Free College Football Picks for Florida Atlantic vs. Marshall

Darin Zank

Wednesday, October 22, 2014 3:05 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014 3:05 PM UTC

With a 7-0 SU, 6-1 ATS start the Thundering Herd of Marshall are making a case as one of the best teams in the country not affiliated with one of the Big Five conferences. Marshall will try to extend a six-game ATS winning streak when it hosts Florida Atlantic for a CUSA East battle Saturday afternoon in Huntington.


Owls-Herd Betting Odds
Most of the college football odds opened Marshall at -27 over FAU, with a total of 67.5 By Wednesday many shops had bumped the Herd to -28.

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Owls-Herd: The Situation
Marshall, with 14 starters back from a team that went 10-4 last year, expected not just to return to the CUSA championship game this season, but this time to win it. And so far, it's been so good for the Herd, with seven straight wins, most in blowout fashion.

Marshall opened this season with a 42-27 victory at Miami (Ohio), then routed Rhode Island 48-7, then beat Ohio 44-14 and topped Akron 48-17. The Herd then began CUSA play with a 56-14 victory over Old Dominion, then beat Middle Tennessee 49-24, and last week won at Florida International 45-13.

So Marshall has covered six spreads in a row, as a favorite of 40, 20, 10, 18, 23 and 21 points.

The Herd has also outgained and outrushed every opponent so far this season.

Florida Atlantic, with just 11 starters back from a team that went 6-6 last year, looked like it might have a tough time returning to bowl-eligibility this season. At 3-4 SU (5-2 ATS) the Owls need three wins in their last five games to make that happen.

FAU opened with a 55-7 loss at Nebraska, then lost at Alabama 41-0. The Owls then trounced Tulsa 50-21, but lost at Wyoming 20-19 on a field goal with 15 seconds left. They then beat UTSA 41-37, but laid an egg in a 38-10 loss at Florida International as six-point favorites. Last week, though, FAU won at Western Kentucky 45-38 as three-point dogs.

The Owls trailed the Hilltoppers 24-7 late in the second quarter, and 38-28 into the fourth, but scored the last 17 points of the game, the last 14 in the last three minutes, winning on a 61-yard Jaquez Johnson touchdown pass with a minute and a half to go.

Florida Atlantic outgained Western Kentucky 619-402 and held the ball for over 36 minutes.

Outside of the Cornhuskers and the Tide the Owls have outgained and outrushed three of their other five opponents this season.


Owls-Herd Recent History
These teams had never met until last year, when as new conference foes Marshall scored twice in the last six minutes to come from behind and beat FAU in Boca Raton 24-23. But the Owls covered as 10-point home dogs.

The Herd opened the scoring with a punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter, but FAU rallied to take a 23-14 lead with 10 minutes to go. Marshall then scored on a Rakeem Cato touchdown pass, and kicked a field goal with six seconds left for the victory.

The Owls outgained the Herd 400-355, outrushed 'em 213-139 and won time-of-possession by a 35-25 margin. That's why they covered the spread.


Owls-Herd Betting Trends
FAU is 13-2 ATS in its last 15 games as a dog on the road, and 6-2 ATS the last eight times it's been dogged by 20 points or more.

Marshall is 8-0-1 ATS in its last nine games as a home favorite.

These teams are a combined 10-4 on the totals this season.


Owls-Herd Free Pick
The spread on this game is probably inflated by about a touchdown, as Marshall has roared through its first seven games, and plays at home. Normally we might back the dog in a situation like this, in a search for value. But Florida Atlantic also recently lost a couple of defensive starters for the season to injuries, part of the reason the Owls have allowed 113 points over their last three games. So we'll give the points and go with the Herd for our college football picks.

Free College Football Pick: Marshall at -28 at Pinnacle

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