senior receiver T.Y. Hilton is the star of the offense. He had over 2,000 all purpose yards, and 11 total touchdowns. He is Sun Belt pre-season co-player of the year along with North Texas’s Dunbar.

FIU gave up 371 yards and 27.3 points a game last season. Former UConn defensive coordinator Todd Orlando is now running the defense for the Golden Panthers after 12 years with the Huskies. The defense ranked #61 in the country last season.

Florida International was 6-6-1 against the spread last season, including 2-3 at home. The over/under was 5-7-1 last year including 1-3-1 at home. FIU is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a home favorite. The under is 8-2-1 in the last 11 games with FIU as a favorite. The under is also 6-1-1 in the Panthers’ last 8 home games. North Texas was 6-6 ATS last season including 2-4 on the road. The o/u was 5-7 including 1-5 on the road. North Texas is 6-0 ATS the last three seasons when the total is between 52.5 and 56. The mean Green are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Thursday games and also as an underdog. North Texas is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 games as a road underdog. The under is 5-0 in the last 5 games when the Mean Green are road underdogs.

Both teams like to run and control the clock. That could mean a tight low scoring game as both defenses aren’t terrible but aren’t great either. The Panthers should win this game at home.

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