D’Eriq King’s long awaited Hurricanes debut comes Thursday night against the UAB Blazers. Photo from @Cane303 (Twitter)
- Miami is a 13.5-point home favorite against UAB on Thursday night at 8:00pm EST on the ACC Network
- The Hurricanes are coming off of a 6-7 campaign in Manny Diaz’ debut season
- Read below for analysis and a best bet on this Thursday night matchup
Power Five teams will join the 2020 college football season this weekend, and opening things up will be Manny Diaz and Miami on Thursday night.
It will be the long awaited debut of heralded transfer D’Eriq King for the Hurricanes, who’s a Heisman favorite in his own right.
They’ll take on Bill Clark’s UAB Blazers, and the U has the edge in the UAB vs Miami odds.
Miami Hurricanes vs UAB Blazers Odds
|UAB Blazers||+13.5 (-110)||+420||O 54.5 (-110)|
|Miami Hurricanes||-13.5 (-110)||-600||U 54.5 (-110)|
Odds taken Sep. 9th
Will D’Eriq King Bring Back the “U”?
Without a doubt, the most exciting aspect of Miami’s 2020 season comes at the quarterback position. D’Eriq King transfers into the sunshine state after four years at Houston, where he was an electric watch.
As a Cougar, King threw for 4,925 yards and 50 touchdowns, while also gaining 1,421 yards and 28 scores on the ground, and even spent time at receiver, in which he had 504 yards and 3 touchdowns.
He’ll need to help the offense take a big step forward, because the defense is losing its most important piece.
Gregory Rousseau, the defensive lineman that chose to opt out recently, had 15.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss in 2019. Along with 54 tackles and 2 forced fumbles, the defense will sorely miss his play making ability.
Manny Diaz has a long history as a defensive coach in college football, but his 2020 Miami team will be led by an offensive superstar.
Can the Blazers Stay Hot?
This UAB team sets up perfectly for head coach Bill Clark. The Blazers are coming off a 10-win season, and with 10 starters back on offense and nine on defense, things should only keep rolling in Birmingham.
Those returners include the entirety of the offensive line and linebacking core, arguably the backbones of each unit, as well as key players at quarterback, cornerback, and running back.
UAB has already gotten the ball rolling in 2020, opening the year with a 45-35 victory over the Central Arkansas Bears. Spencer Brown was fantastic in the opener, carrying the ball 24 times for 127 yards and a score.
It was an encouraging win, but there were also negatives. UAB gave up 35 and only beat an FCS team by 10, so there’s certainly steps to be made. Additionally, with 8 penalties for 83 yards on the night, the discipline level has to heighten a bit in Birmingham.
What’s the Best Bet?
While there were some concerning aspects of UAB’s debut, there was far more value. After an offseason that was consistently disrupted by COVID-19, whether the elimination of Spring practices in many cases and the disruption of team meetings, the prep process for 2020 has been interrupted in a big way. That’s why, for UAB, getting to play a game is so important.
Miami doesn’t have that luxury. They will be playing their first game Saturday, and with that limited prep, they’ll be doing so at a distinct disadvantage. This veteran UAB team has a game under their belt, and they’ll come out at full speed against a Miami team that is working out the rust and kinks of this weird offseason.
The Hurricanes are the more talented team, and they’re still likely to win straight up, but taking the points is the way to go here.
The Pick: UAB +13.5 (-110)
With four years as radio host with The Ticket Sports Network and various written contributions to publications such as Fansided, Southbound and Down, and Last Word on Sports, Jake Mitchell comes to SBD with NFL, NBA, NCAAM, NCAAF and MMA know-how you can count on.