Both Miami-Dade’s FBS college-affiliated football programs shine with records better than anticipated going into huge home Saturday night games.
And neither warms the cold eyes of Las Vegas sportsbooks. The No. 9 Hurricanes and FIU opened as underdogs against, respectively, Virginia Tech and Texas-San Antonio.
According to the compliation of Vegas sportsbooks on Vegasinsider.com, the Hurricanes (7-0) are 2.5-point underdogs to No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-1) in a game that’ll likely decide the ACC Coastal Division. Rare that the lower ranked team on the road gets favored in such an important game without being named “Alabama” or “USC.” But it’s also rare that an undefeated team loses a spot in the polls after winning, as UM did after outlasting 1-7 North Carolina 24-19, Saturday.
Early money bettors like the Hurricanes, however. They moved the line a half-point toward the Hurricanes from the three-point open. The books like a defensive game, putting the Over/Under at 47.5.
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Meanwhile, one win from being bowl eligble in Butch Davis’ first season as head coach, FIU opened a three-point underdog to UTSA and the early money quickly bet that line up to four points. Both the line and the money are a bit surprising. Both teams are 5-2 and coming off a pair of dominating wins. But while UTSA spanked a winless UTEP team 31-14 Saturday, FIU just tore through Conference USA’s best defense in a 41-30 road trampling of Marshall’s Thundering Herd. Also, the game’s at FIU and Davis’ name recognition usually means something to bettors who throw a few bucks at Group of 5 conference games.
The Over/Under started at 54, a temptingly low number that gives more credit to UTSA’s defense than FIU’s offense.
As for the rest of the state’s FBS college-affiliated football teams:
▪ Florida, which parted with head coach Jim McElwain Sunday, opened 2.5-point underdogs at 3-5 Missouri and that line quickly moved to 3.5. Bettors clearly have no belief in the mental toughness of the 3-4 Gators admist the tumultuous times, making them an underdog against a team that’s beaten only UConn, Idaho and Missouri State. The Over/Under is 59, high for a game involving the offensively-challenged, but defensively tough -- Saturday’s 42-7 loss to Georgia notwithstanding -- Gators.
▪ At 2-5, losing three of its last four and coming off a 35-3 stomping at Boston College, Florida State increasingly resembles a Coyote (Loseibus Vulgaris) plunging toward terra firma. Bettors don’t see Syracuse as the boulder falling on FSU, however -- the Seminoles opened a 2.5-point favorite and early money on FSU moved that to four points. The Over/Under opened at 53.5.
▪ After Marshall took its spanking from FIU in West Virginia, the books say the Herd will take another one in Boca Raton from Florida Atlantic (5-2). The Owls were installed as a 10-point favorite and were at 9.5 by Monday afternoon. The books clearly believe more in Florida Atlantic’s offense, averaging 51.75 points per game in its four CUSA games, than Marshall’s defense, which had given up 37 points in their five-game winning streak before the Panthers pounced on it. Saturday’s Over/Under is 66.
▪ South Florida (7-1) suffering its first loss, 28-24 to Houston, didn’t bother the books. A 22.5-point spread over UConn moved to 23 before dropping back to 22.5. The Over/Under is 64.
▪ Central Florida (7-0) might’ve still been scoring on Austin Peay when the books made the Knights 13.5-point favorites over Southern Methodist. Despite UCF being the highest scoring team in the country and obliterating a FCS foe 73-33 last weekend, the money edged the line down to 13 by Monday morning, then back up to 13.5 by Monday afternoon. The Over/Under is 71.5.