Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST
Southern Mississippi +100 over NORTH TEXAS
Apogee Stadium – Denton, TX
Streaming: On several Fox Sports Channels (Arizona, Southwest, Ohio, etc) in the Sports Group.
7:30 PM EST. In all of the FBS, there are fewer teams with a lower market credibility than the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi. Let us chronicle the season-to-date tale of USM. The Golden Eagles were expected to take noticeable strides in a positive direction in 2020 but have failed to deliver the goods on such a hypothesis. First, USM played host in a standalone Thursday night game in Week 1 against South Alabama where it was laying double-digits to the guests. The Eagles would not only fail to cover but would be upset outright by the Jaguars who won just two games in 2019. Southern Miss would follow up that result by suffering another upset loss at home against Louisiana Tech 16 days later when it fell 31-30, despite giving a touchdown to LT at kick-off. As a 3½-point pup last Saturday, the Eagles’ wings would be clipped again when they were embarrassed at home in a 66-24 rout sustained at the hands of Tulane. The same Tulane team that incidentally blew a 24-point lead against Navy, the week prior. To put it bluntly, the Golden Eagles have yet to win or even cover for that matter in 2020. USM hasn’t covered in its last six attempts dating back to last year. At some point, the market gets sick of ripping up tickets on a team and jumps ship. With such a negative recency bias forming against the Golden Eagles, one must wonder how on Earth this team is taking back less than a safety in its first road tilt against a North Texas team that certainly has a more palpable market presence?
North Texas was a strong fade choice in its first outing of the season, playing host to up-start Houston Baptist. As a 22½-point favorite against the Huskies, UNT would cruise to a 57-31 victory where the cover itself truly was never in question, as the Mean Green led by as much as 40 before they took a breather. That result in retrospect carries more weight in terms of forming impressions, as HBU nearly took Texas Tech to overtime in Lubbock as a 40-point underdog the week thereafter. The same Texas Tech team that most of the country bore witness to nearly upsetting Texas, last week. The domino effect of these results nonetheless bolster the stock of the Mean Green overall. North Texas was smoked in its second game this season when it was rolled 65-35 in Denton by visiting SMU, but the market will look past that one, as it was two weeks ago before all the aforementioned events unfolded. Moreover, given the poor performance portfolio that USM has put together as of late, this contest seems like the ideal bounce-back spot for the Mean Green to turn into a fighting machine.
The over/under for this contest sits at 73 at the time of this writing (Saturday morning), which suggests that this game will have all the elements of a shootout, which makes it far less predictable. While North Texas will certainly find paydirt, they will also surrender the points, as they live and die by their offense. This is a precarious notion to get behind, as the Mean Green have given up over 600 yards of total offense on average in both their games this year. For a team like Southern Mississippi looking for an opportunity to change its stars, it seems UNT will furnish plenty of chances for them to do precisely that. Excepting last week’s debacle against Tulane, Southern Miss’ defense has more or less been serviceable, the problem has always been their offense being inconsistent. While we are not one for breaking down the play-calling or fundamentals for that matter, it is nonetheless pertinent to highlight that should Southern Mississippi take advantage of North Texas’ porous defense, and hold serve as it defends on just a few occasions, an upset is not only possible but perhaps the Eagles win this one big. Playing them at a reduced tag seals the deal.
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Southern Mississippi +100 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.00)