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Here's our CFB expert's pick for Thursday's Independence Bowl game

Louisiana Tech and Miami clash in the Independence Bowl looking to end the season on the right foot.

The Bulldogs have the opportunity to set a program record for wins in a season, as well as win five consecutive bowl games dating back to 2014. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, are trying to avoid falling under .500 on the season for just the third time since 1998.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (+6) @ Miami Hurricanes, 4:00 PM:

  • Louisiana Tech has a 14-7 ATS record when traveling for day games since 2014.
  • The underdog has covered the spread against Miami in five of the last six games.
  • Each of the Bulldogs’ last three Thursday games against non-AP ranked opponents have gone OVER the total points. Stats courtesy of Statschecker.

The Bulldogs (9-3) were locked in between Week 2 and Week 9 winning eight games in a row, but fell short of winning the Conference USA West Division after losing to the UAB Blazers 20-14 in Week 11.

Louisiana Tech has one of the most explosive offenses in the nation averaging (34.0 ppg) which ranks 27th best in the FBS.

Senior dual threat quarterback J’Mar Smith is the leader of that high-powered offense, throwing for 2,814 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions, adding 230 rushing yards and three rushing scores.

Miami (6-6) has been up and down all season and ended the season trending down. The Hurricanes are looking to dodge a three-game losing streak to end the season for a third consecutive year. The Hurricanes went 1-1 against ranked opponents - defeating #20 Virginia at home 17-9 and losing 24-20 to #8 Florida in the season opener.

Freshman quarterback Jarren Williams was solid in his first full season for the Hurricanes, throwing for 2,093 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions.

Miami’s offense has leaned on the running game with the running back duo of DeeJay Dallas and Cam’Ron Harris, but Harris is not expected to play in the Independence Bowl. Dallas will have to pick up right where he left off finishing as the team’s leading rusher with 693 yards and eight touchdowns.

My pick is Louisiana Tech to cover the spread (+6), and the OVER total of 49.5 points.

Although the game will not be played at the Bulldogs’ home stadium, it will be taking place in Louisiana which is good news for Louisiana Tech who is undefeated with home-field advantage this season (6-0).

These teams share one common opponent in Florida International University, and had different results. Miami stumbled on the road and lost to the Panthers 30-24 while Louisiana Tech defeated FIU 43-31 at home in a shootout.

The Hurricanes have been too unpredictable, and poor against the spread when favored, for me to have confidence in them heading into the bowl game.

Not only do I like Louisiana Tech to cover the spread (+6), but I’m rolling with the Bulldogs to pull the upset and win outright. Sprinkle some money on the moneyline at (+190).

Final score prediction: Louisiana Tech Wins 30-23

Pick: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs +6 @ -110

Picks: Total Points - Over 49.5 @ -115

By Stephen Rodriguez


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