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NCAA Football Betting – International Bowl Ball State at Rutgers
Jan. 5 — International Bowl Preview at Toronto, Rutgers (7-5) vs. Ball State (7-5), Noon (ESPN2)
LAST POINTSPREAD RESULT: Ball State won 27-21 at Northern Illinois but failed to cover the 9.5-point spread as the road favorite. Rutgers suffered a disappointment as the 2.5-point underdog at Louisville, dropping a 41-38 decision.
ABOUT BALL STATE:
The Good News — Sophomore quarterback Nate Davis is an exciting signal-caller with a big arm and the ability to make plays. He threw 27 touchdown passes with just six INT’s this season. The Cardinals have a +17 turnover margin, which is second best in the nation.
The Bad News — Ball State has had problems defending the run, to say the least. They have yielded 197 yards a game and 4.9 yards per carry. The Cards are also 83rd in the country in pass efficiency defense.
The Good News — Ray Rice was third in the nation in rushing, on a yards-per-game basis (144.3). He gained 1732 yards on five yards a carry. Rutgers protected Teel very well, allowing only nine sacks. And the Knights are second in the country in passing yards allowed, with 161 per game.
The Bad News — Rutgers scored wins over Navy and South Florida, but offered more in the way of disappointment, as it lost to Maryland, Cincinnati, West Virginia, U-Conn and Louisville. Mike Teel, who was ranked right near the top of the passing efficiency ratings early in the year, injured his thumb and struggled for much of the rest of the way, though he says he feels completely healthy now.
Here are some of the NCAA football betting trends relative to this matchup:
* BALL ST has played its last five games UNDER the total
* BALL ST has covered 11 of its last 15 games
* RUTGERS has covered one of its last five games
* RUTGERS has won 18 of its last 25 games
* BALL ST has covered 12 of its last 15 games away from home
* BALL ST has covered seven of its last eight games as an underdog
THE BOTTOM LINE: When you look at the fundamental matchups between these units, all the edges appear to belong to Rutgers. After all, Ray Rice seems to be the kind of runner who can exploit a Ball State defense that has allowed almost five yards a carry. And Rutgers’ second-ranked passing defense looms as something that should reasonably slow Nate Davis down. But the respective psyches have to be taken into account. Ball State has been looking for this opportunity, and is playing its first bowl game in eleven years. Rutgers had higher hopes than to be in Toronto on January 5, so this has to be a letdown for many players.
Ball State has been a feisty team when venturing out of its conference, beating Navy, losing by a point to a Nebraska team that was strong early in the season, and being very competitive with Illinois. Last year there were close games with Indiana, Purdue and Michigan. The point is, the Cardinals manage to hang in there against opposition with a better pedigree. Their 7-1 ATS record in the last eight getting points would seem to bear that out.
Davis is a tough competitor who does not back down to anyone. His top receiver, Dante Love (1229 yards) is hard to stop. Ball State takes care of the ball, having given it away only ten times all season. And they will be throwing haymakers to the end, you can be sure.
International Bowl Free Pick:
We’ll grab double digits with the Cardinals, the 10.5-point underdog in the Top Sportsbooks NCAA football betting odds.
WHAT: International Bowl
WHO: Ball State Cardinals (7-5 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-5 SU, 5-6 ATS)
WHEN & WHERE: January 5, Noon ET at the Rogers Centre in Toronto (artificial turf)
BETUS COLLEGE FOOTBALL BETTING LINE: RUTGERS -10.5, Total: 61
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