Proving undeterred by the rise in competition, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks are off to an impressive 6-2 start in their first year at the FBS level. Looking to build on that, the Gamecocks will visit Conference USA for Florida International in Week 9. Kickoff is slated for Wednesday at 7 p.m. ET.
After opening as 4.5-point favorites, Jacksonville State is now up to -7.5 (-110) on the college football betting line and -300 on the moneyline. Conversely, the Panthers are +7.5 (-110) on the spread and +250 to win outright. The projected total is 44.5 (-110 Over, -110 Under), down from 49.5.
Will Jacksonville State take care of business on the road? Read on as we dive into the matchup and break down the Jacksonville State vs FIU odds in our college football game preview.
Location: Riccardo Silva Stadium; Miami
Streaming: CBSSN / Live Sports Stream
Jacksonville State vs FIU Betting Trends
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks are 5-2-1 against the spread this season. The total has gone Under in nine of Jacksonville State’s last 12 games. Meanwhile, the Florida International Panthers are 4-4 ATS this year. The Panthers are 4-8 straight up over their last 12 games. That’s important to remember when assessing the Jacksonville State vs FIU odds.
Quick to Success
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks have made a smooth transition to FBS competition. Led by well-traveled head coach Rich Rodriguez, the Gamecocks are coming off a 20-17 victory over Western Kentucky last Tuesday to improve to 4-1 in Conference USA. A 7.5-point underdog, Jacksonville State overcame deficits of 10-0 and 17-7 to cover the spread for the second time in three games.
Due to FBS transition rules, the Gamecocks are ineligible for bowl competition and, in effect, the Conference USA title, this season. Because of that, they’re obviously off the odds board. They previously competed at the FCS level, where they made the playoffs eight times between 2003 and 2020. Prior to that, Jacksonville State won a national championship at the Division II level (1992).
Jacksonville State has been close to perfect in Conference USA play, with the exception of a 31-13 loss to undefeated Liberty on Oct. 10. Three of its four wins in the conference have been by a total of 13 points, including 35-28 overtime victory over Sam Houston State on Sept. 28. According to NCAA football scores, only Liberty (7-0, 5-0) has a better conference record at the moment.
Notably, quarterback Logan Smothers is questionable for Wednesday with an ankle injury. Smothers has thrown for 642 yards and five touchdowns and also leads Jacksonville State with six touchdown runs. Be sure to monitor his status when analyzing the Jacksonville State vs FIU odds.
Beating the Odds
On the heels of a 4-8 finish, expectations were exceedingly low for the Florida International Panthers. FIU was projected for only 3.5 wins, leaving it toward the bottom of Conference USA. Despite that, the Panthers have managed to manage to beat the odds with room to spare on the NCAAF schedule.
The Panthers are off to a 4-4 start (1-4 in Conference USA), matching their win total from all of last season. They’re coming off a 33-27 double-overtime victory over Sam Houston last Wednesday. A 5.5-point underdog, FIU got a game-winning 25-yard touchdown grab from Kris Mitchell to cover the spread for the first time in four games.
While FIU has no chance of competing for the conference championship this season, a bowl game remains a realistic possibility. It’ll need to do no worse than split its final four regular-season games. The Panthers last made the postseason in 2019, when it appeared in the Camellia Bowl under Butch Davis. In the ensuing three seasons, the Panthers went only 5-24.
Can FIU get to 6-6, if not better? It sure could use more consistency from its offense. FIU ranks just 106th in FBS in scoring, averaging 21.4 points per game. It’s topped 24 points just once in the last five games.
Handicapping the Game
Jacksonville State has a good thing going under Rodriguez. While the Gamecocks won’t be bowling this season, there’s clearly a lot to build on, no matter what happens over the next month.
FIU has made strides too, but in a different way. In his second year at the helm, Mike MacIntyre has kept the Panthers from being a laughingstock, which is considerable progress from 2022.
Although Conference USA has produced plenty of competitive matchups this season, Jacksonville State deserves a significant edge here because of its advantage in talent. While Smothers (ankle) is banged up, the Gamecocks have gotten strong play from Zion Webb, who threw for 218 yards and ran for 146 yards and a score against Western Kentucky.