Oskeim Sports gives a detailed betting preview in Saturday’s college football game between Florida Atlantic and Florida. Oskeim also gives a free pick winner in the game so keep reading to find out which team is going to cover the point spread.
Florida applies to a very negative 6-36 ATS system of mine that invests against certain college football home teams in the first month of the season if they closed out the prior season with two or more consecutive losses versus an opponent that played in a bowl game the previous season.
Florida Atlantic is one of the most experienced teams in the country, ranking fourth in returning production (93%) with 20 starters coming back from last year’s 5-4 squad. While 5-4 does not seem overly impressive, keep in mind that first-year head coach Willie Taggart inherited just seven returning starters and could not practice in the spring (COVID-19).
The Owls had their first spring practices under Taggart and are familiar with his schemes on both sides of the ball. 30 of 34 players that started last season are back and Taggert brought in some key transfers to give the Owls much-needed depth. Florida Atlantic will have one of the most potent offenses in Conference USA behind Miami transfer quarterback N’Kosi Perry.
Both starting running backs return, together with South Florida transfer Johnny Ford, who averaged 7.1 yards per carry over the last three seasons. All five starting offensive linemen are back (102 career starts) and Taggert brought in transfers from Florida State and Auburn to provide depth along the line.
Florida Atlantic’s young defense performed exceptionally well last season, ranking 56th in defensive S&P+ and allowing just 9.4 points per game in wins. The Owls’ stop unit finished 24th in yards per play allowed, 35th in success rate and 24th in marginal explosiveness last season.
Blue-chip transfers in Florida State tackle Malcolm Lamar and Nebraska linebacker Keyshawn Greene join twelve players who played at least 200 snaps in 2020. Florida Atlantic’s secondary, which allowed just 188 passing yards per game (54.9%) last year, returns fully intact.
Florida is on the opposite spectrum of returning production with just nine starters back. The Gators lost nine players to the NFL Draft and enter this season ranked 124th nationally in returning production (54%). Florida cornerback and projected starter Jaydon Hill tore the ACL in his left knee one week into training camp and will miss the 2021 campaign.
The Gators ranked 100th out of 127 teams nationally in pass defense last season. Head coach Dan Mullen is forced to use several unproven candidates on the roster to fill the unexpected vacancy. Historically, college football teams that have five or fewer offensive starters returning and have a new offensive coordinator (Florida) are just 40.8% ATS.
In contrast, college football teams that have nine or more returning offensive starters, including the quarterback (Florida Atlantic), and were .333 or worse ATS the previous season have improved by an incredible 27.3% against the spread and averaged 8.0 more points per game.
Finally, my math model only favors Florida by 21.32 points in this game so grab the inflated number with the competitive road underdog as Oskeim’s Free Pick Winner for Saturday, September 4. Be sure to check back daily for more free pick winners from the #1 ranked handicapper in the industry!