This Saturday the North Texas Mean Green (9-3) will take on the Florida Atlantic Owls (9-3) in the 2017 C-USA Championship Game. Unlike most conferences, which play their title games on a neutral field, FAU will get the game on their home field. Kickoff is set for 12:00 EST at FAU Stadium and will be televised on ESPN2.
Oddsmakers currently have the Owls listed as a 11-point home favorite with the total set at 74 points. Click here to check out our Week 14 betting schedule and for more links to our game previews.
North Texas vs Florida Atlantic Vegas Odds & Betting Preview
The Mean Green closed out the regular-season with a 30-14 win and cover on the road over Rice, as a 13-point favorite. North Texas has now won five straight overall and have covered the spread in each of their last four.
The Owls defeated Charlotte by a final score of 31-12 this past Saturday, coming no where close to covering as massive 24.5-point favorites. Not a big surprise to see FAU not play up to their potential, given they were coming off a big game against in-state rival FIU and had already locked up a spot in the the title game.
This will be a rematch, as these two teams played at FAU back in October. That one was over shortly after it started. Florida Atlantic led 24-0 at the end of the 1st quarter and 41-7 at the half. They would score on their first 11 drives of the game and ended up winning by a final of 69-31. Note that the Mean Green scored twice in the 4th quarter after FAU went up 69-17.
College Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: FAU -11
I don’t typically love taking the favorite in these same season revenge games, but I just think there’s enough here to feel pretty confident with backing the Owls. Note that this line has already jumped quite a bit, as FAU opened as a 8.5-point favorite. I wouldn’t be surprised if ended up closer to 14 by the time kickoff comes around.
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A lot can change over a little time in college football and just because FAU dominated North Texas a little over a month ago, it doesn’t mean it will happen again. However, I think there’s a good chance this one isn’t close. The Owls simply did whatever they wanted offensively against the Mean Green, racking up a ridiculous 804 yards and 37 first downs. They scored on their first 11 possessions, which is absurd. Chances are they won’t be as dominant, but they don’t need to win here by two touchdowns.
The biggest thing for me is the injuries that North Texas has suffered leading up this rematch. The biggest being the loss of running back Jeffery Wilson, who leads the team with 1,215 yards and 16 touchdowns. On top of that, they could also be without wide out Jalen Guyton, who is questionable with a concussion. Guyton leads the team with 758 receiving yards and 9 touchdown catches. Even if Guyton is able to play, the loss of Wilson is going to make it tough for the Mean Green to keep pace. Backup Nic Smith did have 178 yards last week against Rice, but Rice’s defense is horrible. Smith got 8 carries in the first meeting with FAU and only had 25 yards (3.1 yards/carry).
One of the ways that North Texas could have kept this one closer than the first meeting is to establish the run and try to control the time of possession to limit the chances for FAU’s offense. I just don’t see them being able to do that with Wilson out o the picture. The Mean Green have no choice here but to try and go score for score with the Owls and I just don’t see them being able to keep pace over 4 quarters.
It’s also worth noting that North Texas has a history of not doing well against the spread in games that are expected to be high-scoring, as they are just 8-19 ATS in their last 27 with a total of 63 or more. They also have had a hard time keeping it close on the road against high-powered offenses like FAU, as they are just 4-16 ATS in their last 20 road games against teams who average 425 or more yards/game and have lost these contests on average by 25.1 ppg. Give me the Owls -11.