CFB Picks 12/21: New Orleans Bowl
College Football Bowl season is under way!
In the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, Appalachian State will square off against UAB on ESPN at 9 p.m.
Appalachian State will head into this game with only one blemish on its resume.
Back on Nov. 1, Mountaineers quarterback Zac Thomas had 271 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 24-21 loss to Georgia Southern in an in-conference matchup. Malik Williams had eight receptions for 90 yards with one score. Besides that loss, Appalachian State had impressive victories over North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas State and Troy.
The Mountaineers finished in first place in the Sun Belt – East Division.
The UAB Blazers had a 6-2 division record in the Conference – USA West.
Arguably UAB’s most impressive victory came on Nov. 23 against Louisiana Tech.
Quarterback Dylan Hopkins threw for 185 passing yards and one touchdown and running back Lucious Stanley had 13 carries for 61 yards and one score in a 20-14 win over the Bulldogs.
Appalachian State is seeking its fifth straight bowl win. The Mountaineers have also won five consecutive games including a 45-38 victory against Louisiana in the Sun Belt title game.
The key matchup in this game will be Appalachian State’s run game against UAB’s defense.
The Mountaineers rank 17th in the FBS in rushing yards behind running back Darrynton Evans, who racked up 1,323 rushing yards this season, averaging 5.6 yards per attempt.
UAB is phenomenal on all aspects of its defense.
The Blazers rank 13th in the FBS against the run, and 14th against the pass. On offense, UAB is scoring an average of 23.6 points, which is 100th in the nation, and on defense, the Blazers are allowing only 20.8 points per contest, ranked 26th in the country.
Here are a few trends to think about before making your bet:
- Appalachian State is 8-1 against the spread in its last nine non-conference games.
- UAB is 2-5 against the spread in its last seven games against a winning team with a winning record.
- Appalachian State is 5-1 against the spread in its last six games against teams with a winning record.
- UAB has a 1-4 record against the spread in its last five games as an underdog.
Appalachian State will take care of business in this football game. Feel confident taking the Mountaineers minus the 16.5 points.
Pick: Appalachian State (-16.5)
By Dan Canova