Ohio Bobcats vs Troy Trojans
Saturday, 12/18/10, 9:00 PM EDT, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Ohio -1
Current Betting Line: Troy -1.5
Opening Total: 58
Current Total: 57.5
Ohio is quite fortunate to make the postseason after dropping its regular-season finale at Kent State and failing to make the MAC Championship game. “It was a tough week for us, waiting around,” said coach Frank Solich. “We had a chance to control our own destiny, but didn’t get it done.” The Bobcats have made four previous bowl appearances, but have yet to break through in the win column, including a 21-17 defeat to Marshall in last year’s Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The team’s success can be attributed to its success in the red zone, ranking fourth in touchdown percentage inside the 20 yard line, while scoring on 88 percent of its trips, which checks in at No. 17 in the country in that category. Ohio is 8-5 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 this season and the college football lines page is available to monitor the movement.
The Bobcats will need to ride quarterback Boo Jackson in order to break into the winners column in bowl games and Solich believes the atmosphere in New Orleans would be a great place to pick up the school’s first postseason win. “There’s almost no negatives in going to a bowl game,” he commented. “And with New Orleans, you’re talking about a major metro area where they love football and the people treat you great.” Jackson will need to stay away from turning the ball over, as he threw 16 interceptions in just 224 passing attempts this season.
Troy will be making its third trip to the New Orleans Bowl and completed the regular season with a share of the Sun Belt Conference championship. “We are all very excited,” coach Larry Blakeney stated. “We have talked all season about ‘The Drive for Five’ and part of that drive was to give our players a chance to go back to New Orleans.” The Trojans and Bobcats have never met in football, although the coaches have squared off three times. Coach Blakeney faced off against Solich’s Nebraska teams in 2001, 2002 and 2003, with the Cornhuskers proving victorious in all three games. Troy is 4-8 ATS on the season and 20-17 ATS over the last three campaigns.
The Trojans have posted a 14-10 all-time record in games played in December and the defense will need to be much-improved in order to gain another victory. Troy’s stop unit has allowed 372 total points thus far during the 2010 season, which is just 15 points less than the school-record 387 points it allowed in 2009. A major part of the defense’s problem has been lack of consistency, with only three players starting in all 12 games this season. The defense must aim for allowing less than 30 points in this contest, considering Ohio is 8-0 when going over that number and 0-4 when falling short.
Bettors will be interested in the Bobcats being 7-1 ATS as an underdog, while the Trojans are 21-10-1 ATS following a SU win.
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