Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:45 AM EST
Dollar General Bowl
Saturday, Dec. 22 - Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama
7:00 PM EST. Buffalo hasn't been bowling since 2013, which means this trip offers up a lot of firsts for fourth-year coach Lance Leipold and his players. Leipold (and much of his staff) came from Division III powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater, so these coaches have plenty of experience preparing for the postseason playoffs, but none for a bowl game.
The Bulls will be playing their fourth straight game away from home. That has taken a toll, as has the sting of blowing a 29-10 third-quarter lead en route to losing the MAC title game to Northern Illinois. The Bulls are now being asked to travel 1,152 miles while Troy is traveling just 167 miles -- essentially making this a Troy home game in Alabama. This Bulls’ team is finally beginning to heal and show some enthusiasm for the bowl game, but it certainly hasn't been dialed in on beating Troy the past two weeks.
By contrast, the Trojans are on familiar ground: back in a bowl they won in 2016, at a stadium barely two hours' drive from campus. Neal Brown's team has a good mental approach to this clash, and gets a big boost from the return of top senior wideouts Deondre Douglas and Damion Willis, who were felled by November injuries but now are healthy and ready to play. Troy is a Sun Belt team that finished up at 9-3 overall and that tied App State with a conference mark of 7-1. App State destroyed Mid-Tenn State in its bowl game a few days ago, thus Troy has some credentials.
Finally, the road favorite is the worst role for a team coming off a difficult loss. Quantifying this angle is difficult, as it depends on the input definition of "tough loss." But whether it's losing as a favorite, losing in the final seconds or losing a game after holding a double-digit fourth-quarter lead, no matter how the data is sliced, trust us when we say that road favorite is the worst role for such teams the next game out. Why that role? Any team that's still a dog despite being at home is probably perceived as inferior, so there's not enough fear or concern to instill urgency in preparation -- plus, there's no home crowd to spark the need for immediate atonement. Now trust us again when we say that no matter how you define it, Buffalo's meltdown versus NIU counts even though it’s been three weeks. Still, that’s a lot of digesting to do. On rare occasions, it works the other way, as the devastation fuels an inspired encore but the early signs don't suggest that here, and the Bulls therefore can’t be backed here without a quality read that they've defied convention this week. Again, we haven’t seen that.
Open an account today at and take advantage of their -104 style pricing on sides and totals, which is 60% better than other sportsbooks.
Troy +102 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.04)