DECEMBER 21, 2017, 8:00 PM ET | TROPICANA FIELD
Former AAC champion Temple finds itself in a less glamorous bowl game this year after a disappointing regular season. Florida International looks to improve on a program-best, eight-win season by winning in just its third bowl appearance in school history.
Temple vs. Florida International Spread and Betting Analysis
The Golden Panthers are in a familiar position as underdogs in this game. FIU was chalk in only two of its 12 games and still finished the year with an 8-4 record and 6-6 mark against the spread. The Golden Panthers won 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS at home – and while this game is a neutral site at the Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FIU fans only have to travel a little over 200 miles to see the Panthers in person.
The Owls started the year 0-4 against the number but went 6-2 ATS over their final eight games to finish the year 6-6 SU and ATS. Temple were smoked by the Notre Dame, South Florida and Central Florida and its best win was against a 6-6 Navy side.
More than 60 percent of Sports Interaction bettors are backing FIU to cover as a 7-point underdog while 54 percent expect the game to play over the 56.5-point total.
Junior Frank Nutile doesn’t have the same arm strength or footspeed of former starter Logan Marchi, but he proved to be a more accurate distributor of the football. Nutile completed nearly 61 percent of his passes while averaging 7.9 yards per attempt.
Temple’s chief offensive threat is receiver Isaiah Wright who led the team in receptions with 41 and occasionally returned kicks and punts for his team as well. Nutile and Wright should have some chances to connect on the field against FIU. The Golden Panthers finished the year ranked 93rd in the nation in pass defence.
Florida International Golden Panthers
The Golden Panthers made major improvements in Butch Davis’ first year as head coach. Davis – known for his bigger gigs with Miami, UNC and the Cleveland Browns – will have to devise a game plan to make up for the production of Thomas Owens.
Owens, FIU’s top target in the passing game, missed the final two regular season games and will not play in the bowl game because of a knee injury.