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Jimmy Boyd of Boyd's Bets
Middle Tennessee +4
While not my favorite play on Saturday, I see a ton of value with Middle Tennessee as dogs against Arkansas State in the Camellia Bowl. The Blue Raiders really came up short on expectations this year. A lot of people thought this team would win C-USA coming off an 8-5 season with star QB Brett Stockstill coming back. They went just 6-6 and finished a mere 4-4 in league play.
A big reason for their struggles was Stockstill suffered an injury in their 2nd game at Syracuse (won 30-23) and missed 6 games. By the time he returned they were just 3-5. He returned to the lineup and they went 3-1 to close out the season with the only loss coming in triple-overtime at WKU. In just 6 games, Stockstill threw for 14 TDs, including 7 in his last 3 games (also averaged 272 passing yards/game during this stretch).
Arkansas State finished 3rd in the Sun Belt at 6-2, but a big part of that is they didn't have to play Appalachian St (T-1st) and Georgia State (4th). They did play Troy (T-1st), but lost to them at home. This team gets a lot of love cause they can move the ball and score points. They were 11th in the country in total offense at 498.4 ypg and 15th in scoring at 38.5 ppg - clearly a good offensive team, but I think a big reason they are ranked so high is the schedule they have played.
They did play Nebraska close in their opener, but that turned out to be a bad Cornhuskers team and they likely caught them a bit off guard. The game I think that says a lot about this team is their contest at SMU, which they lost 21-44. I think Stockstill torches this defense and the Red Wolves struggle to keep pace against a legit defense. Note that the Blue Raiders ranked 30th in total defense, giving up only 349 ypg. Take Middle Tennessee!
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