Troy Trojans at Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders
Tuesday, 10/5/10, 8:00 PM EDT, TV: ESPN2
Opening Point Spread: Middle Tennessee State -2.5
Current Betting Line: Middle Tennesee State -3
Opening Total: 59.5
Current Total: 62.5
Current Moneyline: Middle Tennessee State -160/Troy +140
Troy enters this contest riding an 11-game league win streak, but trails 6-11 in the all-time series against Middle Tennessee State. The Trojans do have a four-game win streak over the Blue Raiders and have a 6-3 lead in the series since it was renewed in 1999. Head coach Larry Blakeney has posted a 56-17-1 record during his career in games played in October and is 65-65 overall in his career in road games. The team has an even 2-2 record and its four games have been decided by just 14 points, which has made the bye week especially important. “A few extra days off is always good,” Blakeney said. “I think it’s a good time to give them a day or two off, but of course, they got to handle it well.” He also stated that “20 to 21” players who are nursing injuries will also benefit from the time off. Troy is a perfect 4-0 ATS after a bye week and the total is 2-8 O/U in their last 10 such games.
The Trojans are 3-8 all-time in games played in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and Blakeney is 6-3 against Middle Tennessee State. Troy is a solid 9-3 all-time in games played on one of the three primary ESPN channels. The squad’s only three losses have come in the 2004 Silicon Valley Football Classic, the 2008 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and the 2010 GMAC Bowl. Over the last four seasons, the team has compiled a 27-3 conference record, which is among the best in all of college football. Troy’s four straight Sun Belt titles ties for the most in league history. Turnovers will certainly play a major factor in this contest due to the Trojans 1-15 record when not forcing a fumble in a game since 2000, while the club is 26-4-1 in games in which they have not committed a turnover under Blakeney. The team has gone 12-5 ATS versus conference opponents over the last three years and the total is 8-9 O/U in those contests.
Middle Tennessee State head coach Rick Stockstill has never beaten Troy and will look to change that in front of a nationally-televised audience. Tuesday’s game will be the third “Blackout” game in team history, when the players wear all black and the fans are encouraged to do the same. Stockstill needs one win to tie for sixth on the all-time coaching win list in school history. The Blue Raiders offense ranks first in the Sun Belt Conference in rushing and the team is 10-1 all-time under Stockstill when a player rushes for 100 or more yards. The offensive line has been doing its part in the passing game as well, allowing just a single sack this season. Middle Tennessee State has won seven straight conference games and eight of its last nine. The team is 10-7 ATS against conference opponents and the total is 8-9 O/U in that span.
The Blue Raiders are a dominating 263-104-13 at Floyd Stadium since it opened in 1933 and 24-9 at the venue during Sun Belt Conference play. Under Stockstill, the team is 15-7 overall at the stadium and 11-3 in conference games. Since Middle Tennessee State joined the FBS era in 1999, the squad has played 11 mid-week games under Stockstill, posting a 3-8 record in those contests. Turnovers has been a major problem for the team during the 2010 season, ranking 119th nationally with a -1.75 margin. MTSU has 11 total turnovers in four games which is the fourth-most miscues in the country.
Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Trojans are 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 games as an underdog, while the Blue Raiders are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite.
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