With Week Zero of the 2023 college football season kicking off Saturday, we are starting to see some interesting line moves. No spread has moved more than Florida International at Louisiana Tech from Conference USA with the Bulldogs opening as low as 7.5-point favorites but now at -11 and climbing. Both teams are coming off losing 2022 campaigns in their coaches’ debut seasons.
Louisiana Tech was 3-9 under Sonny Cumbie and is looking to avoid a third straight losing season for the first time since 1992-94. But the Bulldogs were 5-0 against the spread at home and had the third-best cover margin in the FBS at home last year behind only Louisville and TCU.
LT is taking better than 60% of the handle and tickets on this spread despite being 0-4 ATS in past four games as double-digit favorite.
The defense was a major problem all 2022, allowing 37.9 ppg (fourth-most in FBS). That unit totaled only 16 sacks with just three FBS programs having fewer in 2022. In large part due to that defense, all five Tech home games went over the total last year and they averaged a combined 70.4 total points per game. The over has hit in eight straight LT home games and over 58.5 points is taking a solid lean for Saturday as well.
Cumbie will have a new starting QB in Boise State transfer Hank Bachmeier, who was 20-9 as a starter with the Broncos while throwing for 6,606 yards and 41 TDs. Tech also has one of the nation’s most electric players in wideout/returner Smoke Harris. He was named the 2023 Conference USA Preseason Special Teams Player of the Year and was the only qualifying FBS player in Top 10 in both kickoff return average (27.2) and punt return average (12.4) last year.
FIU finished 4-8 in Mike MacIntyre’s first season, but that was a major step forward as the Panthers entered the season having lost 19 of their past 10 games. They were also a terrible defensive team last year, allowing 37.3 ppg in (127th in FBS).
Quarterback Grayson James returns. He threw all 11 of his TD passes in FIU’s four wins compared to zero TDs and 10 picks in his other seven appearances. FIU was a 6-point home dog against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 28 but won 42-34 in double overtime. James threw three touchdown passes as the Panthers ended a four-game skid in the series.
#PawsUp is 2-8 straight up and ATS in its past 10 road games and has been a double-digit dog in each.