Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST
Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl
Thursday, Dec. 20 - Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Marshall -3½ -105 over SOUTH FLORIDA
8:00 PM EST. The Bulls started out with a 7-0 record and finished with a 7-5 record and although this game is in USF’s backyard, that’s probably not a good thing for a team this sloppy. It's certainly hard to call the Bulls a good team. South Florida is certainly an undisciplined one, as Charlie Strong's first edition finished ahead of only Oregon in both penalties and penalty yardage last year, and once again ranked outside the top 100 this season.The defense is less than the sum of its parts, while the offense has little consistency and rarely musters a drive without benefit of explosive plays, which are about the only strength this team can really hang its hat on. Transfer quarterback Blake Barnett has been a quality addition, but he joined a unit with little existing leadership, and his off-field burden has been pretty heavy for a first-year player. South Florida's 5-0 start was forged against a very soft schedule that saw the Bulls outgained by more than 100 yards twice.
South Florida's first five wins came against an FCS team and four programs that combined have won less than a third of their FBS games since the start of last year. Its last two wins came against UConn (38-30) and Against Tulsa, 25-24 in a game they had no business winning. This outfit is basically what it was last season: a poorly coached house of cards that's bailed out by some explosive playmakers. The difference between this year's team and the 2017 group is that the latter featured a truly generational athlete in record-setting quarterback Quinton Flowers, while the current roster has standard quality Florida talent. That's good, but not good enough for another bailout here.
The Herd have a significant advantage on defense and is a legitimate 8-4 team while USF, which enters this game at 7-5, could easily be 5-7 or 4-8. The Bulls trailed by two scores in the fourth quarter against both Illinois and Tulsa, had a 24-9 first-quarter deficit in a win over East Carolina and were outgained by 172 yards but still managed to beat Georgia Tech. Marshall coach Doc Holliday is 5-0 straight up and against the spread in bowl games, covering by 10.4 points per game and Marshall has the stronger team by a wide margin.
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Marshall -3½ -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)