Lay The Points With ODU In Bahamas Bowl Vs. Eastern Michigan

old dominion football

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, December 13, 2016 7:08 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016 7:08 PM UTC

Surprising Eastern Michigan squares off with Old Dominion in the Bahamas Bowl at Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau on Dec. 23 (1 p.m. ET). It’s the third year in a row the two will play. Get our expert college football free pick and preview here.

Eastern Michigan Eagles (7-5 SU, 9-3 ATS)

Its been a remarkable turnaround for Mid-American Conference school Eastern Michigan. Head coach Chris Creighton led the Eagles to seven victories for the first time since 1989. The program won as many this year as in the last four years combined. A victory in the Bahamas Bowl would give the Eagles only their third 8-win season or better in school history.

How did Eastern Michigan do it? With a relentless aerial assault. Led by junior quarterback Brogan Roback, the offense threw the ball 40.7 times per game for 304.6 yards on average, 13th and 15th most in the country. Roback, who missed the first two games of the year due to suspension, was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He has tossed 16 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and 2,394 yards in completing 193 of 326 passes.

The O-line has done its part as well, holding opponents to a sack on just 2.8 percent of dropbacks, sixth best in the FBS. The defense is where the Eagles unravel. It allows an above average 456.4 yards per game. The secondary is the weakest link, yielding an inefficient 7.6 yards per opponent passing attempt.


Old Dominion Monarchs (9-3 SU, 8-3-1 ATS)

ODU, of Conference USA, took care of business this season, winning every game in which it was favored in the betting market. It did so in style, too, going 8-0-1 ATS on college football odds when chalk. The Monarchs beat the number by 10.2 points per game in this spot.

The offense is productive and efficient, equally effective through the air and on the ground. Overall, the Monarchs generated .494 points per play, 20th best nationally. Against FBS foes, it also ranked in the top 40 for yards per rushing attempt (5.1) and passing (8.0).

Where the team shines is in the turnover department. Although it takes the ball away an average of 1.6 times per game, ODU is one of the nation’s stingiest. It coughed up the ball just 9 times all year, tied for second fewest in the country.


Final Analysis

Historically, C-USA teams own a 4.9-point average margin of victory on college football picks over the MAC. The Monarchs went 7-1 in conference play, while the Eagles posted a 4-4 record; that tells you something about the quality of each team versus their division peers.

ODU also presents a matchup problem for Eastern Michigan’s aerial attack. The Eagles picked up four wins in four contests facing off against defenses allowing 7.7 yards or more per passing attempt. They average 35.0 points per game in this situation.  Against all others, they went 2-5, scoring just 23.4 points per game. ODU allowed a respectable 7.1 yards per passing attempt. The Monarchs, who have beaten EMU the past two years, win by a touchdown or more.

NCAAF Free Pick: Old Dominion -4Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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