Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#223 Miami - FL -6.5 vs.
#224 Louisiana Tech 49
Thursday, December 26, 2019 at 4:00pm EST
Written by David Hess

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#223 University of Miami
#224 Louisiana Tech University
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The College Football Bowl season continues on Thursday, December 26 and we will see the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs grapple with the Miami Hurricanes in the Independence Bowl. This contest has a start time of 4:00 pm ET and will take place at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Bulldogs enter this game at 9-3 on the year while the Canes come in at 6-6.

La Tech Got Their Offense Back On Track

The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs were rolling right along as they entered the final three games of their schedule with an 8-1 record and they had a shot at a berth in the Conference U.S.A. Title game. Well, a 1-2 finish ended those hopes. the Bulldogs have been a solid offensive team for much of the year, but they began their final three games scoring a total of 24 points in losses to Marshall and UAB. The Bulldogs were able to bounce back in their finale as they ripped UTSA by a score of 41-27. Their offense got back on track in that game, but it faces a stiff test against a Miami team that had one of the better defenses in the nation.

The Bulldogs racked up 499 yards of total offense in the contest. J'mar Smith had a big game as he threw for 331 yards with three TDs and no INTs. He has now thrown for 2814 yards with 17 TDs and just four INTs on the year but will be facing a Miami team that is 22nd in the nation against the pass. Smith will need some help from his mediocre ground game but that will not be easy either as the Canes are 16th against the run. Leading their ground attack has been Justin Henderson, who has run for 967 yards and 15 TDs on the year. He had 105 yards but no TDs in the win over the Roadrunners.

The Bulldog defense has not been great overall this year but it has a chance at a good showing against a Miami team that has not looked great on offense so far. The pass defense has been an issue for the Bulldogs and they allowed the Roadrunners to throw for 280 yards in that game. That could be a problem here as the Canes are 42nd in passing. The Bulldogs could face a lot of passing in this game as they have been decent against the run and the Canes are 1220th in rushing. The Bulldogs have won their last five bowl games in a row and they are 7-3-1 all-time in bowl games. Can they keep their streak going? Keep reading to find out.

Seasonal Stats & Rankings: The Bulldogs come in ranked 30th in the nation in total offense at 445.2 ypg, 31st in passing at 277.3 ypg, 60th in rushing at 167.9ypg and 29th in scoring, putting up 34.0 ppg. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs are ranked 70th in total yards allowed at 393.4 ypg, 98th against the pass at 247.8 ypg, 54th against the run at 145.7 ypg, and 44th in points allowed, giving up just 23.7 ppg.

The Canes Did Not Finish Strong

The Miami Hurricanes went 6-6 on the year but they did not close out the regular season on a high note as they lost their final two games. Miami lost at Florida International but a score of 31-24 and then followed that up with a 27-17 loss to Duke. Miami went just 4-6 in their last 10 games and they have just one win over a Division One team by more than 17 points. Three of their Division One wins have been by eight points or less while five of their six losses have been by seven points or less. That means that eight of their 11 games against division one teams have been decided by one score. Could this one as well? You'll have to keep reading to find out.

One game that was not decided by one score was their finale against Duke as the Canes lost that game by 10 points. The offense has been inconsistent all year long and they had just 17 points on 259 yards of total offense. That will not get it done. Jarren Williams hit just 11 of his 26 pass attempts for 142 yards and a TD with no INTs. Definitely not his best effort, but he will be facing a Bulldogs defense that has struggled against the pass this year. Williams has hit 62.7% of his passes for 2903 yards with 19 TDs and just six INTs on the year. Williams could use help for their ground game, but that won't happen as they have one of the worst rushing attacks in the nation. Deejay Dallas leads the team in rushing with 694 yards and eight TDs. However, Dallas suffered an elbow injury in the loss against FIU and is out for the year.

The defense for Miami has been solid for most of the year but it did wear down a bit near the close of the season. Miami allowed 360 ypg and 28.0 pg over their last three games of the regular season. That is not good news as they are facing a solid offensive team in this one. Let's talk kicking game for a moment. The Canes are 112th in the nation in FG% at 60% and the Bulldogs are 26th in FG% against at 65.0%. On the flip side, the Canes are 100th in FG% against at 81% and the Bulldogs are 25th in FG% at 83.3%. That gives the edge to the Bulldogs in the kicking game. Will it be enough to upset Miami? We shall see.

Seasonal Stats & Rankings: The Hurricanes come in ranked 89th in the nation in total offense at 379.7 ypg, 42nd in passing at 257.2 ypg, 120th in rushing at 122.5 ypg and 73rd in scoring, putting up 27.8 ppg. On the defensive side of the ball, Miami is ranked 13th in total yards allowed at 307.8 ypg, 22nd against the pass at 197.9 ypg, 16th against the run at 109.8 ypg, and 25th in points allowed, giving up just 20.8 ppg.

Update: DL Jonathan Garvin (5 sacks) and DE Trevon Hill (4.5) sacks will miss this bowl game due to the draft. Both are sitting this one out.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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I am rolling with the Bulldogs to not only cover the spread but I feel they can win the game outright. Louisiana Tech has won their last five bowl games in a row while the Canes have lost eight of their last nine bowl games outright. The Bulldogs are from Conference U.S.A. and they have a shot at knocking off a team from the ACC. That will give Louisiana Tech much more motivation in this one. They have an edge on offense and while the Canes have the edge on defense, we do note that they struggled on that side of the ball down the stretch. I don't normally talk kicking game, but as you can see in the Miami portion above, the Bulldogs have a massive edge in the field goal game. I feel it will be the kicking game for the Bulldogs that is the difference in this one. Lastly, the Hurricanes are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 bowl games while the Bulldogs are 6-1 ATS in their last seven bowl games. Take La Tech in this one and sprinkle a little something on the money line as well.

Prediction: Louisiana Tech +6.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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I love the Under in this one. I expect the game to be close throughout and come down to a field goal in the end. in fact, we should see more field goals than TDs in this contest. The Canes have struggled on offense all season long and I don't see that changing here even though the Bulldogs have struggled on defense. Miami has not been able to run the ball all that well but they will need to here to loosen up the Bulldog defense. Miami will hit some nice plays down the field but they will bog down in the red zone. Miami is 111th in the nation in red zone scoring at 73.9% while the Bulldogs are 4th in the nation in red zone defense allowing teams to convert on just 62.5% of their chances. The Bulldogs have been strong on offense this year, but Miami still has a solid defense that allowed just 20.8 ppg on the season. Look for both defenses to have a good showing in this one as we see no more than 42 points scored. Lastly, the Under is 8-1 in Louisiana Tech's last nine games following an ATS loss and 13-3 in Miami's last 16 neutral site games.

Prediction: Under 50
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Written By David Hess

David has always had a fascination with numbers and sports, so he combined the two to become a handicapper and a writer for us here at Winners & Whiners, along with StatSalt. All the information that David puts in his articles are well-researched and his predictions are well-thought out. He is a big fan of all the major pro sports and the colleges making David a very versatile and a constantly winning handicapper. David has been writing for the past 10 years and has been handicapping for over 20 years. He will help you beat the Man, so be sure and follow along.