Ryan Mayer

The college football bowl season is upon us. With 39 games spread out over the next two and a half weeks there is plenty of opportunity to add a little bonus to your holiday gift pile. Our bowl picks series will let you know who we think will come out on top against the spread. All lines and totals courtesy of Sportsline. Find all our picks here. All lines are as of the date of publication.

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl

Akron (7-6) vs. Florida Atlantic (10-3)

Spread: Florida Atlanta -22.5

Total: 61.5

Spread: The first season under Lane Kiffin has been an unquestioned success for the Owls as they recorded their first 10-win season in school history and just their second conference championship (2007 Sun Belt co-champs). Kiffin’s biggest impact has come on the offensive side of the ball as the Owls are averaging just a hair under 40 points and a little under 500 yards per game. This team had basically the same components as last year’s group that averaged just 26 points per outing. The biggest weapon that the Owls have at their disposal is sophomore RB Devin Singletary who toted the ball 275 times for 1,794 yards and 29(!) touchdowns this season. Two of the three losses for FAU came when Singletary carried 17 or fewer times (Navy, Wisconsin). On defense, the Owls have allowed just about 24 points per game and during their 9-game winning streak they’ve allowed just 23 points per outing.

For Akron, coach Terry Bowden has his traditional mix of high-major transfers and overlooked local guys on this squad. The Zips have toggled between QBs this season with senior Thomas Woodson and freshman Kato Nelson each seeing time as the starter. Woodson is the more accurate passer of the two, while Nelson is the more athletic. The offense has struggled to score (23.6 PPG, 106th) and the Zips actually have a negative point differential on averages as the defense allows 26.3 points per game.

The paragraphs probably give you a feel for why the line in this game is set at 22.5 in favor of the Owls. What complicates things a little bit is that the Zips are 9-4 ATS this season, and they’re 8-2 in their last 10 games ATS. They’re also 6-3 as underdogs this year. But, FAU is 9-4 ATS as well, 8-2 in their last 10 and 8-2 as favorites this season. That said, the Owls have been 20 point favorites just twice this year (Bethune-Cookman, Charlotte) and they’re 1-1 in those games. Akron +22.5

Total: These two teams have been below .500 this season against the number with FAU going 6-7 and Akron going 3-10. However, the six times FAU has hit the over the number has been between 57.5 and 68. There’s enough explosiveness in this game to see the teams combining to get above 61.5. Over 61.5

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