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Owls vs. Chippewas Preview/Pick: Motor City Bowl

Motor City Bowl Florida Atlantic Owls vs. Central Michigan Chippewas

This is the third straight trip to the Motor City Bowl for Central Michigan, which has been one of the MAC’s more consistent performers for years. It may or not be the last collegiate game for junior quarterback Dan LeFevour, who is a definite pro prospect. LeFevour, who can run (536 yards rushing) or pass, completed 66% of his passes this season with 19 touchdowns, and took care of the ball very well, with just five interceptions. He was particularly sharp down the stretch, with 12 TD’s and two pickoffs in the last six games. He’s got a couple of capable receivers to throw it to in Antonio Brown (906 yards), who is also the nation’s leading punt returner, and Bryan Anderson (835 yards).

BetUS NCAA Football Betting Odds: CENTRAL MICHIGAN -7, Total 64.5

Here are some of the NCAA college football betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

* FAU has covered four of its last six games
* FAU has won five of its last six games SU
* FAU has played seven of its last ten games UNDER the total
* CMU has won six of its last eight games SU
* CMU has played four of its last six games OVER the total

Florida Atlantic (FAU) first made a big splash in last year’s New Orleans Bowl, when the Owls routed Memphis 44-27. This year they got off to a very slow start when faced with higher quality opposition, but came on late in the season, albeit against lesser lights Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas, Louisiana-Lafayette and Florida International. Rusty Smith was touted as a prime NFL prospect with his size and arm, but was a downer in the first half of the season. He completed just 53.5% of his passes, but did manage to finish with 22 TD’s after a horrific start.

Central Michigan’s problem is that it was not able to slow down many quality passers, ranking 118th in the nation’s pass defense rankings. Only one team allowed more yards per game than the Chippewas. Sure, LeFevour will get something going offensively; that is to be expected. But Smith’s form toward the end is an indicator that he may be able to keep pace just fine. FAU seems to have an edge on defense, and has top players like linebacker Frantz Joseph who can be difference-makers here. They also possess a better running game with speedy tailback Charles Pierre, who ran for 620 yards in the last six games of the season. They protect their quarterback better, as Smith was dumped only 12 times and coach Howard Schnellenberger, one time a national champion with Miami, relishes these situations, as he’s compiled a 5-0 record in bowl games.

The Owls have more than enough to take this right down to the wire. We’ll take seven points with FAU, the underdog in the BetUS NCAA college football sports betting odds.

Our PLAY: FLORIDA ATLANTIC +7 ***

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