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NCAA Football Betting – Papajohns.com Bowl Southern Miss vs. Cincinnati
LAST POINTSPREAD RESULT: Southern Miss eked out a 16-10 win over Arkansas State on November 24, failing to cover as a 14.5-point favorite. Cincinnati went to Syracuse and ran up 544 yards, coming away with a 52-31 victory, though the Bearcats did not cover the 22.5-point spread.
HEAD-TO-HEAD college football betting trends:
* CIN has covered four of the last five meetings
* USM has won five of the last seven meetings SU
LAST MEETING: Both teams used to belong to Conference USA, so they met often. In 2004, Cincinnati pulled a 52-24 upset at Hattiesburg as a five-point underdog.
ABOUT SOUTHERN MISS:
The Good News — The Eagles have one of the best young running backs around in Damion Fletcher (1431 yards, 5.4 ypc), who ranked 14th nationally with 119 yards a game. There is offensive balance, as USM averages 193.6 yards rushing and 202.6 yards passing. This perennial Conference USA contender has won its last three bowl games.
The Bad News — Jeff Bower, who had 14 straight winning seasons behind him, was eased out of his position, and even though Larry Fedora was named the new head coach, Bower will participate in the bowl game. The Eagles were only able to compile a minus-2 turnover ratio. QB Jeremy Young completed just 53% of his passes for only nine TD’s.
SOUTHERN MISS TRENDS:
* USM is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games as an underdog
* USM is 3-5 ATS in its last eight bowl games
* USM has played four of its last five games UNDER the total
The Good News — The Bearcats took to new coach Brian Kelly’s offense like a fish to water this season. And they had the right triggerman in Ben Mauk, the Wake Forest transfer who tossed 27 touchdown passes this year, with only six INT’s. Cincinnati forced 39 turnovers, second in the nation, which resulted in a +17 ratio.
The Bad News — Cincinnati’s secondary was vulnerable to capable passing attacks this year, permitting 265 yards per game through the air. And there really isn’t a “go-to” guy in the backfield.
* CIN is 2-4 ATS in its last six games
* CIN has played five UNDERS in its last seven games
* CIN has won 12 of its last 15 games SU
* CIN is 4-2 ATS in its last six away from home
* CIN has a +18.2 point differential
THE BOTTOM LINE: Cincinnati allowed just three yards a carry this season, but Southern Miss will plan to run the ball anyway, and who wouldn’t when you have a weapon like Fletcher. What might help is that Jeremy Young should be able to find some holes in that Bearcat secondary. The ball control attack will have the effect of slowing the game down a little. We appreciate the 39 takeaways on the part of Cincinnati, we really do, plus the fact that Brian Kelly is an eye-popping 26-8-3 ATS over the last three seasons. But Cincy’s stats are a bit inflated because the ‘Cats went out of their way to play the “bully” role against weaker teams early in the schedule. Not that it didn’t work, as they got a national ranking out of it. But here, the Eagles will put together a special effort for their departing coach, a legend at the institution (there 28 yards altogether). And that will translate to an inspired defensive effort. Since Southern Miss has the highest-ranking defense in Conference USA, we’ll see a lot of plays on that side of the ball. We’re looking “under” the 56 points, as it is posted in the Top Sportsbooks college football betting odds.
WHAT: The PapaJohns.com Bowl
WHO: Southern Miss Golden Eagles (7-5 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Cincinnati Bearcats (9-3 SU, 7-4 ATS)
WHEN & WHERE: December 22, 1 PM EST at Legion Field in Birmingham, AL (artificial turf)
BETUS COLLEGE FOOTBALL BETTING LINE: CINCINNATI -11, Total 56
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