University of Miami

Books and bettors are for the birds (Ibis & Owls) in today’s Florida college football

FIU and Florida Atlantic in the 2016 Shula Bowl at FIU Stadium.
FIU and Florida Atlantic in the 2016 Shula Bowl at FIU Stadium. dneal@MiamiHerald.com

The Hurricanes and Florida Atlantic wake up Saturday in the warm embrace of the coldest judgement in sports, the betting lines of Las Vegas sportsbooks and cash of serious college affiliated-football bettors.

Whether you see the 9-0 Hurricanes as No. 2 (Associated Press poll) or No. 3 (College Football Playoff rankings), the sportsbook line consensus as reported by Vegasinsider.com had them a huge No. 1 in the two-team competition with Virginia Saturday at Hard Rock Stadium game.

UM opened as a 17-point favorite and betting money moved that up to 19.5 points. The total points Over/Under has stayed at or around 50.5 points. While UM successfully smashed and grabbed respect and bettor love by blasting Notre Dame last week, the money people noticed the 41-8 score still meant only a 49 total.

Raise your hands if you thought of all the rivalry games in the state, The Shula Bowl between FAU and FIU, schools separated by 55 miles and an acronym’s vowel, might actually have the most on the line.

Everybody with hands up, put them down and go do penance for lying.

FIU (6-3) knocked even more off the table for this game when it stumbled at home against Old Dominion last week. Now, the Butch Davis-coached Panthers need to hope for a longshot hat trick to win Conference USA’s East Division -- a win here and at Western Kentucky next week while 1-9 Charlotte upsets FAU. Meanwhile, Florida Atlantic (7-3) just needs a win Saturday at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton to take the East in Lane Kiffin’s first year as head coach.

FAU opened at 14-point favorite and were still at 14.5 points as of Saturday morning. The Over/Under moved from 62.5 to 64.5, indicating more belief in Kiffin’s offense than FIU’s defense.

As for the state’s other games today:

▪ When scheduling Alabama-Birmingham in that program’s resurrection season after two years gone, you can bet nobody at Florida thought the Gators would be the 3-6 team and UAB would be 7-3. The money still sees this as “SEC vs. Conference USA” so the Gators opened and remain a 10.5-point favorite. That 48 total has stayed right there, though. That’s a number Florida’s reached in six of its nine games and UAB isn’t without talent.

▪ Central Florida’s slow start last week against UConn probably scared bettors who looked at an Over wager on a UCF game as the security blanket, the safe bet on a parlay or a bet you make just to give yourself one you don’t have to worry about. After the opening line said 9-0 UCF by 14 at 5-5 Temple with a 57 Over/Under, it’s moved down a smidge to 13.5 points with a 56.5 Over/Under.

▪ Not many places are putting up numbers on Florida State (3-6) vs. FBS foe Delaware State. Betonline.AG apparently has Florida State by 50 with a 61 Over/Under. Clearly, this was scheduled to be a creampuff tuneup before the ACC Championship Game. But, little has gone as expected among the state’s college-affiliated football teams this season. What was anticipated as a tuneup is a game necessary for the Seminoles to reach bowl eligibility.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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