Tuesday Night Football

Tuesday Night Football

What bettors need to know: Florida Atlantic-MTSU
By T.O. WHENHAM

Line Moves

The line opened with Middle Tennessee State favored by 2 1/2, and it has since moved to the key number of three. Betting volume has been light (due in part to the fact that several books have not posted a line), but the favorites are the clear preference of the public.

Weather

It is expected to be mostly clear by kickoff, with no chance of rain and relatively light humidity. The game doesn't start until 8 p.m. and the expected low is 49 degrees, so it will be cool later on in the game.

Matchup History

Though the teams are Sun Belt conference rivals, they don't have a long history together since Florida Atlantic has only played football since 2001, and just joined Division 1-A in 2005. The teams have met five times, and three since being in the same division. Florida Atlantic won the first two and the most recent game. The teams are 2-2 ATS, and the games have gone over two of three times. The home team has won the last two games.

Last season, Florida Atlantic won 27-14 as 2 1/2 point favorites, and the Blue Raiders failed to score until the fourth quarter when the game was already 24-0.

Bad Day For Scalpers

Floyd Stadium has had 31,000 seats since a 1997 renovation, but it has never been sold out. Just 22,605 came out to Middle Tennessee State's last game, and that was on a Saturday, so there almost certainly won't be a 12th man on the field on Tuesday.

Preparation

Both teams haven't played since September 20, so they will be well rested thanks to an extra few days off. They both need the rest, too, since they are coming off lopsided losses, Florida Atlantic didn't show any spark in losing to Minnesota 37-3, while MTSU couldn't solve Arkansas State, losing 31-14.

Florida Atlantic has never played on a Tuesday, while MTSU lost by 38 as 13 point dogs last year in their only Tuesday tilt this decade.

Sweet Relief

Florida Atlantic will be happy to play a reasonably well matched foe after some very ambitious non-conference scheduling. They have played two Big Ten rivals in Minnesota and Michigan State, and opened the season at Texas. The combined scores in those three games have been 106-13 for the other guys, so needless to say they have been outmatched. Only a win over UAB, a lousy Conference USA squad, has kept the team from a totally wasted season.

MTSU has a challenging non-conference schedule as well, featuring four BCS conference opponents. So far they have upset Maryland as 13 point dogs and covered against Kentucky. Games against Louisville and Mississippi State loom. Their problem is that they dropped both of their early games against conference opponents, so they are working out of a deep hole already in conference play.

Both teams are fighting to salvage their seasons and climb back into the realm where bowl eligibility is at least a possibility after identical and frustrating 1-3 starts. The lost will be costly for whichever team fails here. That could lead to some desparate play, and quite likely some sloppiness.

Is Rusty Smith For Real?

Coming into this season, the Owls' junior quarterback Rusty Smith was being called the nicest thing a guy in his place can be - a potential future NFLer. He was coming off a sophomore seasin which he threw 32 touchdowns and only eight picks. So far this year, though, he hasn't built on that at all. He has completed less than half his passes, and as more interceptions than scoring passes.

Smith's one bright spot has been against UAB, when he was accurate, confident, and effective. Obviously he doesn't have the personnel around him to support him against serious competition. Now he needs to show that he can shine when he isn't constantly running for his life, and when his receivers are ocasionally open.

Smith is 14-9 ATS in his last 23 starts, so if he recaptures his magic he can be a very useful asset for bettors to have in their pockets.

Ground Wars

The team that can establish a running game often comes out ahead. That will be interesting here as both teams have bee truly awful on the ground this season. Florida Atlantic has the 105th ranked run offense, but that shines in comparison to MTSU, which comes in at 116th. The Blue Raiders have been better at stopping the run so far, but then they haven't played the same caliber of rushing teams, either. It will be interesting to watch whether the teams try to stake their claim on the run, or if they just give it up as a lost cause.

Last year, Florida Atlantic dominate dthe ground game - 217 yards to 36 - en route to their reasonably easy win.

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Re: Tuesday Night Football

Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

Oddsmakers currently have the Blue Raiders listed as 3-point favorites versus the Owls, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

Not much went right for Florida Atlantic in Week 4. QB Rusty Smith was 17-for-34 in air for 154 yards and no touchdowns in a 37-3 loss to Minnesota.

The Owls failed to pull off the upset and could not cover the 6.5-point spread, while the combined score of 40 played well UNDER the posted total of 61.5.

Middle Tennessee was defeated 31-14 by Arkansas State in Week 4, as 6.5-point road underdogs. The 45 points fell UNDER the posted total of 50.5.

Middle Tennessee had just 44 yards rushing in the loss.

Current streak:
Florida Atlantic has lost 2 straight games.
Middle Tennessee has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Florida Atlantic: 1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS
Middle Tennessee: 1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS

Florida Atlantic most recently:
When playing in September are 5-5
When playing on turf are 5-5
After being outgained are 6-4
When playing within the conference are 8-2

Middle Tennessee most recently:
When playing in September are 3-7
When playing on turf are 5-5
After being outgained are 4-6
When playing within the conference are 4-6

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 9 of Florida Atlantic's last 12 games
Florida Atlantic is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
Florida Atlantic is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Florida Atlantic is 8-17 SU in its last 25 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Middle Tennessee's last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Middle Tennessee's last 5 games at home
Middle Tennessee is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games at home
Middle Tennessee is 2-4-1 ATS in its last 7 games

Next up:
Florida Atlantic home to Troy, Tuesday, October 7
Middle Tennessee at Florida International, Saturday, October 11

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Florida Atlantic (1-3, 1-2 ATS) at Middle Tennessee State (1-3, 2-2 ATS)

Florida Atlantic hits the road for the fourth time this season when it visits Middle Tennessee State as the Sun Belt Conference takes center stage in a nationally televised midweek contest.

Both teams are coming off blowout road losses on Sept. 20, with Florida Atlantic getting hammered 37-3 at Minnesota as a six-point underdog and the Blue Raiders losing their conference opener 31-14 at Arkansas State as a 6½-point pup.

The Owls, who are the defending Sun Belt champs, have scored a total of 13 points in their three losses (vs. Texas, Michigan State and Minnesota), with their lone win being a 49-34 home rout of UAB. Meanwhile, Middle Tennessee’s lone victory was a 24-14 upset of Maryland as a 13-point road ‘dog, but it scored only 17, 14 and 14 points in its three losses.

Florida Atlantic rode its defense to a 27-14 win over Middle Tennessee last year, easily covering as a 2½-point home favorite. The Owls held the Blue Raiders to 217 total yards, including just 18 net rushing yards, while forcing four turnovers in the victory. These teams have met five times since 2003, with FAU holding a 3-2 edge (2-2 ATS in lined games). The chalk has cashed in the last three head-to-head meetings.

For the season, the Owls are averaging 15.5 points and 337.8 total yards per game (104 rushing ypg), while yielding per-game averages of 35 points and 441.2 yards (211 rushing ypg). As for Middle Tennessee, it is putting up 17.2 points and 346 yards per outing (only 68.5 rushing ypg) and surrendering 24 points and 363.2 yards (140 rushing ypg).

The Blue Raiders are just 15-88 SU in Sun Belt Conference home games, while the Owls have won seven of their eight road games since joining the Sun Belt two years ago.

Florida Atlantic is on ATS hot streaks of 5-2 overall, 7-2 in conference, 7-3 against losing teams and 4-1 on artificial turf, but the Owls have failed to cover in five of their last six following a bye.

Including the blowout loss at Arkansas State, Middle Tennessee has failed to cover in four straight Sun Belt Conference contests, but the Raiders are 7-2 ATS in their last nine on fake turf and 4-1 ATS in their last five after a bye.

The Owls sport nothing but “over” trends, including 9-3 overall, 5-0 in conference, 4-0 following a bye and 12-2 after a spread-cover. Conversely, Middle Tennessee is on under runs of 6-0 overall, 5-0 at home, 4-0 in conference, 4-1 in September, 6-1 on turf and 18-6 after an ATS setback.

ATS ADVANTAGE: NONE

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INDIAN COWBOY'S NCAAF RESEARCH

Florida International vs. Middle Tennessee

Weekday football in non-popular conferences are always fun. This game features the quarterbacks of Rusty Smith who has thrown for four touchdowns and five picks for Florida International and Joe Craddock who has nearly thrown for over a thousand yards. Craddock has passed for five touchdowns and thrown three interceptions. Craddock has also completed over 65% of his passes while Smith has completed under 50% of his passes. Florida Atlantic team beat this Middle Tennessee State team 24-17 at home last year easily covering the -2.5 spread that was placed on them last year. Thus, Middle Tennessee State does have revenge as they roll into this game. Of course, this is a nationally televised game and 66% favor the home team here. Florida Atlantic has played the much tougher schedule thus far as they have covered five out of their last 7 games. Fla Atlantic has lost to Minnesota 3-37, Michigan State 0-17, Texas 10-52 but did beat UAB handily 49-34. Middle Tennessee State is the same team that upset Maryland at home as they won by 10 points as an outright 13 point home underdog. However, they followed that up with back to back straight up as well as cover losses to Arkansas State and Kentucky. Granted, they played Kentucky very tough and lost 14-20. Note, that I took them when they did play at Kentucky and they were a great dog easily covering the 19.5 spread. As you know Fla Atlantic plays out of the Sun Belt as does Middle Tennessee State. But, MTS did lose back to back conference games, but they could be a different beast at home it seems as they did defeat the Terps. Of course, that was the Terps first road game, so keep that in mind. The Terps also bounce-back nicely learning from that loss as the beat Clemson outright on the road. Fla Atlantic is a passing oriented team in some respects as they are top 50 in the nation in passing yards and 105th in rushing yards. Their defense is top 110 in the nation as they are top 90 in passing defense and top 110 in rushing defense. Middle Tennessee State has a great passing attack thus far as they are ranked top 20 in the nation in passing but around the top 120 in rushing. Thus, they are a passing oriented team as well. Their defense is around the top 75 in both passing and rushing as well. As per the play for this selection, I tell you what - both teams come off back to back losses, Middle Tennessee State does have revenge and to me they are the better team, yet the public is riding them to the tee here. If anything I lean on the favorite here, but something tells me that the better play might be the over given this short spread as the oddsmakers expect Fla International to do well here. But, it is Middle Tennessee State that beat Maryland outright at home, played Kentucky very tough on the road and has revenge here. If anything a lean on the over here.

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