The Miami Hurricanes (2-1) will host the Middle Tennessee State (2-1) on Saturday. The Hurricanes are a 25-point favorite, and the total is set at 53.5.
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Improving each weekThe Middle Tennesse State Blue Raiders opened the season up with a 44-7 road loss to James Madison as a 4.5-point dog. James Madison is a Sun Belt team that is now competing in its first season at the FBS level but did reach the FCS Semifinals last year. The Blue Raiders bounced back strong with a 34-19 road win over Colorado State as a 14-point dog and then beat Tennesse State 49-6 in the home opener last week, covering the 19.5-point spread. In the win over Colorado State, the Blue Raiders actually led 34-0 early in the third quarter.
These guys love playing football, and they're playing it at a high level through three games.— Middle Tennessee FB (@MT_FB) September 21, 2022
MTSU Staff Writer @sjdoughton highlights a position group that has been crucial to the #BlueRaiders' success this season.https://t.co/1PNyAom02j
The Blue Raiders are 101st in passing yards averaging 195 per game, and 102nd with 118.7 rushing yards per game. Chase Cunningham took his first game snap with the MTSU program back in 2018 and has completed 72.6% of his passes with four touchdowns and two interceptions this season. In 2021, he threw 16 touchdowns against only three interceptions.
The MTSU defense is 43rd, allowing just 104 rushing yards per game, and 80th allowing 230.7 passing yards.
Missed opportunities in loss to Texas A&MAfter rolling over Bethune-Cookman 70-13 in the season opener and Southern Mississippi 30-7 the following week at home, the Hurricanes faced their first test last week and were beaten 17-9 as a six-point road underdog. The Hurricanes outgained the Aggies 392 to 264 in total yards and 27 to 16 in first downs in the loss. Unfortunately, Miami also committed the game's only turnover and missed two field goals.
Final: Texas A&M 17, Miami 9. pic.twitter.com/x2tUwhT6ac— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) September 18, 2022
The level of competition has been drastically different each week, but Miami is 27th, running for 219 rushing yards per game and 47th with 261.7 passing yards per game. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke has completed 62.8% of his passes with three touchdowns and one interception.
The defense is 47th allowing 198.7 passing yards per game, and 19th rushing for 80.7 yards per game.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Motivation will determine who covers in this game.
Miami is the superior team, but the Blue Raiders are catching them at the right time. The Hurricanes are coming off a tough road loss against Texas A&M and have a bye coming up. MTSU was taken to the woodshed in their opening loss to James Madison, but also should be more confident after their performances against Colorado State and Tennessee State. The main here thing for me is that the Blue Raiders will treat this like a championship game, and even if they fall behind big, the final score will matter to them, meaning if they can cut a 31-point deficit to 24 late, they will want to do so and give themselves something to build on. Just competing can make a big impact on the confidence of the Blue Raiders before they get into Sun Belt competition.
The Hurricanes have already had two convincing wins over lesser opponents, which includes "only" beating Southern Miss by 23 points. This is a tough one because Miami can win this game by 35+ if they want to, but I think the Hurricanes want to come out of this game healthy and ready for the ACC. I can't see MTSU winning, but they will play with heart and cover.
Full-Game Total Pick
It was only one game, but MTSU only gained 119 total yards in their opening contests against James Madison. The Blue Raiders have looked much better since, but this Miami defense is a different animal, and they were able to contain Texas A&M. I understand the A&M offense is still a work in progress, but still much strong than what MTSU has collectively.
The Hurricanes' offense has a huge talent advantage, but they have been conservative with their offensive play calling in both games against FBS teams, and you can't take much from the 70-point showing against Bethune Cookman. I don't see MTSU being able to move the ball against the Hurricanes' first-team defense, and I don't see the Hurricanes being aggressive enough or keeping their foot on the gas for long enough for this to go over. The under is the best play in this game for me.