Independence Bowl Odds
The Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks (8-4, 6-2 Sun Belt) are set to do battle with the Ohio Bobcats (8-4, 4-4 MAC) in the 2012 AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl. You can watch this contest live on ESPN at 2:00 EST on Friday, December 28th. Taking a look at the bowl odds for this game, I find a line of Louisiana-Monroe -7 over Ohio and a total set of 60 points.
Why Louisiana-Monroe Covers
The Warhawks showed what they were capable of early in the season against BCS opponents. They stunned then-No. 8 Arkansas 34-31 on the road on September 8th. They validated that performance with close losses to Auburn and Baylor by a combined eight points in their next two games.
Junior quarterback Kolton Browning threw for 2,830 yards and 27 touchdowns with seven interceptions, while also rushing for 441 yards and seven scores. Browning suffered a foot injury against Louisiana-Lafayette on November 3rd and missed the next game at Arkansas State. The Warhawks dropped both contests, which proved to be their only losses in their final nine games. Browning is healthy and ready to go for this one.
Ohio has backed into its bowl game by losing four of its final five contests. Its 7-0 start is a distant memory because once the schedule got tougher, this team was exposed. The Bobcats were outscored 106-47 during a three-game losing streak to end the regular season with losses to Bowling Green, Ball State and Kent State.
The Bobcats are 1-7 against the spread in their last 8 games overall. Ohio is 11-30 against the spread in its last 41 games after scoring less than 20 points in its previous game. The Warhawks are 4-0 against the spread in their last 4 non-conference games. Louisiana-Monroe is 9-1 against the spread after 2 straight games with 40 or more pass attempts since 1992.
Why Ohio Covers
Following three straight losses, there’s no question that the Bobcats will be motivated to bounce back and end their season with a victory. The betting public is going to see their rough finish and not want anything to do with this team. That could provide some line value on the Bobcats as a touchdown underdog in this one.
Remember, this team made it to the MAC title game last year and returned 14 starters from that squad. They opened the season 7-0, which included an impressive win at Penn State. This team features two of the most underrated players in the country in running back Beau Blankenship and quarterback Tyler Tettleton.
Blankenship has rushed for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Tettleton has completed 62.0 percent of his passes for 2,513 yards with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions, while also rushing for 210 yards and four scores. These two lead a unit that ranks 41st in the country in total offense at 435.5 yards per game.
Look for Tettleton and Blankenship to have big days against a Louisiana-Monroe stop unit that ranks 73rd in the country in total defense, yielding an average of 407.3 yards per game. The Warhawks are 5-15 against the spread in their last 20 games after a win by 6 points or less. Louisiana-Monroe is 0-4 against the spread in its last 4 vs. MAC opponents.
I have selected Louisiana-Monroe to win this game. Be sure to check out this page to find the rest of my bowl predictions. Also check out who Jimmy Boyd, Brandon Lee, and Vegas Top Cappers have taken in the Independence Bowl.