Miami of Florida will be a chalky road favorite according to the sportsbooks college football odds, but nobody would want to forecast coach Al Golden will return if his team has another losing season.
Golden is just 29-22 (26-24-1 ATS) at the 'U' as he enters his fifth season and is his squad is predicted to be run of the mill in the ACC, with no football handicappers using the Hurricanes for college football picks futures wagers to be conference champions.
For Florida Atlantic, this is the home opener and they covered a 31-point spread down in Miami two years ago.
When Miami-Fl. Has the Ball
The Canes make the 51-mile trip over to Boca Raton and are off a 45-0 shutout over Bethune-Cookman as 38-point home favorites. Miami-Fl. has a good looking young quarterback in sophomore Brad Kaaya, but is working with a new receivers and three new starters in the offensive line. It might not matter a lot in this contest, but it's time for this team to perform at a higher level on any scale since overall they had seven players drafted in the NFL last year (five in the first three rounds) and they have quarterback who should move the ball effectively in this contest.
When Florida Atlantic Has the Ball
The Owls put up 563 yards of offense, but it wasn't enough at Tulsa, falling in OT 47-44. At least Florida Atlantic covered the 4.5 points on the road, beating the betting odds. If you end up watching this game Friday night on FS1, you will not be able to keep your eyes off quarterback Jaquez Johnson. This electric performing senior was 23 for 34 for 263 yards and two touchdowns and also scampered for 97 yards at 4.8 yards a carry. When Johnson decides to hand the ball off, sophomore Greg Howell has already shown he's a fine option.
What the Hurricanes Have to do on Defense
Shutting out any team is always good, even one from the FCS and possibly finally, the Miami defense will play up to its talent level. The last time the Hurricanes held teams under 20 points on average for a season was 2007, as the recruiting has yielded talented, but not necessarily skilled, disciplined football players. Golden has brought in good players at all three levels, but because they do not follow their assignments, linebackers have been left to try and clean up mistakes and with tackling-machine Denzel Perryman gone, does this defense come together as a group or function as individuals, making the Canes unreliable choice for college football picks?
What the Owls Have to do on Defense
Coach Charley Partridge is in his second season and his defense ranked 110th in total defense a year ago in surrendering 460.8 YPG. The five returning starters and the replacements have gotten off to a very rocky new season in allowing 618 yards to a Tulsa team coming off a 2-10 campaign and having a new head coach. The defensive line has experience, but tends to play in feast or famine mode and the secondary is breaking in two new starters at safety and they entire secondary was torched for 424 yards in the opener. If they could not contain Tulsa, what are their chances against a far better quarterback in Kaaya?
Oddsmakers Numbers and Outcome
WagerWeb opened Miami as 17.5-point favorites. The Canes are only 3-7 SU and ATS in road openers the last decade, however, this will be far and away the easiest foe they have faced in that interim.
No question this is a big game for Florida Atlantic as virtually every player from the Sunshine State has come into contact on some level with the other team and the Owls players want to prove they can compete against the "big boys".
Miami has better players and more of them should be able to defeat FAU by at least 20 points if they have their heads in the game. With a bigger matchup with Nebraska at home next, it is not guaranteed the Hurricanes will have the necessary focus, though they are 5-3 ATS as away favorites under Golden.
FAU is 5-1 ATS the past three years as home underdogs and Johnson gives them a shot to stay in the game and I'll recommend a light play on the Owls, but be sure to have the +17.5 points.
College Football Pick: Florida Atlantic +17.5 at Pinnacle