Temple Owls (5-3 SU, 6-2 ATS) vs. Ohio Bobcats (5-3 SU, 3-5 ATS), 8:00 p.m. EST, Week 10 NCAA Football, Wednesday, November 2, 2011, Peden Stadium, Athens, Ohio, TV: ESPN
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TU -4/OU +4
Over/Under Total: TBD
Bet the Owls/Bobcats game using your credit card to deposit at an online sportsbook that CAN and WILL get it to work for deposits: BetOnline.
The battle for the East Division of the Mid-American Conference will be broadcast throughout the country in a special Wednesday night telecast on ESPN when the Temple Owls travel to Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio, to take on the Ohio Bobcats.
It will be the second straight night that the MAC will get the national spotlight on the four-letter network, with the Owls and Bobcats set to engage for first place in the East Division one night after the West Division has their battle.
Temple currently sits a half-game ahead of Ohio in the East Division standings, as the Owls are 3-2 in the MAC and the Bobcats are 2-2, so the winner will get a chance to move one step closer to a division title and a chance to represent the East in the MAC title game in December.
The Owls will be seeking redemption after getting a, 13-10, upset sprung on them on the road last week at Bowling Green back on October 22nd. Temple shot themselves in the foot all game long, with 12 penalties for nearly 100 yards in the loss and a 3-for-14 tally on third down which allowed the Falcons to knock the Owls off their perch atop the East standings.
Ohio snapped a two-game losing streak with a, 37-20, victory on the road over winless Akron on October 22nd. The Bobcats amassed 556 yards of total offense and registered 30 first downs in the win that was more lopsided that the 17-point margin of victory would indicate.
The football oddsmakers out in Las Vegas are expecting a bounce back game for Temple on Wednesday, listing the Owls as 4-point favorites on the road in Athens. There are a few offshore sportsbooks listing the point spread at Temple minus -4.5-points, so most of the early money is coming in on the Owls at this point.
As of press time the over/under total has yet to be released.
The recipe for success for Temple on offense is simple hand the ball to running back Bernard Price.
With Price toting the rock the Owls are 9th in the country at rushing the ball with an average of 252.1 yards per game on the ground, and Prices mark of 118 per game is tops in the MAC. Price will likely cross the 1,000-yard mark in Wednesdays game (sitting at 951 currently), and his 18 touchdowns also leads the MAC.
With all of the running plays on offense its no surprise that the Owls also lead the MAC in time of possession, keeping the ball away from their opponents to help them close out games late in the fourth quarter.
Temple keeping the ball for large chunks of time will be important this week because the Bobcats also have a solid offense, with the 2nd-ranked unit in total yards in the MAC (451 ypg 24th ion NCAA) and the 3rd best unit in scoring with an average of 31.9 points per contest.
But to say that offense will rule this game would be totaling misleading because these two teams are really led by defense, and lots of it.
Temple and Ohio are ranked first and second in scoring defense and total defense in the MAC, with the Owls numbers (263.2 ypg; 10 ppg) quite a bit better than the solid numbers turned in by the Bobcats (320.5 ypg; 20.4 ppg).
In fact, Temple is tops in the league in just about every defensive category recorded, including pass defense (172.8 ypg), pass defense efficiency, sacks (23), first downs allowed (14 per game) and third-down conversions (29.2 percent). About the only category they dont control in the MAC as far as defense goes is interceptions, which ironically is led by the Bobcats with 12 so far through eight games.
Since Temple has only been in the MAC for a few seasons now the history between these two schools is limited, but the Bobcats have dominated what little history they have.
Ohio has won three of the four meetings on the gridiron, including a 31-23 victory over Temple on the road last season in Philadelphia. The Bobcats have won both meetings in Athens (35-17 in 2009; 23-7 in 2007), and they also are a perfect 3-0-1 ATS in the head-to-head matchups against the Owls over the years.
If youre looking to find a few betting trends to rely upon you may be searching for a while, because you can find numbers to support both sides. Temple has done well on the road in the past (12-4 ATS in last 16 road games), especially as the favorite (8-3 ATS), but Ohio is strong as an underdog (7-3 ATS as dog in last 10 games) and is also exceptional when they have extra days to prepare and game plan (5-0-1 ATS in last six following a bye week).
The over/under trends are similar too, with a majority of the trends for Temple and its tough defense favoring the under (7-0 in last seven; 5-0 as favorite; 6-0 in MAC play), while the trends for the Bobcats favor the over (5-0 as dog; 9-4 in last 13 overall; 7-1 in November).
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Ohio under coach Frank Solich has been really strong on national television games, which is why Im a little gun-shy on taking the Owls to cover a 4 to 4.5 point number on the road here. Without a total to handicap, its hard to recommend a wager on that either, although Id strongly suggest a play on the under with the two best defenses in the MAC going against each other on Wednesday. If the total is 42 or higher Im on the under here. Otherwise Id lean to taking Temple minus the points here.
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