2010 Papa Johns Bowl Odds and Predictions
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 12/28/2009
As far as matchups go this is an interesting one. On Jan. 2 at 2 p.m. we have a Big East and SEC matchup in January. It won't be the cream of the conference crop but instead two very capable teams in Connecticut and South Carolina, a pair of 7-5 teams. The game will be played in Birmingham, Alabama. Under Steve Spurrier South Carolina is 1-2 in bowl games, including a 31-10 loss last year against Iowa. Connecticut is 2-1 in bowl games in program history, all under Randy Edsall.
Since this bowl's inception in 2006, the Big East is 3-0 but none of those wins have come against an SEC school.
There has been no team in the country that has played more motivated and inspired football than Connecticut. The Huskies have been playing with a purpose since the untimely murder of their starting safety Jasper Howard. They have played with passion all season long and after repeated heartbreaking losses, the Huskies turned things around with a program-changing 33-30 win at Notre Dame before winning out against Syracuse and South Florida.
The Gamecocks motivation could be questioned. They won an inspired rivalry game to close out the season, but you have to believe South Carolina had their sights set higher than the Papa Johns Bowl after a 5-1 start. However, a three-game losing streak in November changed the South Carolina bowl destination.
Connecticut has one of the more balanced offenses in the country. They can pass the ball (225 yards per game) and run it (173 yards per game). They are 21st in the nation in points scored per game (32). South Carolina's offense is hardly as balanced. They struggle mightily on the ground, rushing for only 125 yards per game (91st in the country). But they do pass the ball (44th in the country) and Connecticut has been gashed for 245 yards per game through the air (96th in the country).
Line Value and Papa Johns Bowl Odds
The Papa Johns Bowl odds are South Carolina -4.5 and the total has been set at 51.5. It is the second highest total of the year for both South Carolina and Connecticut. It is the sixth time Connecticut has been an underdog. In all six underdog situations the Huskies have covered. South Carolina has only been favored four times and in those situations they are 1-3 ATS. There is very little value in giving points with this South Carolina offense.
The Cardiac Huskies have been involved with seven games this season decided by less than four points. The spread is 4.5, there is tremendous value in getting those points.
Papa Johns Bowl Predictions
The SEC has the advantage in terms of conference but the motivation of Connecticut and their ability to thrive in the underdog role is the key here.
Take Connecticut and the points.
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