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NCAA Football Wagering – New Orleans Bowl Florida Atlantic at Memphis
WHAT: The New Orleans Bowl
WHO: The Florida Atlantic Owls (7-5, 7-4 ATS) vs. the Memphis Tigers (7-5 SU, 5-5-1 ATS)
WHEN & WHERE: December 21, 8 PM EST at the Louisiana Superdome (artificial turf)
BETUS COLLEGE FOOTBALL BETTING LINE: FLORIDA ATLANTIC -2.5, Total 67
LAST POINTSPREAD RESULT: Florida Atlantic won the Sun Belt Conference title with a 38-32 win over Troy as a 16-point underdog on December 1. Memphis beat SMU 55-52 in triple overtime on November 24, failing to cover as the 6.5-point home favorite.
ABOUT FLORIDA ATLANTIC:
The Good News — Sophomore QB Rusty Smith had a breakout year, throwing for 3352 yards and 27 touchdown passes with just eight interceptions. Coach Howard Schnellenberger has coached in four bowl games, winning and covering all four. His team forced a lot of turnovers (33), compiling a +19 turnover margin, the best in the country.
The Bad News — When stepping up in class, Sun Belt champ FAU has often been overmatched. The Owls have lost to Oklahoma State (42-6), Kentucky (45-17) and Florida (59-20) by wide margins, though they managed to stay with then-#2 South Florida for a while before going down to a 35-23 defeat. FAU also ranked dead last in punt returns with only three yards per game.
FLORIDA ATLANTIC TRENDS:
* FAU is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 non-conference games
* FAU has played seven straight games OVER the total
* FAU has won four of its last six games SU
* FAU has allowed 33.8 ppg this season
The Good News — QB Martin Hankins (61%, 2939 yards), a former pupil of Hal Mumme’s system, threw for 22 touchdowns this season. The Tigers averaged over 300 yards per game through the air. Memphis wound up with a +9 turnover ratio, not necessarily by playing “takeaway” with its defense, but by being stingy with the ball, coughing up only 16 turnovers.
The Bad News — Memphis ranks 110th in the country in defending against the run, giving up 214 yards per game, 5.2 yards per carry and 24 rushing TD’s. The Tigers also suffered losses to Sun Belt members Arkansas State (35-31) and Middle Tennessee (21-7). And there was little pass rush, as the Tigers registered just 14 sacks. At the outset of the season, Memphis was hopeful of coming away with the Conference USA title, so obviously this season has served up a disappointment of sorts.
* MEM has won five of its last six games SU
* MEM has played five UNDERS in its last eight games
* MEM coach Tommy West is 4-2 ATS in bowl games
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you look at FAU, it is a rather unremarkable team that not only has been exposed to an extent when it has moved up in level of competition. And this is the first bowl experience for this program, which makes for an uneasy favorite. The Owls, in order to be successful, have had to cash in on opponents’ miscues. That would be one thing if Memphis was particularly mistake-prone, but the Tigers are not. So the opportunities may not be plentiful for Schnellenberger’s team to find favorable situations to score. We do not want to lay the points with a team like FAU, so we’re on the “take” with Memphis, the 2.5-point underdog in the Top Sportsbooks college football betting odds.
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