NCAAF Odds & Free Spread Prediction: North Texas vs Florida Atlantic

Lane Kiffin and the Florida Atlantic Owls will try to gain bowl eligibility when they travel to play the North Texas Mean Green in a rematch of last year’s Conference-USA Championship Game. Kickoff is at 9:30 EST on Thursday, November 15, at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas. Fans can catch all the action on CBS Sports Network.

Oddsmakers have made North Texas 3-point favorites at home. Be sure to check out a full list of the Week 12 college football odds.

North Texas vs Florida Atlantic Vegas Game Odds & Betting Predictions

Florida Atlantic started the season with great expectations, with some believing that they could be a legitimate top-25 team. But things have not gone according to plan, as their hopes of repeating as Conference-USA champions quickly disappeared. However, the Owls are making a late push to become bowl eligible after winning back-to-back games against Florida International and Western Kentucky.

As it stands, FAU is 5-5 overall, leaving them one win shy of bowl eligibility. If they can’t get that win Thursday against North Texas, the Owls will have one last chance to get it in their season finale against Charlotte. That latter is probably a more winnable game. But Kiffin and company would surely prefer to avoid the pressure of a must-win game to finish the season.

North Texas, meanwhile, has already solidified a bowl appearance for the third consecutive season. They won’t be playing in the Conference-USA Championship Game as they did last season. But the Mean Green can feel good about what they’ve accomplished this season. They currently sit at 7-3, including non-conference wins over both Arkansas and SMU.

At this point, there’s little at stake but pride for Seth Littrell’s team. However, they’ll want to bounce back quickly after a shocking collapse against Old Dominion last week. Also, if the Mean Green can win their last two games and win a bowl game, North Texas will have accomplished a 10-win season. They can also avenge last year’s conference title game loss to FAU.

In fact, the Owls beat the Mean Green twice last season, both by wide margins. Florida Atlantic scored a total of 108 points in those two games. If nothing else, the UNT defense will feel like it has something to prove on Thursday night.

Free College Football Betting Selection: North Texas -3

As mentioned, North Texas is coming off a puzzling loss to Old Dominion last time out while Florida Atlantic is still riding high from back-to-back wins, including a blowout over Florida International. However, the Mean Green have been the better team over the course of the season, especially on defense. I think UNT will bounce back at home and be excited to knock off Kiffin and the Owls. With the spread at just three points, I like my chances with North Texas.

Admittedly, losing to Old Dominion last week after leading 28-0 midway through the 2nd quarter doesn’t look good for North Texas. But surely their 2nd half performance was an aberration. Prior to that, UNT’s only losses had come against UAB and Louisiana Tech, two teams that are a combined 16-4 this season. Those two losses also came by a combined 10 points. I’m not going to buy that the Mean Green has suddenly fallen apart late in the year.

That 2nd half against Old Dominion aside, the North Texas defense has been great all season. They are giving up 23 points per game in conference play. Last week’s game was also the first time all season they had conceded 30 or more points in a game. When you factor in how they were humiliated last season against Florida Atlantic, I think the Mean Green defense will mean business this week and give a strong performance.

To be fair, the FAU offense has exploded the past couple of games, scoring 49 points and FIU and 34 points and Western Kentucky. The Owls have run the ball well all season behind Devin Singletary, although his numbers are not nearly as good as they were a season ago. With 20 touchdowns in the bag and an average of 5.4 yards per carry, Singletary is the key figure in the Florida Atlantic offense.

However, UAB is the only team to have consistent success on the ground against North Texas this year. Even in that game, UAB averaged just over four yards per carry. If the Mean Green can keep Singletary somewhat contained, they can put all the pressure on freshman quarterback Chris Robinson. Despite a monster game last week against Western Kentucky, Robinson has struggled against good defenses this year. He’s also thrown more interceptions than touchdowns in conference play, so the Owls will be understandably nervous to put the game in his hands.

On the flip side, North Texas has one of the most overlooked quarterbacks in the country in Mason Fine. The junior is a little undersized, but he’s already thrown for over 3,000 yards in 10 games while tossing 23 touchdowns to just two interceptions. Despite some good defensive performances lately, the Owls have been shredded this season against good passing teams, so  Fine is set up for another good game.

All things considered, I think Florida Atlantic will have a tough time matching up against North Texas for four quarters. Fine and the passing attack will be tough to contain. I also think the UNT defense isn’t going to let the Owls have anything easy. The 1st half will be competitive, but the Mean Green will get some separation in the 2nd half and be able to cover the 3-point spread.

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