Florida International Panthers vs. Florida Atlantic Owls Picks & Game Preview - 10/02/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET, Oct. 2, 2021
Venue: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
Where to watch: N/A

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: FAU -11; O/U 51.5; FAU -450, FIU +340
BetMGM: FAU -10.5; O/U 51.5; FAU -455, FIU +340
Caesars: FAU -10.5; O/U 51.5; FAU -430, FIU +330

Season record
Florida International: 1-3
Florida Atlantic: 2-2

Ben Burns had a solid 3-2-1 week in what was an eventful and upset-filled weekend of college football. Ben is back for his Thursday thoughts on Virginia and Miami, but don’t make a move on it until you check in with him. Catch Ben’s and other plays available right now at the Shop Picks page, where you can find all of the Best Bets from our champion sports handicappers.

Florida International - Florida Atlantic preview and analysis


Recent form
FIU: lost 31-27 at Central Michigan on Sept. 25
FAU: lost 31-7 at Air Force on Sept. 25

So, we completely whiffed on the Florida Atlantic Owls last week. But it's a new Saturday and we never have to speak about this appearance at the Air Force Academy ever again.

But all qualms should be put to rest very quickly heading into Saturday's matchup against the Florida International Panthers at home in the Conference-USA opener for both teams.

The Owls went into Colorado Springs looking to build off consecutive wins, and instead laid an egg against the Air Force Falcons. Or, in better terms, laid 24 eggs in a 24-point loss on the road.

We thought that the Owls would find some groove despite having to go to Colorado. That didn't happen. N'Kosi Perry had about as bad of a game as one could have on the road; he completed 33 percent of his passes -- going 11 of 33 -- for an unfathomable 78 yards and one interception. His lone bright spot? He scored the only touchdown; a 34-yard run that cut the lead to 24-7 in the second quarter.

Outside of that, the FAU offense went as cold as a December night at the Academy. FAU was outgained 561-219 and had the ball for less than 20 (twenty) minutes, while the defense gave up 446 yards on the ground, including 164 and two touchdowns from AFA quarterback Haaziq Daniels.

The Owls haven't found that consistency since the impressive season-opening loss to the Florida Gators, which was supposed to be the coming-out party for Perry and an improved FAU offense. Instead, it's been a hot-and-cold roller coaster heading into the fifth week of the season.

FIU comes to town off a competitive stretch the past three weeks, minus the 33-point loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders from two weeks ago. The Panthers had a 17-point lead going into the fourth quarter this past weekend against the Central Michigan Chippewas, but backup CMU quarterback Daniel Richardson threw three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to rally for the four-point win.

But hey, at least they covered.

That did kill the momentum from the greatest name in college football, FIU quarterback Max Bortenschlager, after throwing for 395 yards and two touchdowns.

But you get the feeling FIU is the program that's not there yet in figuring out how to build off momentum after a game like that. But at least they accomplished that on the road to the point where they almost pulled off the upset.

Prediction


With FIU coming back to the state of Florida, the thought of another one-score game is absolutely possible. FAU has done well enough at home to get that offense rolling, and I firmly believe the Owls will bounce back and win. However, FIU's offense is talented enough to keep things entertaining until the very end. FAU by 8

Betting trends


Florida International is 2-9 against the spread in its last 11 against conference opponents.

Florida Atlantic is 4-0 in its last four ATS as a home favorite between 7.5 and 14 points.

Players to watch


Florida International: Bryce Singleton is the other receiver to watch out for with FIU. He has a team-high 19 receptions for 347 yards and one touchdown.

Florida Atlatnic: The Owls need to start getting some pressure on the quarterback sooner or later. The only player to register a sack to this point is defensive end Jaylen Joyner with two.

Statistical leaders


Florida International:
Passing: Max Bortenschlager -- 1,105 yards, 8 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: D’Vonte Price -- 377 yards, 5 TD
Receiving: Tyrese Chambers -- 392 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Daniel Jackson -- 2 sacks

Florida Atlantic:
Passing: N’Kosi Perry -- 949 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Johnny Ford -- 189 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: LaJohntay Wester -- 276 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Jordan Helm -- 35 tackles

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this FIU Panthers - FAU Owls prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NCAA projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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