Bahamas Bowl Pick: Buffalo Bulls vs. Charlotte 49ers
Buffalo Bulls (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS) vs. Charlotte 49ers (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS)
2019 Bahamas Bowl
When: Friday, December 20, 2 p.m. EST
Where: Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
Point Spread: BUFF -6.5/CHAR +6.5 (Best Bonus)
Total: O/U 57
Welcome to bowl season, with the first game taking place on the islands of the Bahamas. It’s an appropriate location because these teams are both coming in as hot as the temperatures on the islands. Charlotte won five straight games after a 2-5 start to land its first-ever bowl appearance, while Buffalo has won five of six and would be riding a six-game surge if not for a fourth-quarter meltdown against Kent State. The Bulls have never won a bowl game before, and the 49ers have never played in one, so somebody is going to make history in this matchup.
How the Public is Betting the Buffalo/Charlotte Game
The public is backing the Bulls in this matchup, as the line has swung a full point to Buffalo’s side.
The Bulls report no new injuries since September.
The 49ers report no new injuries since September.
When Buffalo Has the Ball
A team based out of western New York is likely a team that’s well-equipped to play in cold weather, and Buffalo fits that description to a T. Quarterback Kyle Vantrease is just a sophomore in relief of Matt Myers, who was lost for the year in September with a neck injury, and the Bulls don’t ask him to do any more than not lose the game for them. That’s a task he can handle, as he’s only thrown seven touchdowns but has just one interception all season.
Where the Bulls do their damage is on the ground. Jaret Patterson is the main man for the Buffalo offense with 1,626 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, but his backfield mate Kevin Marks is no slouch either, with 1,008 yards and eight scores to his credit. Together, both have the ability to extend drives with big runs or even go all the way from anywhere on the field, as both have a run of at least 70 yards this season.
Buffalo doesn’t pass much, but when it does, Antonio Nunn is the likely target. His 44 receptions were twice as much as any of his teammates, and nobody else in blue and white comes close to his 634 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
When Charlotte Has the Ball
The weather is a lot warmer in the fall in Charlotte than it is in Buffalo, and the 49ers have no qualms about trusting their sophomore quarterback to let it rip. Chris Reynolds threw for 2,366 yards and 21 scores this season, and he’s pretty solid with his legs as well, rushing for 757 yards. But when the 49ers need a big play on the ground, the ball is likely going to senior Benny LeMay. LeMay has been a large part in helping build the 49ers’ program to the point where it could compete in a bowl game, and with 1,027 rushing yards to his name, he’s had a fine senior campaign.
Like their quarterback, receivers Victor Tucker and Cameron Dollar are both sophomores, and both showed that the future looks bright for the Charlotte offense by combining for 1,399 receiving yards on 86 catches this season. This is a balanced attack, and it will have to be against a Buffalo defense that has been just average against the pass but has held opponents to less than 100 rushing yards.
Both teams are hot as far as winning the game, and they’re also hot as far as covering. Buffalo has covered six of its past seven, with the Kent State debacle being the only exception, while Charlotte has covered four of its past five. However, Buffalo’s success has come entirely against MAC opponents, which could be a concern given that they’ve covered just once in their previous six non-league games. Charlotte has also struggled outside of its league, failing to cover in 13 of its last 18 games outside of C-USA.
These teams tend to put up a fair amount of points, so the over might be a solid play, as Buffalo has hit the over in 20 of its last 29 games, and Charlotte has gone over in each of its past four non-conference games. The teams have never played before, and neither side has ever played in the Bahamas Bowl.
Clouds could be involved, but that’s about it as far as the weather on a day that’s expected to reach 79 degrees in the islands.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
There are two reasons to prefer Buffalo here. The first is that the Bulls have the better defense and should be able to slow down the 49er ground game. Charlotte’s defense is average against both the run and the pass, and Buffalo should be able to grind out yards and keep the clock moving. There’s also their respective situations. Charlotte has never played in a bowl game before, and many of its players will be happy to enjoy the postseason experience.
Buffalo, on the other hand, is making its fourth trip to a bowl game and its second consecutive postseason visit. Last year, they played in their first bowl in five years and lost by 10 to Troy, an unfair matchup because the game was played in Mobile, Ala., just 167 miles from Troy’s campus. This time, they have a truly fair matchup, and they know what it’s like to be in a bowl game. I think Buffalo comes in on a mission and covers the spread. Did you know that you can bet on football games at -105 odds instead of the -110 that you’re laying? Some local books even charge -115/-120! Stop overpaying for odds today by making the switch to the internet’s best place to bet! Lay -105 on all sports, bet teasers up to 19 points and find the most props offered online! Click here to register at 5Dimes today!