Blue Raiders & Red Wolves Stop Short of Total in Camellia Bowl

camellia bowl

Willie Bee

Thursday, December 7, 2017 2:47 PM GMT

Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017 2:47 PM GMT

A second bowl game matching up the Sun Belt against CUSA finds Arkansas State favored on the NCAA football odds against Middle Tennessee State in the Dec. 16 Camellia Bowl.

NCAAF Season Record: 41-48-6 (-8.30)

Free NCAAF Pick: Under 62½Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Middle Tennessee vs. Arkansas State

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: An early college bowl game pitting teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt who used to both reside in the same conference. If what I just described sounds like the New Orleans Bowl, you’re not seeing double since it’s a similar setup in the Camellia Bowl, where the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders meet the Arkansas State Red Wolves.

ESPN has the 8 PM (ET) on Dec. 16 at the 21,000 seat Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. Bookmaker is in line with the rest of the wagering outlets by making Arkansas State a 3½-point favorite, the total up to 62½ after first going out at 58.

Red Wolves Making 7th Straight Bowl Trip

Rick Stockstill is taking the Blue Raiders bowling for the third consecutive season and seventh time in his 12 years at the helm. Trouble is, they’ve often come up short in postseason appearances, dropping their last four bowl trips. Middle Tennessee State barely qualified this time, needing to win the season finale against Old Dominion and doing so behind its best offensive performance of the season with a 41-10 victory to cover a -12½ spread. The defense put up some dominating performances against the run along the way, one reason why the Blue Raiders cashed ‘under’ tickets in nine of their dozen games.

Arkansas State fell a game short of sharing the Sun Belt title, dropping a 32-25 decision in the season finale to Troy. The Red Wolves were slight home underdogs on the NCAA football odds and can look back at two big plays by the Trojans – a 100-yard interception return and 99-yard kickoff return – as reasons why they lost out despite amassing more than 600 yards of offense. This is their seventh consecutive bowl game, splitting the previous six both outright and against the spread.

Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

These schools first met a couple of times in the late 1940s, then another dozen times from 2001-12 as members of the Sun Belt Conference. Middle Tennessee owns a 9-5 overall advantage, but Arkansas State won the three most recent meetings (2010-12), covering the last two as double-digit chalk. The 45-0 whitewashing the Red Wolves put on the Blue Raiders in 2012 finished ‘under’ a 64½-point total to end a 3-game run for the ‘over.’

It’s virtually impossible to depend on a weather forecast this far in advance, but things look OK right now with temps in the mid-to-upper 40s most of the game under cloudy skies and only a slight breeze. Both of sides trended to the low side of totals during the season, and that’s they way I’m going with my free college football pick.

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