Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Florida Atlantic Owls: Prediction, Preview, Picks & Odds - 1/26/2023

by Chuck Sommers

Time: 7 p.m. ET
Venue: FAU Arena, Boca Raton, FL
Where to watch: CBS Sports Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Check back later
FanDuel: Check back later
BetMGM: Check back later
Caesars: Check back later

Season record
MTSU: 13-7 (6-3 C-USA)
No. 21 FAU: 19-1 (9-0 C-USA)

We’re nearing the halfway mark of the college basketball season and it’s been quite the ride so far. Will Rogers is going hard in the last 30 days with a 16-10-1 run, while Kyle Hunter has also had a strong run of form as of late at 28-24-0 (+$1,700). If they’ve been killing it as much as they were in the first half, what does the second half have in store? The only way you’re going to find out is by staying locked on bigal.com and following what our champion handicappers are up to heading into the second half. Trust us, you want to know.

Middle Tennessee - Florida Atlantic preview, prediction and analysis


Recent form
MTSU: won 68-51 at Louisiana Tech on Saturday
FAU: won 67-59 at UTEP on Saturday

Welcome to the top 25, Florida Atlantic. The Owls have been playing registered college basketball since 1993, and this is the first time they have ever cracked the top 25. Their first game with this new power will be on Thursday when they host the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders.

Florida Atlantic has not lost since losing 80-67 against Ole Miss on Nov. 11. One look at the schedule will tell you that is an 18-game winning streak and a perfect 9-0 start in Conference-USA play. The Owls are coming off a 67-59 win at UTEP on Saturday. Johnell Davis led the way with 20 points and six rebounds off the bench, and Vladislav Goldin had 11 points and three blocks.

“I thought UTEP played really determined basketball tonight," FAU coach Dusty May said. “They were focused, energetic and were flying around the floor, credit to Coach Golding and their team.”

This is new territory for FAU, more of a happy-to-be-here kind of mentality, but they’ve obviously been a good spread team because of how they’ve come out of nowhere. FAU has covered in its last four and has been registered as favorites in the last seven, going 4-2-1 in that stretch.

“For our guys to go on this road trip in this swing of five games in 10 days and three games in six days, with the tough travel that we have – we’re pretty far away from home – and come away with five wins is a testament to their determination and character more than anything else," May said.

Middle Tennessee has been a mid-major power before, but there seems to be some competition in that now with FAU. The Blue Raiders have won four in a row and are coming off a 68-51 win at Louisiana Tech on Saturday. Now, this will turn into one of the more tougher matchups they’ve seen this year.

Elias King led the way with 18 points and four rebounds while making four 3-pointers, and Jestin Porter had 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting to pace an efficient bench for MTSU. Teafale Lendard Jr. was the only scorer to crack double figures with 11 points.

In addition to winning the last four, Middle Tennessee has also covered the last four with the spreads being rather reasonable, as high as 3.5. In the last 10, the Raiders have gone 5-4-1 against the spread and 6-4 straight up.

Prediction

You always wonder how these new teams will handle the pressure of being in the top 25, but I think it helps the fact that C-USA isn’t as difficult as one may have thought. But that’s no slight on FAU, who is the cream of the crop of the conference at this time. FAU 81, MTSU 67

Betting trends


Check back later for trends.

Projected starting lineup


Middle Tennessee:
PG: Camryn Weston
SG: Eli Lawrence
SF: DeAndre Dishman
PF: Justin Bufford
C: Teafale Lenard Jr.

Florida Atlantic:
PG: B.J. Greenlee
SG: Jalen Gaffney
SF: Nicholas Boyd
PF: Brandon Weatherspoon
C: Vladislav Goldin

Injury report

MTSU: 
Jalen Jordan (knee, out)

FAU: None

Statistical leaders

Middle Tennessee:
Points: DeAndre Dishman -- 12.0
Rebounds: DeAndre Dishman -- 5.6
Assists: Camryn Weston -- 2.5

Florida Atlantic:
Points: Johnell Davis -- 12.7
Rebounds: Vladislav Goldin -- 6.2
Assists: Nicholas Boyd -- 2.5

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert basketball picks today. And if you enjoyed this Middle Tennessee - Florida Atlantic prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily college basketball 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.

© 2023 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.