2014 Quick Lane Bowl Picks: Rutgers vs. North Carolina Odds and Expert Predictions
by Aaron Smith - 12/18/2014
The Quick Lane Bowl is one of three games that will take place the day after Christmas. This game will be played at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Does this bowl game not sound familiar to you? That's because this is the first year for the Quick Lane Bowl. It is essentially the de facto replacement for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and the Motor City Bowl that have taken place at Ford Field on the same date. It's important to note that unlike the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, which places the eighth place-Big Ten team against the MAC Champion, the teams competing in this game are now selected by conference representatives.
It's the Big Ten vs. the ACC in this one. Rutgers didn't have a lot of success inside the Big Ten in their first season in the league, but the Scarlet Knights were successful enough out of conference to get to a bowl game. North Carolina was viewed as a disappointment by many this year, but the Tar Heels will have a chance to finish on a strong note in a bowl game. Let's take a closer look at how the first Quick Lane Bowl will look.
Quick Lane Bowl: Rutgers vs. North Carolina Story Lines
Rutgers moving to the Big Ten was the biggest story line surrounding the team in the 2014 season. The Scarlet Knights went 3-5 in the conference, but they went 4-0 in the nonconference slate. Rutgers picked up an impressive road win at Washington State in the season opener to kick off the season in style. The team's win over Navy in the nonconference slate was also impressive. Inside the Big Ten, Rutgers biggest win was likely their home win over Michigan because of how much it meant to the program. Even though Michigan was down this year, beating a team with a storied history like that is big for a program like Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights also closed the season out strong. Rutgers trailed by 25 points against Maryland before mounting a tremendous comeback and winning 41-38 on the road. Before the season, Rutgers' win total was set at 4.5 wins by the oddsmakers, so regardless of what they do in this game, this team has outperformed expectations.
In the preseason, North Carolina was seen as a team that could compete with anyone outside of Florida State in the ACC. That didn't come to fruition because of the Tar Heels inconsistent play this year. There were times when North Carolina looked like a team that was extremely dangerous. Specifically, their close loss at Notre Dame as well as their nice home win over Georgia Tech. On the other hand, there were a lot of ugly performances. The Tar Heels 47-20 loss at Miami (a team that went 6-6) was an ugly one. Their 34-17 home loss to Virginia Tech (another team that went 6-6) was tough to take as well. The most puzzling loss of all this year though was North Carolina's 35-7 home loss to rival North Carolina State. The Tar Heels were a 6.5-point favorite in that game, but they didn't even score until the final two minutes of the game.
North Carolina's defense was the problem all year. The Tar Heels allowed a whopping 38.9 points per game, which was bad enough to rank in the Bottom 10 of all teams in college football. Vic Koenning was ousted as the team's defensive coordinator after the regular season, and no replacement has been named yet. This Tar Heels defense will finish the year as having given up more points than any other defense in school history. The only reason North Carolina is in this bowl game is the offense was very good with Marquise Williams leading the way. North Carolina averaged 34.2 points per game offensively. Rutgers was middle of the pack both on offense and defense. The Scarlet Knights were at their best when they were able to get the running game going and take some pressure off Gary Nova in the passing game.
Quick Lane Bowl: Rutgers vs. North Carolina Betting Odds and Trends
Bookmaker opened this game at North Carolina -3, and the line has stayed extremely steady at the Tar Heels -3. The posted total on this game opened at 65.5 at 5Dimes, but there has been some money come in on the 'over' in this game. The total currently sits at 66.5 points.
Rutgers is 6-1-1 against the spread in their last eight bowl games. The Scarlet Knights are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games following an ATS win. North Carolina is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall. The 'under' is 4-1 in Rutgers' last five bowl games. The under is also 4-1 in North Carolina's last five games overall. The over is 5-2 in North Carolina's last seven games at a neutral site.
2014 Quick Lane Bowl Picks: Rutgers vs. North Carolina Expert Betting Predictions
The Big Ten and the ACC were both bad conferences this year, so it's hard to trust either of these teams. I don't think there's any doubt that North Carolina is the more talented of the two teams, but it's also tough to gauge how motivated they'll be in this one. They had bigger aspirations for their season. Instead of going with a side, I like the over in this contest. The Tar Heels defense is miserable, and Rutgers' defense got worse as season moved along. Look for a high-scoring game here.
Doc's Sports is offering a great deal for new clients - you can get $60 worth of free college bowl game picks with no obligation. No credit card is needed, and you will never have to deal with a salesman. See what all the hype is about with $60 worth of free college football picks by clicking here . Also, get three handicappers for the price of one when you sign up for a full-season football package! Click Here for details.
Read more articles by Aaron Smith
Get all of this Weeks College Football Picks
Get all of this Weeks guaranteed Expert College Football Picks