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NCAAF

Dec 26, 2018

Thursday's Bowl Tips

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Duke vs. Temple

Independence Bowl History

-- The Duke Blue Devils (7-5 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) from the Atlantic Coast Conference will square off against the Temple Owls (8-4 straight up, 8-4 against the spread) from the American Athletic Conference in the Walk-On's Independence Bowl.

-- Prior to the arrival of head coach David Cutcliffe the Blue Devils of Duke had appeared in just eight postseason games, going 3-5. Since the 2012 season, Duke has appeared in a bowl game in six of the past seven seasons, including victories in each of their past two appearances against Indiana in the Pinstripe Bowl in 2015, and Northern Illinois in the Quick Lane Bowl last season.

-- The Owls do not have an extensive bowl history, as this will be just their eighth-ever appearance in the postseason. Much of that success has been recently, as they appeared in only the Sugar Bowl (1934) with head coach Pop Warner and the Garden State Bowl (1979) prior to 2009. Since 2009 they're 2-3 in bowl games, winning last season's Gasparilla Bowl over Florida International.

-- Temple will be led by interim head coach Ed Foley, as Geoff Collins accepted the head coaching job at Georgia Tech. Oddly enough, Foley also was the interim when Matt Rhule bolted for Baylor and he will be the only head coach in Temple history to coach the team in two separate bowl games.

-- Duke fired out to a 4-0 SU start, covering their first three. That includes wins over bowl teams Army and Northwestern. They suffered a 31-14 loss against Virginia Tech on Sept. 29, and lost against Virginia at home on Oct. 20. They also fell at Pittsburgh, 54-45, on Oct. 27. Duke was outscored 82-13 in the final two games by Clemson and Wake Forest. The Blue Devils were a tough team to figure, as they went 4-1 SU/5-0 ATS in five games as an underdog, and 2-5 SU/1-6 ATS in seven games as a favorite. Bettors might be relieved to see Duke catching 3 1/2 from Temple in this one, as of Wednesday morning.

-- Temple suffered losses to FCS Villanova and Buffalo to start the season, and it looked like it might be a lost season under Collins. They bounced back with a 35-14 win at Maryland on Sept. 15, which perhaps saved their season, and they rattled off wins in five of the next six games. They secured bowl eligibility over Houston, 59-49, on the road Nov. 10, and closed out the season with three straight wins.

 -- Temple heads into this one ranked 50th in total yards (420.8 yards per game) while finishing 41st in passing yards (255.8 YPG). They also rolled up 35.6 points per game (PPG) to finished 23rd in the nation. Defensively, the Owls have it on lock down. They were 39th in total yards (356.7 YPG) while checking in seventh in the land against the pass (166.3 YPG). The Owls also finished 47th in the nation in points allowed (24.7 PPG).

-- Duke managed to finish 75th in total yards with 392.6 yards per game, and they were 66th in passing yards (229.6 YPG). Defensively the Blue Devils had some major issues, especially near the end of the season. They ranked 82nd in total yards allowed (419.4 YPG) and 116th in the nation with 222.3 yards per game allowed on the ground. The Blue Devils were also 70th in the country with 27.4 PPG allowed.

-- For Duke, QB Daniel Jones (lower body) is listed as questionable. He threw for 2,251 yards, 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions while also running for 325 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

-- For Temple, QB Anthony Russo (hand) is listed as probable. He managed to pass for 2,335 yards with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. RB Ryquell Armstead (ankle) is listed as questionable, while third-leading receiver Randle Jones (undisclosed) is also listed as questionable.

-- Temple has posted a 14-6 ATS mark over their past 20 games against winning teams while going 37-17 ATS in the past 54 overall.

-- Duke has covered in four straight bowl games while also posted a 4-0 ATS mark in the past four neutral-site appearances. They have covered seven of the past nine against teams with a winning record, too.

-- The 'under' has hit in five of the past six games in the month of December for Temple, although the over is 4-1 in their past five vs. ACC foes.

-- The 'over' has connected in five straight bowl games for Duke, while going a perfect 4-0 in their past four neutral-site affairs. The under is 4-0 in their past four against winning teams, however.

-- This is the first-ever meeting between the Blue Devils and the Owls.

-- Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

Miami-Florida vs. Wisconsin

Pinstripe Bowl History

-- In the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in New York the Miami Hurricanes (7-5 straight up, 5-7 against the spread) from the ACC will take on the Wisconsin Badgers (7-5 straight up, 3-9 against the spread) from the Big Ten. It's a rematch of last season's Orange Bowl when the Badgers pushed aside the Hurricanes 34-24.

-- The Hurricanes were once one of the most feared bowl opponents, and they went 7-1 SU in an eight-game stretch from 1996-2004. However, they're just 1-7 SU over their past eight bowl appearances, with a lone win in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28, 2016 against West Virginia.

-- The Badgers enter on a four-game bowl win streak, including last season's Orange Bowl and the Cotton Bowl in the season before. They also faced the Hurricanes in the Champs Sports Bowl back on Dec. 29, 2009, winning that one 20-14 in Orlando.

-- Miami had an up-and-down season. They lost a neutral-site game against LSU to start the season, but won five in a row from Sept. 8-Oct. 6. However, they dropped four in a row at Virginia, at Boston College, home to Duke and at Georgia Tech, slipping to 5-5 SU/3-7 ATS. However, the Canes enter this one on a two-game win streak, outscoring Virginia Tech and Pittsburgh by a 62-17 margin.

-- Wisconsin won four of their first five games, but they were just 1-4 ATS during the span. They struggled away from home, losing at Michigan, at Northwester and at Penn State. They ended up covering just three of their 12 games overall, including a 37-15 loss at home to Minnesota in the season finale.

-- The Badgers ranked 38th in total yards (437.0 YPG) while posted 268.4 yards per game on the ground to finish seventh in the nation. QB Alex Hornibrook (concussion) will be missing in this one due to injury. RB Jonathan Taylor is the one to watch, as they'll lean heavily upon him. He rushed for 1,989 yards (7.1 yards per carry) and 15 touchdowns.

-- The Hurricanes were outstanding on defense, ranking second in the nation in total yards allowed (268.1 YPG) while ranking first overall in passing yards allowed (140.8 YPG). They were also strong against the run, ranking 25th (127.2 YPG), so Taylor will have his work cut out. They also were 15th in the country with 18.2 PPG. On offense, Miami was just 92nd overall in total yards (374.6 YPG) and 109th in passing yards (177.2 YPG).

-- The Hurricanes are 2-5 ATS over the past seven games overall, while going 1-6 ATS across the past seven bowl appearances. They're also just 1-6 ATS in their past seven tries against teams with a winning overall record and 1-8 ATS in the past nine neutral-site affairs.

-- The Badgers are 1-4 ATS over their past five outings, while going 1-4 ATS in the past five against winning teams. They're also 3-8 ATS in the past 11 neutral-site battles.

-- The 'under' has cashed in four of Miami's past five bowl games, while going 5-0 in their past five against teams with a winning record. They're also 5-0-1 in the past six games overall, and 6-1 in their past seven games on a neutral-site field.

-- The under has hit in four of the past five for Wisconsin, while also going 4-1 in their past five neutral-site affairs.

-- Kickoff is slated for 5:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

Vanderbilt vs. Baylor

Texas Bowl History

-- The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl takes place at NRG Stadium in Houston, so the Baylor Bears (6-6 straight-up, 5-6-1 against the spread) of the Big 12 might have the advantage in terms of crowd support. They'll take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (6-6 straight up, 8-4 against the spread).

-- Baylor is searching for its first-ever three-game win streak in bowl games. They took care of Boise State at the 2016 Cactus Bowl in their most recent postseason appearance, 31-12. They're 4-2 SU over the past six bowl apperances. The Bears made one other appearance in the Texas Bowl back on 2010, but they were hammered 38-14 by Illinois in the first bowl under Art Briles.

-- Vanderbilt does not have an extensive bowl history, but they're a respectable 4-3-1 SU in their eight postseason appearances. They lost their last bowl game in 2016, falling 41-17 to N.C. State in the Independence Bowl. This is their first-ever appearance in the Texas Bowl.

-- The Bears won their first two games against Abilene Christian and Texas-San Antonio, and the over finished in both of those games and five of their first six overall. They fell against Duke for the second straight season, and were doubled up at Oklahoma 66-33 on Sept. 29. They lost four of five games from Oct. 13 to Nov. 17, although the four losses came against bowl teams. The lone win was a 35-31 victory against Oklahoma State as six-point 'dogs. They wrapped up bowl eligibility with a 35-24 win at Texas Tech on Nov. 24.

-- The Commodores opened with wins over Middle Tennessee and Nevada, but they suffered their first loss 22-17 at Notre Dame on Sept. 15. The 'Dores sat 3-5 SU/4-4 ATS after a loss at Kentucky on Oct. 20. However, the Commodores racked up a 36-29 overtime win against Ole Miss and a rare win over Tennessee, 38-13, to close out the season with bowl eligibility.

-- Baylor's offense was solid this season, as they posted 441.7 YPG to rank 34th in the country, and 22nd in passing yard per game (282.2 YPG). Their weak point was rushing the ball, posting just 159.5 YPG to finish 81st. Defensively the Bears were very subpar, ranking 77th in total yards (412.6 YPG) allowed, 79th in passing yards (237.6 YPG) allowed and 79th in rushing yards (175.0 YPG) allowed.

-- Baylor backup RB JaMycal Hasty (knee) is listed as questionable due to a knee. He ran for 376 yards (5.1 YPC) with three scores, while leading WR Jalen Hurd (knee), who posted 69 grabs, 946 yards and four touchdowns, is ruled out with a knee.

-- Vandy ranked 69th in total yards per game (397.8 YPG) while ending up 56th in the country in passing yards (240.2 YPG) They were also so-so in points scored, ranking 76th in the nation with 27.7 PPG. On defense, they ranked 83rd in total yards allowed (419.8 YPG) while finishing 88th against the run (187.2 YPG). The Commodores were able to be a bend-don't-break defense, giving up 25.1 PPG to finish 48th in the country.

-- Vanderbilt RB Ke'Shawn Vaughn (arm), the team's leading rusher, is listed as questionable with an arm injury. He was the team's most explosive offensive option with 1,001 rushing yards (7.0 YPC) and 10 scores on the ground while adding two more TDs through the air.

-- The Bears are 9-1 ATS in their past 10 games played in the month of December, but 0-5-1 ATS in the past six non-conference games while going 4-11-1 ATS in the past 16 following a straight-up win.

-- The Commodores have covered five in a row while going 5-1 ATS in the past six non-conference battles. They're also 4-0 ATS in their past four appearances on a fieldturf.

-- The under has cashed in four in a row for Baylor while going 7-1 in the past eight in the month of December. The over is 20-8 in their past 28 non-conference battles, however, and 10-4 in the past 14 neutral-site contests.

-- The over has hit in four straight bowl games for Vandy. However, the under is 4-1 in the past five overall, 7-1 in the past eight non-conference games and 8-3 across the past 11 fieldturf battles.

-- This is the first-ever meeting between Baylor and Vandy on the gridiron.

-- Kickoff is slated for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

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