In the Battle of the Panthers Saturday, the surprising Florida International Panthers are intriguing home underdogs vs. the Georgia State Panthers, who are 0-2 on the road.
The home underdog appears to hold value in the Sunshine State Saturday when the Georgia State Panthers (2-4, 0-2 away) pay a visit to those Florida International Panthers (6-3, 3-0 home) at US Century Bank Arena in Miami, FL at 5:00 ET.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Florida International as a moderate underdog for this contest with the current line at +4½ with odds of -106.
Both of these teams are switching to new conferences this season with Georgia State switching out of the CAA, where it finished with a winning 10-8 record last year, and moving to the Sun Belt Conference. Meanwhile, FIU is moving out of that very same Sun Belt, where it went 11-9 last season, and into Conference USA.
Georgia State was the more highly regarded of these two teams at the beginning of this season, but the play on the court by these clubs thus far does not seem to support that, or at least does not support Georgia State being a road favorite in this spot, as the oddsmakers seem to be sticking to their preseason power ratings.
Florida International has a new head coach this season in Anthony Evans after former coach Richard Pitino, son of Kentucky Coach Rick Pitino, left for the big money at Minnesota. The Panthers have responded well under Evans in the early going though through a rather busy schedule, as they have already played nine game at are a promising 6-3.
FIU did have a six-game winning streak snapped at South Carolina on Sunday, but it was not embarrassed in SEC territory losing 84-72, shooting a nice 48.0 percent from the floor including a good 37.5 percent from beyond the three-point arc in what could be considered an encouraging loss, especially while now returning home to face a lesser foe.
If the FIU Panthers can duplicate that offense effort in Columbia here vs. their fellow Panthers from Georgia State, it could put them in position for an upset as Georgia State is ranked a dismal 311th early on in defensive efficiency.
Georgia State is favored on the road here despite owning a losing 2-4 record with the two wins coming vs. a Division II school called Southern Tech and vs. one of the weaker Division I schools in the country in McNeese State, a team that is ranked 319th on Pomeroy right now. The Panthers enter this contest on a three-game losing streak, and while that streak began with an acceptable loss at Alabama, the last two defeats came to Canisius and Elon.
Those two teams are not considerably better then the FIU opponent they are taking on today and Georgia State has yet to win a true road game this season going 0-2. Most distressing though is the Georgia State defense allowing an alarmingly high effective field goal percentage of 58.8 percent, and that is while not facing much of a schedule besides Alabama.
Frankly, we think that this line is off as we feel Florida International can take advantage of the Georgia State defensive shortcomings at home, so take the points in Miami on Saturday.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Florida International +4½ (-106)