Eastern Michigan Eagles (7-5 SU, 9-3 ATS) vs. Old Dominion Monarchs (9-3 SU, 8-3-1 ATS)
College Football Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Preview
Date/Time: Friday December 23rd, 2016. 1:00PM (EST)
Where: Thomas Robinson Stadium Nassau, NP
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: EMU +4/ODU -4
Over/Under Total: 64
For the first time in school history, the Old Dominion Monarchs will make a splash into the postseason bowl party when they faceoff with the Eastern Michigan Eagles in the Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Old Dominion Monarchs on Friday December 23rd. It is just the Monarchs 3rd year at the FBS level but they have improved each season under Head Coach Bobby Wilder. In fact, the Monarchs posted a very respectable 9-3 SU campaign this season and just barely missed out on a crack at the Conference USA Championship. Old Dominion now has the chance to reach the 10 win mark which would be quite the accomplishment when they meet Eastern Michigan at Thomas Robinson Stadium.
The Eagles climbed out of the cellar in Chris Creighton’s 3rd year in Ypsilanti. After combining for just 3 wins over the past 2 years, the Eagles broke out with a solid 7-5 SU campaign that was marked by a 4-4 record in the MAC. However, Eastern Michigan is still missing that signature win that would really show that the program has turned the corner. Perhaps that opportunity waits in the Popeyes Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Old Dominion Monarchs in this matchup against Old Dominion.
Currently, the Eagles are 4 point underdogs in this pairing that will take place outside of American soil in the Bahamas. They have strived as underdogs this season covering in 6 of their last 7 games when given points. However, both teams have been very good against the number this year. The Eagles have covered in 8 of their last 10 games overall. Meanwhile the Monarchs are 8-3-1 ATS on the season and 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 outings. Therefore both teams have been good money makers for bettors so far this year. With that being said, Old Dominion has received most of the love from bettors receiving nearly 70% of all early action.
I do not necessarily disagree with the public from what I have seen from both teams. Old Dominion has appeared to play the better football this season when you look at their total body of work. The Monarchs closed out the season winning 8 of their last 9 games winning most in convincing fashion. Eastern Michigan has not been nearly as consistent and they closed the year on a downward trend losing 4 of their last 7 games. Neither team has had a difficult schedule this season which makes it even more difficult when trying to predict how this game will unfold.
Still, Old Dominion stands out with the most potential on both sides of the football. Eastern Michigan has had some quarterback issues all year especially with turnovers. EMU quarterbacks have tossed 16 picks on the year and have just 23 touchdowns to counter that fact. WR Sergio Bailey is a pretty decent talent on the outside but this offense has lacked consistency and not shown the ability to make big plays. The Monarchs on the other hand have been pretty solid in all areas of the skill positions. Quarterback David Washington has been effective for 2,648 yards with 28 scores and just 4 picks. Running back Ray Lawry has amassed 1,222 yards and 11 touchdowns and fellow back Jeremy Cox leads the team with 13 scores. Meanwhile WR Zach Pascal and Jonathan Duhart have combined for 8 touchdowns each as well.
Therefore, Old Dominion just looks like they clearly have the talent advantage especially on the offensive side of the football. If you combine that with the fact the Eagles have relinquished 30.3 points per game on average, it is hard to make a case for Eastern Michigan from an expectations standpoint. To be fair, Old Dominion quarterback David Washington has been battling a knee injury. He is currently listed as questionable but all signs point that he will play. If for some reason Washington were not able to play, I think the window of possibility opens more for the Eagles but it is still a small window.
Jay's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Old Dominion -4.5
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