Louisiana Tech (9-3) is going for a school-record 10th victory of the season as they also look to extend their bowl winning streak to six straight. The Bulldogs will be staying very close to home for this postseason appearance after traveling halfway across the globe last year in a 31-14 win over Hawai’i in the Hawai’i Bowl. Quarterback J’Mar Smith will be playing in his final game for Louisiana Tech. The senior has put together a stellar campaign with a career-high 17 touchdown passes and just four interceptions. Smith is coming off one of his best games of the season, throwing for 331 yards and scoring four combined touchdowns in a 41-27 win over UTSA back on November 30.
Miami (6-6) is fortunate to be bowl eligible after losing two straight games to close the season. The most embarrassing setback was a 30-24 loss against local rival and non-power 5 school FIU. The Hurricanes closed the season with a 27-17 loss against ACC foe Duke. Miami has also not fared well in the postseason of late, going 1-8 in their last nine bowl appearances, including a 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in last year’s Pinstripe Bowl. The Hurricanes defense has been a stellar unit this season, ranking fourth in the nation with 8.6 tackles for loss per game and sixth with 3.6 sacks per game.
ESPN’s FPI gives Miami a 72.1% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Thursday’s Independence Bowl between the Bulldogs and Hurricanes.
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Louisiana Tech vs. Miami Game Details
Date: Thursday, December 26
Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
Location: Independence Stadium (Shreveport, Louisiana)
Spread: Miami -6
This line opened at Miami -10.5 and has been bet all the way down to Miami -6 with the majority of the bets and money coming in on Louisiana Tech. This line is correlated to the action and is moving with the market.
- Louisiana Tech is 9-3 SU and 7-5 ATS this season
- Miami is 6-6 SU and 6-6 ATS this season
- Over is 6-6 in Louisiana Tech games this season
- Over is 6-5-1 in Miami games this season
Analysis & Pick
Motivation is a big question for Miami in this game. How fired up are the Hurricanes going to be playing in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana on the day after Christmas? My guess is not very. The Canes are also banged up in the backfield and will be without leading rusher DeeJay Dallas due to injury. That’s a problem for Miami, whose ground game is already among the worst in the country and ranks dead last in the ACC averaging just 116.5 rushing yards per game. Quarterback is another position of concern for the Canes, who will likely start freshman Jarren Williams despite his three-interception performance in the loss against FIU. Other depth issues for Miami include senior linebacker Michael Pinckney and senior defensive end Trevon Hill who are both skipping the game to protect themselves from injury before the NFL draft. Also, junior defensive end Jonathan Garvin and wide receiver Jeff Thomas, plan on forgoing their senior seasons to go pro. Meanwhile, Louisiana Tech will be without star cornerback Amik Robertson, who announced he will also skip his senior season to make the jump in the NFL and will not play in the bowl game. While that loss hurts for the Bulldogs, they have plenty of other things trending in their favor for this matchup, and I think they not only cover but win outright over the Hurricanes.
PICK: Louisiana Tech +6
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith