Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 4:00 PM EST
DXL Frisco Bowl
Wednesday, Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas
Ohio -2½ -106 over San Diego St
8:00 PM EST. It's the first meeting between these two schools, but there are similarities these programs share. The matchup pits two of the most consistent Group of 5 powers, led by two of the sport's three oldest coaches -- both of whom carry impressive defensive backgrounds and potential Hall of Fame credentials. Rocky Long has had eight winning seasons in eight years at San Diego State, while Frank Solich hasn't had a losing season at Ohio in more than a decade. Yet despite their success, both have struggled in bowls -- Long with a 4-8 record, and Solich clocking in at 5-9. This year Solich has the advantage, mainly because his Bobcats are a more mature team with much better leadership and chemistry. San Diego State ended the season by losing four of its last five games straight up and six of its last seven games against the spread. The Aztecs lost their identity in the process, and reestablishing themselves as a tough, physical running team is priority one in bowl practices. San Diego State barely averaged four yards per carry this season, failed to produce a 1,000-yard rusher for the first time since 2009 and generally lacked firepower on an offense that ranks as Long's worst yet.
That's in contrast to the Ohio offense, which is an upperclassman-dominated unit that's the best one Solich has had in 14 years in Athens. This is a run-first attack, as usual, but quarterback Nathan Rourke's rushing production and the rare explosiveness that Papi White brings at wideout help this group make big plays and finish drives. That's two things the SDSU offense has struggled with, and the respective national ranks of 13th and 11th in red zone touchdown percentage and third and 67th in rushes over 10 yards really highlight the difference in firepower between the Bobcats and Aztecs. The cold weather expected for this one also helps the favorite. The MAC has been disrespected all season while SDSU resides in the more “market credible” Mountain West, where it is has collided with Boise St, Fresno State, Air Force and Utah State among others. As a result, we get this superior favorite at a truly deflated cost and that’s our prompt to move in.
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Ohio -2½ -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)