FIU vs. Sam Houston State Week 8 college football prediction and preview

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Week 8 Wednesday games feature FIU vs. Sam Houston

By this point, you probably know way more about Conference USA than you ever expected to, but maybe that’s a good thing as we get FIU vs. Sam Houston State and New Mexico State vs. UTEP on Wednesday night. The new-look conference that lost six teams to the AAC has followed fellow Group of Five conferences like the MAC and Sun Belt to play some Tuesday and Wednesday games to get exposure for the league and a piece of the very lucrative TV deals.

 

FIU and Sam Houston head to CBS Sports Network, but NMSU and UTEP are on ESPN2 in the late game, so you’ll get to watch as much of these two games as your heart desires.

College Football Odds | College Football Betting Splits | Week 8 Hub | Week 8 Picks

Odds as of 10/16, 3 p.m. PT

FIU Panthers at Sam Houston State Bearkats (-5.5, 39.5)

If Sam Houston State is going to win a game in Year 1 as a FBS program against a fellow FBS program, this would appear to be the best chance. The Bearkats do still have a home game against 2024 Conference USA member Kennesaw State on the schedule, so that might be the best crack at a win of any kind, but this is the biggest favorite role of the season for the ‘kats to date.

FIU seemed to be making strides during a three-game winning streak over Maine, North Texas, and UConn, but three straight losses to Liberty, New Mexico State, and UTEP have the Panthers in dire straits for bowl eligibility. FIU needs to win three of the remaining five games and will be in clear underdog roles at MTSU, Arkansas, and at home against Western Kentucky.

Statistically, there isn’t a lot to like about either team. Sam Houston State has allowed nearly 6.6 yards per play in three conference games and FIU has allowed over 6.8. Where FIU does seem to have an edge is on offense. The Panthers have averaged 5.7 yards per play for the season, though only 5.03 in conference play. The Bearkats have 4.2 yards per play overall and five yards per play in Conference USA action.

I don’t think much of either team here, but I’m not sure where Sam Houston State’s profile warrants being a favorite of this magnitude. I see this game a lot closer to a pick ‘em and FIU has the better offense, so I’ll take the 5.5 points.

Pick: FIU +5.5 (would play to +4.5)

Other Wednesday Game

New Mexico State (-3, 49) at UTEP: The Miners aren’t getting a whole lot of market respect for what they did last week and the line for the FIU game seems to suggest that UTEP’s win was more of a byproduct of the Panthers’ shortcomings. I guess we’ll see if that’s true or not, but this is the biggest road favorite for New Mexico State since Week 4 of the 2018 season, ironically, against UTEP.

Quality of competition has played a big part in the Aggies’ offense this season, but they’ve racked up 7.65 yards per play and rank fifth in the nation in that department. UTEP had 7.23 yards per play last week after averaging just 5.21 YPP in six games to start the season. Given that the UTEP defense ranks outside the top 100 in YPP allowed, it would seem like the Aggies have a good chance at points again.

Still, it is rare territory for them to be a road favorite of this size and maybe the Miners found something during the bye. My line here is NMSU -2, so right in line with the market and this is not a game I have a bet on.