Bahamas Bowl Update: ODU Remain Firm Favorites, While The Total Is Rising

Old Dominion Monarchs

Tuesday, December 20, 2016 6:02 PM GMT

ODU remains a firm favorite to upend Eastern Michigan in the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl just days before kickoff. Check out updated line movement for the matchup here, including some late action on the total which may hold some betting value considering the setting.
 

ODU and Eastern Michigan are basking in the warm sun of Paradise Island, as each team reached the Atlantis resort less than 24 hours ago ahead of their clash in the 3rd annual Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl. Jealous? Most would be, particularly from their hometowns. It dipped to 8 degrees in Ypsilanti, Michigan Tuesday morning and 31 in Norfolk, Virginia.

The game is a Cinderella matchup in a fantasy setting for the Conference-USA and MAC representatives. For the Eagles, it’s just their second-ever postseason game, last playing in the now defunct California Bowl in 1987. ODU, on the other hand, is a bowl-game novice. Traditionally a “basketball school,” it only established a football program in 2009, moving to the FBS level in 2014.

Line movement leading up to the fairy-tale meeting likes ODU in a shootout. The NCAAF odds opened the game a pick ‘em on Dec. 5. Within six hours, books adjusted the line to -4 in favor of the Monarchs. Eagles backers pushed the number to a field goal the next day, with the hook (-3.5) settling the spread for roughly the following week. The line inched back to -4 on Dec. 12, where it’s holding steadfast. The game total, meanwhile, opened at 64 points, It’s jumped to 65 in the last two days.

The over-under seems a tad light considering teams are averaging 43.3 points per game in the prior two Bahama Bowl contests. In 2014, Western Kentucky topped Central Michigan 49-48, while last year’s matchup witnessed a 45-31 rout by Western Michigan over Middle Tennessee.

Moreover, both teams roll out strong passing games. Eastern Michigan averaged 304.6 yards through the air against FBS foes, while ODU senior quarterback David Washington owns a 28:4 TD-to-INT ratio. The Monarchs are better balanced in attack, owning the top rushing offense in C-USA, but will likely look to exploit the Eagles 113th ranked passing defense.

The biggest factor bettors should consider is the weather conditions. Bowl officials and other coaches advised ODU head coach Bobby Wilder to prep for the humidity as much as anything in his first ever postseason tilt. These players haven’t suited up in a hot, humid setting like thus since September. Wilder, in fact, spent the last two weeks working on hydration with his players.

Defenses ultimately tire and experience muscle cramping in the steamy conditions, where humidity levels remain in the 70s constantly. Coupled with the pass-happy scenario, the OVER oozes value at a relatively low number. The total is barely above each team’s average on the year. ODU kicked off with a 58.9 over-under per game; 60.2 for Eastern Michigan. Our best bet, though, is the Monarchs -4. Read up on our game pick with betting analysis here.

NCAAF Free Pick: Old Dominion -4

Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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