Ohio Bobcats (8-4 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Appalachian State Mountaineers (10-2 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Date/Time: Saturday, December 19, 2015, 5:30 pm EST
Where: Cramton Bowl, Montgomery, Ala.
TV: ESPN, DirecTV 206
by Badger, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OHIO +7/APP -7
Over/Under Total: 54
Two schools both with a chip on their shoulders and with something to prove in the college football post-season will meet in the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Alabamaís Cramton Bowl this Saturday on ESPN, when the Ohio Bobcats of the Mid-American Conference tangle with the Appalachian State Mountaineers of the Sun Belt Conference.
Ohio finished last season at 6-6, but wasnít invited to a bowl game and thus are determined to make a statement for the snub in this yearís contest. The Bobcats are also itching to get back out between the stripes because they are riding a three-game win streak, which includes a strong performance in their finale in a, 26-21, upset of MAC-West champion Northern Illinois the week of Thanksgiving.
For Appalachian State, this will be the schoolís first-ever bowl appearance as an FBS program so thereís no doubt the Mountaineers are looking to make a strong first impression. Of course, the Mountaineers were just one loss away from winning the Sun Belt Conference this season with only a, 40-27, defeat at the hands of eventual champion Arkansas State on November 5 as their only real blemish this season. Appalachian State is also riding a three-game win streak coming into the bowl tilt, including a victory over South Alabama in their finale on December 5, 34-27.
Although most of the country has probably not seen either of these two schools play this year, their matchup for the Camellia Bowl has drawn interest from bettors and one of the biggest betting line moves of the 2015 college football bowl season. By virtue of their 10-win season, Appalachian State opened as 9-point favorites for the game when the point spread first went up on the board. Since the number has been up however, it has dropped all the way down to a touchdown, as the Mountaineers can be found at minus -7 at most sportsbooks currently.
The over/under total opened at 54 and hasnít moved much at all through the early steam at the window.
The Bobcats offense is coming off their two strongest performances of the year, including a 607-yard thrashing of Ball State on senior night and a clock-controlling game plan in the upset over Northern Illinois. However, the Mountaineers defense is probably the strongest unit of the team including a shut-down corner in Latrell Gibbs and a disrupting force up front in Ronald Blair.
The Mountaineers spread offense also features one of the countryís top dual-threat quarterbacks in Taylor Lamb and a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown running back in Marcus Cox that the Bobcats will have to find a way to try and stop. Although itís unfair to even try and compare the Mountaineers to a team in the MAC, but the Bobcats defense has struggled against teams that spread the field and make them play in space (allowed 62 points to Bowling Green; 49 points to W.Michigan).
These two schools have never met on the gridiron, so history and betting trends are nonexistent. Ohio is 6-0 ATS in their last six non-conference games, and the Mountaineers have struggled to cover the number down the stretch of the regular season finishing 1-4 ATS in the last five games of 2015.
Badger's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Appalachian State is one of the quietest 10-win teams in college football. Granted its against a little less of quality opponent, but they are a solid team capable of giving the Bobcats all they can handle. Iím taking Appalachian State minus the touchdown.
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