Sun Belt Tuesday Night Betting Preview: Florida International Golden Panthers at Arkansas St Red Wolves

Florida International Golden Panthers at Arkansas St Red Wolves
ASU Stadium – Jonesboro, Arkansas
Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN2
Opening Line: Arkansas St -3 1/2
Current Line: Arkansas St -3 (-115)
Opening Total: 53
Current Total: 54
Opening Money Line: ASU -165 / FIU +145
Current Money Line: ASU -155 / FIU +135

College Football Sportsbook
Arkansas St is a 3 point favorite at home against Florida International in Sun Belt action Tuesday night.

With the World Series not scheduled to start until Wednesday night, Sun Belt Football takes center stage on Tuesday night, as the only other sporting events that night are NHL hockey games.

Both Florida International and Arkansas St are 4-2 this season, and both are chasing Lousiana-Lafayette in the Sun Belt standings, who are already 4-0 in conference. Florida International is 1-1 in conference and Arkansas St is 2-0. FIU is coached by Mario Cristobal, and has home wins over North Texas 41-16,  and Central Florida 17-10, along with road wins at Louisville 24-17, and last week at Akron 27-17 to break a two game losing streak. The Panthers have home losses to Louisiana-Lafayette 36-31 and Duke 31-27. With so many close games, FIU could be anywhere from 6-0 to 1-5 instead of 4-2. Arkansas St is coached by Hugh Freeze, and has losses at Illinois 33-15 and Virginia Tech 26-7. Both teams are currently ranked in the top 25. The Red Wolves have home wins over Memphis 47-3 and Central Arkansas 53-24, along with road wins at Western Kentucky 26-22 and at Louisiana-Monroe 24-19 last week. Since the Virginia Tech loss, the Red Wolves have won three straight games. Arkansas St leads the overall series against FIU 4-2, but the Panthers won last year 31-24 to clinch the Sun Belt title.

Last week, Florida International was a 17 point favorite on the college football betting line at a one win Akron team. Despite having 255 more total yards and 15 more first downs than Akron, the Panthers were never up by mo0re than 10 points in the game. The Panthers ended up winning 27-17. FIU had 524 total yards including 216 rushing yards and had 29 first downs. Panther quarterback Wesley Carroll threw for 308 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. Kedrick Rhodes had 22 carries, 126 yards and a touchdown. Darriet  Perry had 20 carries, 85 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Receiver T.Y. Hilton had 12 catches for 144 yards, and 2 carries for 17 yards. Akron had 269 total yards and 14 turnovers. Both teams had 2 turnovers but FIU had 10 penalties for 80 yards.

Florida International is averaging 406.3 yards a game including 248.7 passing yards and 157.7 rushing yards. The Panthers are scoring 27.8 points a game. The Panthers have six turnovers and have allowed 8 sacks this season. The Panthers are 30/85 on third and fourth down conversions, and 21/23 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchdowns. FIU allows 353.2 total yards a game including 345.3 passing yards and 107.8 rushing yards. The Panthers are only allowing 21.2 points a game. FIU has forced 7 turnovers and 17 sacks this season. Panther opponents are 37/103 on third and fourth down conversions, and 10/14 scoring in the red zone with 7 touchdowns.

Carroll is 97/152 passing for 1,232 yards, 6 touchdowns and an interception. Back-up Jake Medlock has also taken a handful of snaps. He doesn’t have a touchdown pass but he did throw an interception in 28 attempts, and has a rushing touchdown this season. Rhodes has 104 carries, 516 yards, and 6 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 77 yards. Perry has 74 carries, 318 yards, and 5 touchdowns, and 3 catches for 32 yards. Hilton has 37 catches, 641 yards, and 4 touchdowns, along with 7 carries for 82 yards. He also returns kicks and punts and has almost 1,000 all purpose yards so far this season. Wayne Times has 30 catches, 308 yards and a touchdown. Times also returns kicks and punts for the Panthers. Back-up receivers Jacob Younger and  Rockey Vann are both questionable but neither has more than 8 catches this season. Kicker Jack Griffin is 20/20 on extra points and 9/11 on field goals with a long of 45 yards. The Panthers have 2 defensive touchdowns this season.

Arkansas St was a 2.5 point favorite last week at Louisiana-Monroe. The Red Wolves were down 13-10 at halftime, but took the lead for good with 4 minutes to go in the third quarter on a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. The Wolves added another touchdown in the fourth to take a 24-13 lead. The Warhawks scored late in the game but missed the 2 point conversion to make the final 24-19 Arkansas St. The game was sloppy as it featured 8 turnovers (4 on each side) and Arkansas St had 13 penalties for 130 yards. The Red Wolves had 345 total yards (84 rushing yards) and 16 first downs. ASU quarterback Ryan Aplin threw for 261 yards with one touchdown and 3 interceptions, and was the leading rusher with 35 yards on 9 carries. Receiver Dwayne Frampton had 13 catches, 147 yards and a touchdown. The Warhawks had 367 total including just 69 rushing yards.

ASU is averaging 444.2 total yards a game including 303.5 passing yards and 140.7 rushing yards. The Wolves are scoring 28.7 points a game. ASU has 13 turnovers and has allowed 13 sacks this season. Arkansas St is 39/94 on third and fourth down conversions, and 22/27 scoring in the red zone with 13 touchdowns. The Wolves are allowing 344.8 yards a game including 222 passing yards and 122.8 rushing yards. ASU is allowing 21.2 points a game. The Red Wolves have forced 11 turnovers and 16 sacks this season. ASU opponents are 44/109 on third and fourth down conversions, and 16/18 scoring in the red zone with 9 touchdowns. Penalties have been a problem for the Red Wolves as they average 7.5 a game for 70.5 yards a game. Arkansas St has 3 touchdowns on defense and special teams this season

Aplin is 138/209 passing for 1,646 yards, 6 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 62 carries, 177 yards, and a touchdown. Aplin even caught a touchdown pass.  The Red Wolves have 6 players with at least 19 carries this season. Frankie Jackson has 40 carries, 190 yards, and 3 touchdowns along with 7 catches for 89 yards. Derek Lawson, Sirgregory Thornton, Jermaine Robertson, and Andre Smith also get significant carries. Robertson has 2 touchdown runs.  Frampton has 47 catches, 606 yards, and 3 touchdown catches. He also has a touchdown run and a touchdown pass this season. He also returns kicks and punts for Arkansas St. Josh Jarboe has 30 catches, 413 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Taylor Stockemer has 21 catches, 332 yards and a touchdown. Kicker Brian Davis is 17/18 on extra points, and 10/13 on field goals with a long of 47 yards. Bobby Zalud mostly handles kickoffs, but he is 3/6 on long field goals with a long of 56 yards. All of his attempts are over 40 yards.

Arkansas St is 5-1 against the spread this season and 5 of the 6 games have gone under the total. Florida International is 3-3 ATS this season and the total is 2-3-1. The last 2 games in this series have gone under the total. The Golden Panthers are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 road games, versus teams with winning records, and in road games against teams with winning home records, 5-2 ATS following a straight up win, and as an underdog, 3-9-1 following a game where they failed to cover, 1-8 ATS in October games, 0-4 following a bye week. The Red Wolves are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 overall, 4-1 ATS at home, as a home favorite, and in October games, 6-2 as a favorite, and following a cover, 16-34-1 ATS following a straight up win, 3-9 following a bye week, and 1-5 ATS a favorite of 3 points or less.

As amazing as it may seem, Florida International might be the best team in the state of Florida this year. Miami, Florida, and Florida St all have at least 3 losses. South Florida and Central Florida were supposed to contend for the Big East and Conference USA titles respectively but have underachieved so far. It just goes to show how downtrodden Sunshine State football has become, because it isn’t like FIU is exactly a powerhouse. I don’t see a lot of points scored in this game as both teams have decent defenses.

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