The 2011 college football bowl season continues Christmas week with the Florida International Golden Panthers (8-4) traveling to St. Petersburg, FL to take on the Marshall Thundering Herd (6-6) this Tuesday evening (8:00pm ET) in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl. Florida International has won three straight contests heading into the game, including their regular season finale by a score of 31-18 at Middle Tennessee St. to cover the 7.5 point line. Marshall won their last two games during the regular season, including a 34-27 win over East Carolina to close out the campaign and become bowl-eligible while also covering the one-point line. Florida International is 6-6 ATS this season, while Marshall is 7-5 ATS in 2011.
The Golden Panthers have struggled offensively this season, scoring 26.2 points per game (68th best in the nation) and averaging 370.5 yards per game of total offense to rank 8th among all FBS teams in that category. They do however boast the 16th best scoring defense in the country, allowing only 19.4 PPG while ranking 33rd in total defense with an average of 348.5 YPG allowed. Marshall has also struggled offensively this season, averaging 22 PPG (98th best among FBS teams) and ranking a dismal 101st in the nation in total offense with 335.3 YPG. The defense for the Thundering Herd has not been much better, ranking 84th in scoring defense with 30.2 PPG allowed and 87th in total defense with 418.1 YPG surrendered.
Florida International vs. Marshall Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Florida International Golden Panthers -4
@Marshall Thundering Herd +4
Over 48 (-110)
Under 48 (-110)
Betting odds taken from www.5Dimes.com
Florida International vs. Marshall Pick:
Florida International is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite and 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games on fieldturf. Marshall is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 bowl games and 7-1 ATS in their last 8 December games. The under is 6-1-1 in the Golden Panthers’ last 8 games overall and 4-1-1 in their last 6 games as a favorite. The under is 5-1 in Marshall’s last 6 bowl games and 8-3 in their last 11 games as an underdog. The two teams have no recent meetings.
Marshall is going up against one of the toughest defensive units they will see all year, the Golden Panthers have not allowed over 20 points to an opponent since October, and that was against a very explosive Arkansas St. team. Marshall has one of the worst offensive units in the country, and they do not excel either running (92nd nationally) or throwing the ball (73rd nationally). The Thundering Herd are not even an average team, and are lucky to be 6-6 this season. Their offense ranks 100th in passing yardage with an average of 262.8 YPG, and does not have any big play potential or playmakers of note. They will struggle to score enough points against a rugged Florida International defense to make this a competitive game. Take FIU, even with their limited offense, to cover the modest 4 point line. The Golden Panthers are a solid pick here against maybe the worst bowl team this season.