Middle Tennessee State vs. North Texas
Prediction: North Texas -5.5 (December 3rd 2011)
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First-year head coach Dan McCarney has done an excellent job at North Texas. This team has already overcome expectations by winning four games, and they have a chance for a fifth on Senior Day this Saturday. I fully expect them to win this game by at least a touchdown over hapless Middle Tennessee State.
The Blue Raiders have had a lost season. They are 2-9 SU & 3-8 ATS on the year, and there’s nothing that leads me to believe they will show up Saturday. They haven’t shown up for their last five games. MTSU is 0-5 SU & 0-5 ATS during this stretch, losing all five by 13 points or more with an average loss of 23.2 points/game.
North Texas will want to win this one for their seniors. They have played their best football at home, going 3-2 SU & 3-2 ATS on home soil. This is a team that beat MTSU 23-17 on the road last year as a 10.5-point underdog, and they are clearly the better squad in 2011 with a lot more returning talent.
Derek Thompson has been solid at quarterback for the Mean Green, completing 58.5 percent of his passes for 1,736 yards with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions. They will certainly be looking to feed the ball to RB Lance Dunbar, who rushed for over 1,300 yards in 2009 and over 1,500 last season.
Dunbar has rushed for 802 yards and six touchdowns this year. He’ll have an excellent chance of breaking the 1,000-yard mark for a third consecutive season against this soft MTSU run defense Saturday. The Blue Raiders are allowing 213 yards/game on the ground and 4.5/carry, ranking 99th in the country against the run.
MTSU is 0-8 ATS in their last 8 games when playing with 6 or less days rest, and 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games off a loss by 10 points or more to a conference rival. North Texas is 6-0 ATS after allowing 475 or more total yards in their previous game. The Blue Raiders are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 versus poor defensive teams – allowing >=5.9 yards/play. The Mean Green are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. loss, and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 vs. a team with a losing record. Bet North Texas Saturday.
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