College Football Pick - Florida International To Give Maryland Fierce Competition

FIU Golden Panthers Player Runs With Ball

Jay Pryce

Friday, September 9, 2016 1:58 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 9, 2016 1:58 PM UTC

Maryland is favored on the road for just the third time in the last two seasons. Can they take care of business in Miami against Florida International? Pick and analysis inside.

Maryland Terrapins (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
New head coach DJ Durkin picked up a win in his debut, dominating FCS Howard 52-13 in the opener. Durkin, a former Michigan defensive coordinator, took over a 3-9 team from last season. What, if anything, bettors can take away from the Terps’ win is negligible. Howard, out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, won just a single game last year, outscored 408-169 by opponents.

The offense gained more than 500 yards (519) for just the second time in its last 36 games. Fifth-year senior QB Perry Hills went 14 for 19 for 126 yards, and most importantly tossed zero interceptions.

Maryland posted a minus-18 turnover differential last season, primarily due to bad quarterback play. Hills and backup signal-caller Caleb Rowe gifted 28 interceptions to just 14 touchdown passes, six more picks than any other FBS program. Overall, the Terps ranked 109th in passing offense. The unit retreated to the run more often after a barrage of turnovers through the air early in the year. It will be telling to see if they stick to a more balanced approach this season.

Defensively, Maryland allowed a respectable 5.4 yards per play last season, but was horrible in the red zone, allowing opponents to score on 90 percent of possessions (112th in FBS). The Terps yielded 28 points or more in nine games, and at least 40 points five times.

The unit allowed Howard to gain 269 total yards, the Bisons’ fourth-highest total in their last 11 games against D1 opponents. Since 2000, Howard averages 246 total yards versus FBS foes and put up a record-low 11 against Boston College last season.

Durkin set up a more aggressive scheme for this year, taking advantage of an athletic secondary. Expect a lot more man-to-man coverage in the backfield, working out of both 4-3 and 3-4 alignments. They’ll get a strong test against the pass-happy Golden Panthers on Friday night.


Florida International Golden Panthers (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
FIU takes on consecutive Big Ten opponents, after falling to Indiana 34-12 last Saturday. The Golden Panthers led Indiana 13-12 through three-quarters, before tripping up in the fourth. The loss makes FIU 0-11 against teams calling the Big Ten home currently, dropping its last four against the spread. It is 0-23 SU against Power 5 conferences

Offensively, expect FIU to go to the air most of the night. QB Alex McGough set school records in 2015 with 420 pass attempts, 269 completions, and 21 touchdowns. He went 23 of 46 passes for 263 yards in the opener but gifted the IU defense three interceptions, two of them pick-sixes. It was the first time in 50 years the Hoosiers returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a game.

Tight end Jonnu Smith, many consider a future NFL player, led FIU with eight receptions and was second in receiving yards (82). True freshman WR Stantley Thomas, led all receivers with 91 yards on three catches. The running game was stuffed, with Alex Gardner gaining just 23 yards on 10 carries. But Gardner is dangerous with his hands, setting a school record last season for running backs, reeling in 60 catches. He caught seven for 70 receiving yards in the loss.

Head coach Ron Turner was very pleased with his defense following the game, and rightfully so. Indiana averaged 496.8 yards per game of total offense last season, 14th highest in FBS. Turner’s unit held the Hoosiers a tick below with 486 yards, and allowed just two offensive touchdowns. The Golden Panthers were steamrolled by the run late in the game, however, allowing 246 yards on the ground on 52 IU carries. LB Treyvon Williams is the anchor, recording 13 tackles and a sack against the Hoosiers. 


Final Analysis
Currently, the line at the top rated sportsbook 5Dimes has the Terrapins as -11 (-103) favorites for this game, the Total for this game is currently in the range of 56 - 56.5. Those odds seem to be the average among the rest of the College Football Odds. The reason why Indiana and Maryland are playing on the road against FIU is to connect with the high-school talent teeming in South Florida. The Golden Panthers are made up of many local players, and square off against the Terps with plenty of ability on their roster. They can hold their own against non-elite top conference teams, as evident in the Indiana game. Scoring points have been the issue when up against the Power 5, though. FIU has never scored more than 28 points against, and averages 11.6 points. For a free college football prediction against the spread look for the Golden Panthers defense to give the Maryland offense all it can handle, and keep the score within striking distance. The 10.5 points will be a bonus. FIU +11 with a lean to the UNDER. 

We remind you that if you are thinking of making a wager on college football this weekend that you first check out SBR's list of the best available Sportsbook bonuses. A great tool for all smart bettors.


Free College Football Picks: Florida International +11 & Under 56.5
Best Lines Offered: at 5Dimes

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