This Friday the Florida Atlantic Owls will host the Marshall Thundering Herd in a huge C-USA matchup. Kickoff is set for 6:30 EST at FAU Football Stadium and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Both teams reside in the East Division of C-USA and many felt coming into the season the winner of this matchup would be in the driver’s seat to reach the C-USA title game. That could definitely be the case, but right now both teams are trailing Western Kentucky, who is 3-0 in league play. FAU is 2-0 in C-USA, while Marshall is 1-1.
Oddsmakers opened up the line for this contest with FAU at -5.5 and that’s where the number sits at the time of this article. The total opened at 57 and is up to 57.5 at most books.
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Marshall vs Florida Atlantic Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview
Marshall Thundering Herd (3-3 SU, 1-5 ATS)
The Thundering Herd avoided a third straight defeat with a 31-17 win at home over Old Dominion, but suffered their 4th straight loss against the spread as they closed as a 16.5-point favorite. Marshall led 14-0 early and had a massive 444 to 206 edge in total yards, but just couldn’t pull away.
The big thing to note with the Thundering Herd and their 3-3 start is that 2 of those 3 losses came against better teams. They lost 14-7 at Boise State and 52-14 at home to Cincinnati. Their only other loss was on the road at Middle Tennessee, where they fell 24-13 to the Blue Raiders as a 4.5-point favorite.
Florida Atlantic Owls (4-2 SU, 4-2 ATS)
The Owls enter this matchup riding a 4-game winning streak. The most recent victory coming in a 28-13 win and cover as a 12.5-point home favorite against Middle Tennessee. It was a bit of a fortunate cover for FAU, as they actually trailed 13-12 at the half and were outgained by almost 100 yards (364 to 459).
The big difference in the game was the Owls +3 (3-0) turnover margin. Nothing new for Lane Kiffin’s team in 2019. Florida Atlantic has won the turnover battle in 5 of their 6 games this season. Owls have only turned it over more than once in one game and have forced multiple turnovers in 4 of 6.
Like the Thundering Herd, FAU has two losses that were to be expected, as they lost 45-21 to Ohio State and 48-14 to UCF.
The Thundering Herd have had the upper hand in the series, as they have won 5 of the last 6 meetings, including a 31-7 blowout win as a 2.5-point home dog in 2018. FAU did win 30-25 the last time they hosted Marshall, but the Thundering Herd also covered that contest as a 6.5-point dog.
College Football Free Betting Pick & Predictions: FAU -5.5
My early lean here would be to lay the points with the Owls at home. I’ll admit that this feels a little too good to be true with FAU, as the Owls are clearly playing the better football coming into this matchup. However, the books have repeatedly overvalued Marshall this season. The Thundering Herd are just 1-5 ATS and have failed to cover 4 straight.
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Revenge is always a huge motivator in college football and the fact that the Thundering Herd embarrassed FAU in last year’s meeting only makes me like the Owls that much more. I also think FAU has a big edge here with playing at home on a short week of rest.
The other big thing for me when handicapping this matchup is quarterback play. FAU’s Chris Robinson is completing 64% of his attempts with a 13-2 TD-INT ratio. Marshall’s Isaiah Green is only completing 57.2% of his attempts with a 8-5 TD-INT ratio.
Another thing with Green is that he’s got a 1-4 TD-INT ratio in Marshall’s two true road games. Green’s inability to protect the football away from home is an even bigger concern when you factor in how good FAU’s defense has been at creating turnovers. The Owls have 11 takeaways during their 4-game winning streak.
FAU is also 5-1 ATS in their last 6 conference games and 5-1 ATS in their last 6 after allowing less than 20 points last time out. Marshall is just 1-8 ATS last 9 after allowing less than 20 points and 1-5 ATS lat 6 off a win. Give me the Owls -5.5!