LIU Sharks (0-0) vs. FIU Panthers (0-0)
September 2, 2021 7:00 pm EDT
The Line: FIU Panthers -33.5
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The Florida International Panthers battle the LIU Sharks on Thursday in Week 1 2021 college football action from FIU Stadium. This will be the first on-field activity for both teams this year. The Sharks are coming off a 2-2 spring record, finishing in fourth place in the Northeast Conference. As for the Panthers, they faltered at 0-5 last season during a last-place finish in their division. Check back all season long for free college football picks at Sports Chat Place.
Long Island U had a couple of games scheduled against Delaware and Lehigh back in September, but those were cancelled due to virus issues. The Sharks finally got going with a brief season in March and were able to play four games.
LIU beat Bryant in their first spring game, but then fell in road outings versus Sacred Heart and Duquesne over the next two weeks. The Sharks finished things off with a 31-20 win over Merrimack on March 28, leaving them tied for the third-best conference record in the Northeast.
As for the Panthers, they had originally scheduled nine games last season, but only got to take the field for five. Florida International couldn’t find much life in those matchups, falling to Liberty, Middle Tennessee, Jacksonville State, Florida Atlantic and Western Kentucky in succession.
Needless to say, the winless record left FIU in the basement of the East Division in Conference USA last year. This season, fifth-year head coach Butch Davis will try to right the ship and put the Panthers back on track toward relevance in the conference.
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The Panthers are 1-4 ATS in their last five games in September and 1-5 ATS in their last six home games. FIU is 0-4 ATS in the last four games overall and 0-4 ATS in their last four Thursday games.
The over is 7-1 in the Panthers’ last eight overall and 7-1 in their last eight on turf. The under is 4-1 in FIU’s last five Thursday games as well.
PICK: I’m going to take a stab on LIU. The Sharks still have some growing to do after moving up from Division II in 2018, as they’ve gone just 2-12 since the change. The schedule this year will not be easy. Still, LIU showed some improvements in the shortened season of 2020. As for FIU, they’ve got a lot of work to do themselves. The Panthers averaged just 281 yards and 22 points per game last year, and couldn’t get anything going through the air. The good news is the receiving corps isn’t bad, and the run game should be serviceable. All things considered though, I think LIU can give the Panthers a ballgame.