Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl Betting Picks: Ball State Cardinals vs Central Florida Knights

2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
Friday, December 21, 2012, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Ball State Cardinals vs Central Florida Knights
Tropicana Field – St. Petersburg, Florida
Opening Line: UCF -7 1/2
Current Line: UCF -7
Opening Total: 63
Current Total: 61 1/2
Opening Money Line: UCF -290 / Ball St +240
Current Money Line: UCF -290 / Ball St +240

Central Florida is a 7.5 point favorite against Ball State in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg.

The 9-3 Ball State Cardinals take on the 9-4 Central Florida Knights in the 2012 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl Friday night in St. Petersburg. They were conference rivals in the MAC in the late 90′s and early 2000′s. Ball St leads the series 2-1 with the home team winning every game. The Cardinals won the last meeting 21-17 in Muncie in 2004.

Ball St is 0-5 all-time in bowl games. The Cardinals lost to Tulsa 45-13 in the 2009 GMAC Bowl in their last bowl appearance. Central Florida is 1-3 all-time in bowls, all since 2005. The Knights beat Georgia 10-6 in the 2010 Liberty Bowl.

Ball St is coached by Pete Lembo. The Cardinals have won 6 straight games and finished tied with Toledo for second place in the MAC West Division. Ball St has losses at Clemson 52-27 and Kent St 45-43, and at home against Northern Illinois 35-23. All are bowl teams. The Cardinals have home wins over Eastern Michigan 37-26, South Florida 31-27, Western Michigan 30-24 in overtime, and Ohio 52-27, along with road wins at Indiana 41-39, Central Michigan 41-30, Army 30-22, Toledo 34-27 and at Miami-(Ohio) 31-24 to close out the regular season. Ball St is 9-3 ATS and the total is 6-5-1 this season.

Ball State is averaging 471.3 yards per game on offense, including 257.1 passing yards and 214.2 rushing yards. The Cardinals are outscoring teams 35-32 this season. Ball St is 47th or higher in all offensive categories nationally. The Cardinals are -2 in turnovers, with 16 giveaways. Ball State has allowed 10 sacks this season and is averaging 47 penalty yards per game. Ball State is 98/194 on third and fourth down conversions, and 56/66 scoring in the red zone with 40 touchdowns. On defense, Ball State is allowing 459.8 yards per game including 253.9 passing yards and 205.8 rushing yards. The Cardinals are #91 or worse out of 124 FBS teams in all defensive categories including points allowed. Ball State has forced 20 sacks and 14 turnovers. Cardinal opponents are 83/190 on third and fourth down conversions, and 38/45 scoring in the red zone with 30 touchdowns.

Ball State quarterback Keith Wenning has completed 279 of 426 passes (65.5%) for 2,878 yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with 51 carries, 124 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wenning also has a touchdown catch. Wenning missed the Miami game with an ankle injury but he is probable for the bowl game. Back-up Kelly Page started the Miami game. He is probable with a concussion. Page has thrown for 178 yards and 3 touchdowns, and also has 87 rushing yards and a touchdown. If Wenning and Page can’t go, the other two quarterbacks on the roster are freshmen Kyle Kamman and Ozzie Mann. Neither has thrown a pass this season.

Running back Jahwan Edwards has 218 carries, 1,321 yards and 14 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 51 yards. Horactio Banks has 108 carries, 585 yards and 4 touchdowns. Barrington Scott has 93 carries, 373 yards and a touchdown, along with a receiving touchdown. He has missed the last two games for undisclosed reasons, but isn’t listed on the injury report.

Receiver Willie Snead has  82 catches, 1,070 yards and 7 touchdowns. Jamill Smith has 69 catches, 706 and 6 touchdowns, along with 8 carries for 55 yards. Smith also threw a touchdown pass. He is probable with a foot injury.  Tight end Zane Fakes has 51 catches, 404 yards and 5 touchdowns. Connor Ryan has 42 catches, 331 yards and 3 touchdowns. KeVonn Mabon has 20 catches, 305 yards and 2 touchdowns. Five offensive linemen and two back-up tight ends are listed as questionable, doubtful, or out.

Central Florida is coached by George O’Leary. The Knights won the Conference USA Eastern Division but lost to Tulsa 33-27 in overtime in the C-USA Championship Game at Tulsa. It was the second loss in 3 weeks for UCF at Tulsa as the Golden Hurricane won 23-21 in the regular season. The Knights also have losses at Ohio St 31-16 and at home against Missouri 21-16. UCF has home wins over Florida International 33-20, East Carolina 40-20, Southern Miss 38-31 in overtime, SMU 42-17, and UAB 49-24, along with road wins at Akron 56-14, Memphis 35-17, Marshall 54-17, and UTEP 31-24. UCF is 6-7 ATS and the total is 10-3 this season.

Central Florida is averaging 400.7 yards per game on offense, including 222 passing yards and 178.7 rushing yards. The Knights are outscoring teams 35-23 this season. UCF is +11 in turnovers with 15 giveaways. The Knights average 33.5 penalty yards and have allowed 23 sacks this season. UCF is 91/188 on third and fourth down conversions and 47/56 scoring in the red zone with 40 touchdowns. On defense, UCF is allowing 380.2 yards per game, including 217.8 passing and 162.4 rushing yards. The Knights have forced 23 sacks and 26 turnovers. UCF opponents are 95/236 on third and fourth down conversions and 36/49 scoring in the red zone with 28 touchdowns. The Knights have 6 defensive special/teams touchdowns.

UCF quarterback Blake Bortles has completed 229 of 366 passes (62.6%) for 2,787 yards with 22 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 78 carries, 205 yards and 7 touchdowns. Running back Latavius Murray has 177 carries, 1,035 yards, and 14 touchdowns, along with 21 catches, 198 yards and 2 touchdowns. Storm Johnson has 107 carries, 457 yards and 4 touchdowns, and 10 catches for 20 yards. Brynn Harvey has 56 catches, 242 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with 7 catches for 46 yards.

Receiver J.J. Worton has 41 catches, 562 yards and 4 touchdowns. Rannell Hall has 31 catches, 557 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jeff Godfrey has 36 catches, 400 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 11 carries for 64 yards. He also has 2 touchdown passes. Quincy McDuffie has 28 catches, 350 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 17 carries, 162 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also has 3 kickoff returns for a touchdown. Breshad Perriman has 21 catches, 298 yards and 3 touchdowns. Justin Tukes and Billy Giovanetti each ahve 2 touchdown catches.

Central Florida is 13-5 ATS after a straight up loss, 5-2 against MAC teams, 8-21 after allowing 200 rushing yards or more, and 1-10 after allowing less than 170 passing yards.

Ball St is 6-1 ATS after rushing for more than 200 yards, 5-1 overall, and on fieldturf, 9-2 after a straight up win, 19-7 in non-conference games, and 8-3 against teams with winning records.

Ball St is red hot right now having won six straight games, but if Wenning and/or Page aren’t healthy they could struggle on offense. Since they have one of the worst defenses in the country, Ball St’s only hope to win is to get into a shootout. Central Florida will try to slow down the pace. I like the Knights to win in nearby St. Petersburg.

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