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.
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Troy (10-2) vs. North Texas (9-4)
Spread: Troy -6.5
Spread: Troy finished the season with one of the stingiest defenses in the country, allowing opponents to score just 17.5 points per game. North Texas is one of the more explosive offenses in the country (35.9 PPG), but their defense has been suspect, allowing teams to score an average of 33.8 points per outing. The Trojans enter on a six-game winning streak, while North Texas is coming off a loss in the Conference USA title game that ended an extended winning streak of their own. They will be without leading rusher Jeffrey Wilson, but Nick Smith has stepped up nicely in his stead in recent games.
When looking at the team’s records against the spread, Troy is just 5-7 this year while North Texas is 8-5. Despite Troy’s 5-7 record, they’ve beaten the spread in three straight games. North Texas had a five-game streak of beating the spread going prior to their loss in the C-USA title game. The big key for me here is whether North Texas can run the ball against Troy. The Mean Green run a spread-style, but the run game sets up the pass, and Troy has been fairly stingy allowing just 3.1 yards per carry this season. Troy -6.5
Total: The Trojans have played just three games that have hit the over all year and in each case, the total was set at 53.5 or fewer points. North Texas has hit the over eight times this year, but only twice when the line has been set at 62 or more points like it is here (54-32 L to SMU, 69-31 L to FAU). That leads me to lean toward the under here as Troy’s defense is pretty good and the Trojans should be able to run the ball fairly effectively against the Mean Green, which means killing the clock quicker than you’d expect. Under 62