The 18th edition of the New Orleans Bowl will see the C-USA Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders against the Sun Belt Appalachian State Mountaineers, as the Blue Raiders are looking to secure their second win here after winning the first in 2009. The Mountaineers are favorites at the -7 spread and with the total at 50.5 points and the Mountaineers at -270 money line odds.
The Blue Raiders are desperate to bounce back from a loss to the Blazers in the C-USA championship game
Middle Tennessee (8-5, 7-3 ATS) defeated the UAB Blazers 27-3 only one week prior to the C-USA championship game but the Blazers got their revenge and beat the Blue Raiders 27-25, thanks to an excellent display in the second quarter. The Blue Raiders won the opening quarter 13-3 but UAB responded with 21-3 in the second 15 minutes and although the hosts had a 25-24 lead until the final three minutes of the clash, the Blazers sealed the victory through Nick Vogel’s 28-yard field goal. Middle Tennessee didn’t impress on the ground as they had 94 yards on 24 carries but recorded 362 passing yards along with a couple of touchdowns.
Senior quarterback Brent Stockstill is completing 70.5 percent of his passes for 3214 yards with 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions for the Blue Raiders. Stockstill had a solid showing in a loss to the Blazers as he threw for 362 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Chaton Mobley is the leading rusher with 568 yards and four TD’s, while the wide receivers Ty Lee and Patrick Smith are combining for 1354 yards and 13 touchdowns. Middle Tennessee is the 65t offensive team in the country with 29.2 points per game, while they are allowing 25.3 points per contest (51st). The Blue Raiders are averaging 133.1 rushing yards (108th), while they are better when it comes to passing yards with 255.4 per game (41st).
The Mountaineers won the Sun Belt Conference after defeating the Ragin’ Cajuns
Appalachian State (10-2, 6-4 ATS) recorded their fifth consecutive victory after defeating the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns in the Sun Belt championship game, 30-19. The Mountaineers limited the visitors to just three points in the first, second, and fourth quarter, while their running offense pretty much controlled the clock and game as Zac Thomas added a couple of touchdowns and Darrynton Evans posted 111 yards on 17 carries.
Sophomore quarterback Zac Thomas is completing 62.6 percent of his passes for 1862 yards with 18 touchdowns and four interceptions for the Mountaineers, while he also added 476 rushing yards with ten touchdowns. Darrynton Evans is the leading running back with 1079 yards and seven touchdowns, while wide receiver Corey Sutton has 695 yards with eight touchdowns. Appalachian State has a top 20 offense that is averaging 36.7 points per contest (20th), while they are allowing just 15.7 points in return (6th). They have the 15th rushing offense in college football that is averaging 241.0 yards per game but the passing game is not even in the top 100 as they average 188.6 yards per contest.
1-4 ATS in their last five bowl games
1-4 ATS in their last five neutral site games
1-6 ATS in their last seven games played in December
4-0 ATS in their last four non-conference games
7-1 ATS in their last eight games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game
12-4 ATS in their last 16 games overall
The Winner Prediction
These teams have never met before and it’s going to be interesting to see a matchup between Rick Stockstill who is enjoying his 13th season with the Blue Raiders and the Mountaineers who are currently without a head coach after Scott Satterfield took a job at the University of Louisville. I am backing App State’s defense to prevail in this one and not allow more than 17 points as they conceded 18+ points in just two out of 12 games this season. On the other hand, Middle Tennessee allowed 27+ points in three of their last four games and even though they are without an HC right now, I am backing the Mountaineers to win their first-ever New Orleans Bowl.
The Pick: Appalachian State Mountaineers -7 (-110)
Only one of the Mountaineers’ last eight games produced more than 50 points, with the under being 5-2 in Mountaineers previous seven games after allowing less than 20 points in their previous game, and the under is 8-1-1 in Blue Raiders last ten games following a straight up loss. With that being said, I don’t expect to see plenty of points here as App State will probably shut down the Blue Raiders and will run the ball a lot, which will eat the clock very quickly. The total is set at 50.5 and considering that I don’t think Middle Tennessee will score more than 17 points here, which is why I am backing under.
The Pick: Under 50.5 (-110)
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