The end is near for Lane Kiffin. Reports surfaced on Friday that Kiffin will be the next coach at Ole Miss, and Saturday’s Conference USA Championship Game between Florida Atlantic and UAB will be his final game as head coach of the Owls. The timing of the news couldn’t be worse for FAU as they now face a major distraction just hours ahead of their most important game of the season. The Owls are back in the Conference USA Championship Game for the second time in three years while the Blazers are looking to defend their title after a 27-25 win over Middle Tennessee in last year’s title game.
The Owls have been red hot, winning five straight and going 4-1 ATS during that stretch. Quarterback Chris Robison leads a high-octane offense that is first in the league averaging 34.1 points per game this season. UAB is paced by their superb defense which also leads Conference USA in points allowed this season (18.5).
ESPN’s FPI gives Florida Atlantic an 81.9% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Saturday’s Conference USA Championship Game matchup between the Blazers and Owls.
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UAB vs. Florida Atlantic Game Details
Date: Saturday, December 7
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
Location: FAU Football Field (Boca Raton, Florida)
Spread: FAU -8.5
This line opened at FAU -7 and has been bet up slightly to FAU -8.5 with the majority of the bets and money coming in on the Owls. This line is correlated to the action and has moved with the market.
- Blazers are 9-3 SU and 7-5 ATS this season
- Owls are 9-3 SU and 8-4 ATS this season
- Underdog is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings
- Over is 6-0 in the last 6 meetings
Analysis & Pick
You can’t discount the Lane Kiffin distraction factor in this game. Anytime you lose your head coach the night before the conference championship it has to be taken into account. Now, this could go one of two ways. The more likely scenario is the Owls underperform and are not as focused on the game with all of the noise surrounding their head coach. It could also go the other way, and FAU plays with a chip on their shoulder and wins handily for their lame-duck head coach. I’m going with Option A. The Blazers are the defending Conference USA champs and sport the best defense in the league. The high-powered FAU offense will obviously create issues for the UAB defense but in this one-off scenario, I tend to side with the team who defends better. Take into account the motivation factor for both teams and this feels like an easy pick. I’ll side with the Blazers here and don’t forget to sprinkle the money line.
PICK: UAB +8.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith