Florida International has been an underdog most of the year and that’s why it surpassed its season over/under by three wins. Once again an underdog for the Bahamas Bowl, Butch Davis is aiming for another upset. Toledo was a -5.5 point favorite with an over/under of 68.5 points a week before the Game at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
People may not know much about these teams, but as seen in the over/under, it should be a fun Game. Florida International (9-3 ATS) only beat one team with a winning record this season, but it at least stayed competitive in non-Conference Games against Indiana and Miami. And if it weren’t for the late-season loss to Marshall by three points, it would’ve been in the C-USA Championship Game.
Toledo (6-6 ATS) was also only one Game off from the MAC Championship, but was never going to win the tiebreaker. It’s been a weird season for the Rockets, mostly because the offense can go off in any matchup, but when it didn’t, they usually lost by double digits, namely the Games against the best teams in the conference.
There wasn’t much of a difference from when these teams lost to Miami, only that Toledo played at home. Otherwise, the Hurricanes controlled both matchups with their running Game, while Toledo had a few big passing plays to stay somewhat competitive. FIU almost got shut out, but managed 17 points in the Fourth quarter, still resulting in a 14-point loss.
The best hope for the FIU offense is quarterback James Morgan because if he can play up to his numbers (26 TDs, 7 INTs, 8.37 ypa), there’s no reason he can’t torch this defense which is giving up 30 points and more than 250 passing yards per Game. He’s not an elite quarterback, but he’s doing enough in this offense and isn’t turning the ball over. Throw in a ground Game that’s been solid with Napolean Maxwell and D’Vonte Price both over 5.5 yards per carry and this offense should move the ball against Toledo.
The question is what the FIU defense can do against the high-flying Toledo team, which can put up points quickly. The biggest issue for the Panthers is that they were gashed on the ground for 5.0 yards per carry and close to 200 rushing yards per Game. That’s not exactly the kind of defense you want against Toledo.
The Rockets have three running backs that all have at least 500 rushing yards with Bryant Koback separating himself the last two Games with more than 300 yards. He has a stout 876 yards and 13 touchdowns this season, which leads the way for a group averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Quarterback Eli Peters (6.93 ypa) has simply handed the ball off and that’s been enough at times. When asked to do more or if Toledo is trailing, Peters has struggled more often than not, as seen in his 26-for-47, 264-yard performance in the 23-point loss to NIU. Sure, the Rockets have thrown for 29 touchdowns this year, but that’s more of a result of the running Game. Regular starting quarterback Mitchell Guadagni isn’t supposed to play because of a shoulder injury, but if he’s in the roster, that would change things. The offense still scored plenty under Peters, but Guadagni completed almost two more yards per attempt.
Toledo has the offense to pile points on and that’s why the spread is close to a touchdown and also why only one of its Games was decided by less than 14 points. That’s a pretty relevant stat for this matchup, especially if you like Toledo.
The Golden Panthers are 4-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record but 0-4-1 ATS in their last five against the MAC. The Rockets are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 Games on grass and 2-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.