Dec. 21 GASPARILLA BOWL PREDICTION: Temple Owls (6-6) vs FIU Panthers (8-4)
Temple Owls (6-6) vs Florida International Panthers (8-4) 8 pm EST
The Butch Davis led FIU Panthers will be playing in their first bowl game since 2011, when they take on the Temple Owls in the Gasparilla Bowl. Temple is led by first year head coach Geoff Collins, but will be making their third consecutive bowl appearance as a team. The Owls have lost their last two bowl appearances, last year Temple fell to Wake Forest 34-26 in the Military Bowl, and also to Toledo 32-17 in the 2015 Boca Raton Bowl.
Temple and Florida International face two common opponents this season, UMass and Central Florida. Temple defeated UMass 29-21 on Sept. 15 and FIU defeated UMass as well 63-45 on Dec. 2. FIU opened their season with a 61-17 lost to Central Florida and Temple also lost to Central Florida 45-19 on Nov.18.
The Temple offense got off to a poor start on the season but did show improvement down the stretch when they made the switch to Frank Nutile at quarterback. The Owls rank 81st in the nation in offensive yards per game and 93rd in scoring. Florida International ranks 74th in the nation in scoring and 63rd in offensive yards per game. Defensively Temple has allowed 27.7 yards per game and Florida International is averaging 28.5 points per games.
Both FIU and Temple are 6-6 against the spread this season, however each team finished stronger than they began the season. FIU is 5-1 against the spread in their last six games as an underdog and 4-0 ATS as an underdog of less than eight points this season. Temple finished 6-2 ATS in their last eight games of the season. Going back further, the Owls program has also covered the spread in their last four games against opponents from Conference USA.
The over/under is 6-6 in Temple games this season. However, Temple’s last five straight games all went over to end the regular season. The over/under is 8-4 in FIU games this season, with the last four games all going over the total.
Both teams finished the season strong against the spread. With Temple currently being a seven point favorite I am leaning toward FIU +7. I actually would not be surprised to see FIU win this game. However, my favorite play here is the OVER 56 points and that is where my confidence lies.
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