This Saturday the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (8-4) will host the UAB Blazers (9-3) in the 2018 Conference USA Championship Game. Kickoff is set for 1:30 EST at Floyd Stadium and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Taking a look at the Week 14 NCAA Football odds the books opened up the Blue Raiders as a slim 2.5-point favorite, but that has dropped to Middle Tennessee -1.5 and even -1 at some places. The total for this matchup is currently at 45 points.
Vegas Game Odds & Betting Preview: UAB vs Middle Tennessee
This is one of those rare times where you have the same two teams that just played in the regular-season finale, playing each other the very next week in the conference title game. Middle Tennessee defeated UAB 27-3 at home as a 3-point underdog and the game stayed well UNDER the total of 51.5.
It’s worth noting that when the game kicked off, both teams had already clinched a spot in the C-USA title game. UAB actually had the West locked up back on Nov. 10 and the Blue Raiders secured the East earlier in the day when Marshall defeated FIU. That’s not to say the game was completely meaningless, as the winner of that game would earn the right to host the title matchup.
College Football Betting Free Pick & Predictions: UNDER 45
My early lean here would be to take the UNDER 45 in this one. I just think given the matchup and the familiarity with preparing for the same team two weeks in a row, is going to lead to a defensive battle.
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I know homefield was on the line, but I really think UAB was playing possum in that game last week. I mean the Blazers finished the game with 89 total yards and were outgained by 300. I think to them it was more valuable to lose that game and now show Middle Tennessee anything that might help them win this week.
I certainly don’t expect the Blue Raiders to pile on 27 points and for Brent Stockstill to go 22 of 29 for 261 yards and 2 scores. UAB’s defense is much better than that. In fact, they are 8th in the country in total defense, giving up just 387.2 ypg and are 7th nationally in defending the pass (166.3 ypg).
I also think that Middle Tennessee offense could be negated some by Mother Nature, as there’s a decent chance for rain in the forecast and winds are expecting to be blowing at least 15 mph.
On the flip side of this, I also don’t think the Blazers offense is going to be able to a lot here. UAB is pretty one-dimensional with the run, as they average almost twice as many rush attempts (44) as they do pass attempts (25). That’s going to make it tough sledding here against a talented Middle Tennessee defensive front. Blue Raiders are giving up 25.2 ppg on the season, but only 18.4 ppg in conference play and just 17.4 ppg at home.
UNDER is 9-2 in Middle Tennessee’s 11 home games over the last two seasons and a perfect 6-0 in the 6 games played in the 2nd half of the season. UNDER is also 9-2 in the Blazer’s last 11 road games, 7-1 in their last 8 vs a team with a winning record and a perfect 5-0 in their last 5 off a SU loss. Give me the UNDER 45.