NCAA Football: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders vs. Charlotte 49ers Preview, Prediction & Odds - Sept. 24, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 6:30 p.m. ET, Sept. 24, 2021
Venue: Jerry Richardson Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Where to watch: CBS Sports Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Charlotte -2.5; O/U 56; Charlotte -135, Middle Tennessee +115
BetMGM: Charlotte -2.5; O/U 56.5
Caesars: Charlotte -2.5; O/U 56; Charlotte -135, Middle Tennessee +115

Season record
Middle Tennessee: 1-2 (0-1 Conference USA)
Charlotte: 2-1

Team Del Genio was a PERFECT 4-0 in all-sports on Saturday to further a 9 of 11 (82%) HOT STREAK this week, WINNING their 25* NCAA-F Pac-12 Game of the Month with USC and their 25* NCAA-F Saturday TV Total of the Month with the ASU/BYU under! Catch Del Genio’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.

Middle Tennessee - Charlotte preview and analysis


Recent form
Middle Tennessee: lost 27-13 at UTSA on Sept. 18
Charlotte: lost 20-9 at Georgia State on Sept. 18

The Charlotte 49ers will open C-USA play on Friday when they host the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Jerry Richardson Stadium.

Charlotte is coming off its first loss of the season, 20-9 against Georgia State in what was a dud for the road team. After picking up an upset win over Duke and following up with a four-touchdown victory against Gardner Webb, the 49ers were held to nine points on Saturday.

Quarterback Chris Reynolds completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes and only 158 yards and a touchdown while the entire offense was held to less than 300 total yards. Meanwhile, Georgia State ran for 298 yards on 49 carries to gash the Charlotte defense.

Reynolds was the quarterback for the Charlotte team that went to the Bahamas Bowl in 2019. That 49ers squad started 2-5 and reeled off five straight wins to make the bowl before losing. The 2-1 start is a good indication this Charlotte team is more prepared to handle the pressures of getting back to bowl season.

Middle Tennessee comes in losers of back-to-back games to Virginia Tech by 21 and the UTSA Roadrunners on Saturday by only 14 points.

The Blue Raiders’ defense did all it could against UTSA despite 277 yards from quarterback Frank Harris, but fell behind 27-0 with 8:01 left in the fourth quarter. Starting quarterback Bailey Hockman was pulled for Chase Cunningham after only 41 yards and an interception. Cunningham threw for 150 yards and two touchdowns in garbage time, but it’s unsure if we should expect a quarterback change for this conference opener unless Hockman crumbles once again.

It didn’t help that MTSU couldn’t run the ball a single lick. Martell Pettaway and Amir Rasul combined for 46 yards on 13 carries; all total, MTSU had 25 carries for eight yards.

Prediction


Charlotte is playing much more consistent football right now. Don’t be shocked if the 49ers find themselves forcing another quarterback change if Hockman doesn’t play up to par. Charlotte by 14.

Betting trends


MTSU is 10-8 as an underdog in its past 18 against the spread.

Charlotte is 4-4 ATS in its last eight.

Players to watch


Middle Tennessee: Izaiah Gathings led all MTSU receivers against UTSA with three receptions for 65 yards.

Charlotte: Leading sack man Markees Watts had a busy day Saturday, making a game-high 13 tackles and one sack for the 49ers.

Statistical leaders


Middle Tennessee:
Passing: Bailey Hockman -- 463 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Amir Rasul -- 80 yards
Receiving: Jimmy Marshall -- 177 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Quincy Riley -- 2 INT

Charlotte:
Passing: Chris Reynolds -- 585 yards, 5 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Calvin Camp -- 160 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Grant DuBose -- 209 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Markees Watts -- 3 sacks

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Middle Tennessee - Charlotte 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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