College Football Betting Preview Independence Bowl: Ohio Bobcats vs Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks

2012 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl
Friday, December 28, 2012, 2:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Ohio Bobcats vs Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks
Independence Stadium – Shreveport, Lousiana
Opening Line: ULM -6 1/2
Current Line: ULM -7
Opening Total: 61
Current Total: 60 1/2
Opening Money Line: ULM -295 / Ohio +245
Current Money Line: ULM -275 / Ohio +235

Ohio is a 7.5 point underdog vs Louisiana-Monroe in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport Friday.

Both the Ohio Bobcats and Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks are 8-4 this season as they meet for the first time ever in football in Friday’s Independence Bowl in Shreveport. This bowl was originally supposed to match up ULM and 9-3 Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs balked at playing ULM whom they considered a lesser opponent, and were snubbed when they didn’t get another bowl invite. Tech’s loss is Ohio’s gains as the Bobcats take their spot.

Ohio is playing in their 4th straight bowl game and 6th overall in program history. The Bobcats are 1-5 in those games. They beat Utah St last year in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl for their first ever bowl win . ULM is making their first ever bowl appearance.

Ohio is coached by Frank Solich. Ohio finished 4-4 in the MAC. The Bobcats have losses at Miami-(OH) 23-20, Ball St 52-27 and at Kent St 28-6 to close out the regular season, along with a home loss against Bowling Green 26-14. After a 7-0 start, Ohio has lost 3 of 4, including 3 in a row. Ohio has road wins over Penn St 24-14, Marshall 27-24, and Massachusetts 37-34, along with home wins against New Mexico St 51-24, Norfolk St 44-10, Buffalo 38-31, Akron 34-28 and against Eastern Michigan 45-14. The Bobcats are 4-8 ATS and the total is 5-6 this season.

Ohio is averaging 435.5 yards per game on offense, including 233.5 passing yards and 202 rushing yards. The Bobcats are outscoring teams 31-26 this season. Ohio is +14 in turnovers with only 8 turnovers. The Bobcats are averaging 48 penalty yards and have allowed 27 sacks. Ohio is 92/212 on third and fourth down conversions and 44/56 scoring in the red zone with 28 touchdowns. On defense, the Bobcats are allowing 395 yards per game, including 229.8 passing yards and 165.2 rushing yards. The Bobcats have forced 22 turnovers and 20 sacks this season. Ohio opponents are 95/206 on third and fourth down conversions, and 32/35 scoring in the red zone with 25 touchdowns.

Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton has completed 214 of 345 passes (62%) for 2,513 yards with 16 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 84 carries, 198 yards and 4 touchdowns. Running back Beau Blankenship has 293 carries, 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 20 catches, 177 yards and a touchdown. Ryan Boykin has 74 carries, 445 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is out for the season with a knee injury. Daz’mond Patterson has only 257 combined rushing and receiving yards but he does have a rushing touchdown and a 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.Patterson has 29 carries but no other Bobcat has more than 16 carries this season.

Receiver Donte Foster has 56 catches, 629 yards and 7 touchdowns. Bakari Bussey has 37 catches, 313 yards and no touchdowns. Landon Smith has 8 catches, 198 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is out with an ankle injury. Troy Hill has 14 catches, 169 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tyler Futrell has 23 catches, 289 and 2 touchdowns. Chase Cochrane has 19 catches, 215 yards and 3 touchdowns. Nine Bobcats have at least 14  catches. Nineteen Bobcats are listed at questionable or out for Friday’s game including 7 backs and receivers, 5 offensive linemen and 6 defensive players.

Louisiana-Monroe is coached by Todd Berry and finished tied for second in the Sun Belt with a 6-2 record. The Warhawks have losses at Auburn 31-28 in overtime and Arkansas St 45-23, and at home to Baylor 47-42 and against Louisiana-Lafayette 40-24. ULM has road wins at Arkansas 34-31 in overtime, Tulane 63-10, Middle Tennessee 31-17, Western Kentucky 43-42 in overtime and at Florida International 23-17 in overtime to close out the regular season, along with home wins over Florida Atlantic 35-14, South Alabama 38-24 and North Texas 42-16. The Warhawks are 8-4 ATS and the total is 9-3 this season.

ULM is averaging 442.7 yards per game on offense including 296.7 passing and 146 rushing yards. The Warhawks are outscoring teams 36-28. ULM is in the top 35 nationally in total offense, passing, and scoring. The Warhawks are +8 in turnovers with 16 giveaways. ULM averages 45 penalty yards and has allowed 22 sacks. The Warhawks are 116/226 on third and fourth down conversions and 39/47 scoring in the red zone with 35 touchdowns. On defense, ULM is allowing 407.3 yards per game including 271.5 passing and 135.8 rushing yards. ULM is #108 in pass defense nationally. The Warhawks have forced 24 turnovers and 24 sacks this season. ULM opponents are 93/203 on third and fourth down conversions and 35/45 scoring scoring in the red zone including 28 touchdowns. The Warhawks have 4 defensive touchdowns this season.

ULM quarterback Kolton Browning has completed 252 of 389 passes (64.8%) for 2,830 yards with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 122 carries, 441 yards and 7 touchdowns. Back-up Cody Ross has completed 66 of 103 passes for 700 yards with 4 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He came in the Louisiana-Lafayette game and started the Arkansas St game when Browning was injured.

Leading rusher Jyruss Edwards is out for the season with an upper body injury. He had 99 carries, 438 yards, and 6 touchdowns along with 12 catches for 157 yards. Monterrell Washington took over as the feature back. He has 79 carries, 352 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 6 catches, 56 yards and a touchdown. Centarius Donald is also out for the season with a knee injury. He had 26 carries, 135 yards and a touchdown, along with a touchdown catch. Receiver Brent Leonard has 97 catches, 1,042 yards and 10 touchdowns. Je’Ronn Hamm has 58 catches, 862 yards and 6 touchdowns. Tavarese Maye has 52 catches, 552 yards and 3 touchdowns. Colby Harper is out indefinitely with a leg injury. He had 29 catches, 303 yards and 2 touchdowns. Rashon Caeser, Keavon Milton and Cortney Davis will also get some catches. Harley Scioneaux has 3 touchdown catches and Kevin Steed has 2 along with Caeser.

Ohio is 8-2 ATS in Friday games, 4-1 in non-conference games, 29-10 on grass, 15-7 against teams with winning records, 11-30 after scoring less than 20 points, 1-5 after failing to cover, after a straight up loss of 20 points or more, and 1-7 overall.

ULM is 4-0 ATS in non-conference games, and after gaining less than 275 total yards, 4-1 after allowing 20 points or less, 5-2 after a cover, 16-7 after rushing for 100 yards or less, 9-4 overall, and 0-4 against MAC teams.

Expect Independence Stadium to be filed with ULM fans. Shreveport is roughly 100 miles from Monroe and the Warhawks are excited to be playing in a bowl for the first time. ULM upset Arkansas on the road early in the season, and Ohio upset Penn St also on the road to open the season. Ohio struggled down the stretch, losing 3 straight games. I like ULM to win in what is a de facto home game.

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