Thursday, December 26 features the resumption of the college football bowl season with the Independence Bowl and Quick Lane Bowl.
If you’re looking for tips on how to get involved with Thursday’s action, look no further. This betting guide will highlight the top matchups and provide our best analysis for the entire slate.
Don’t forget to follow the Heavy on Winners Facebook page for the top picks, latest odds, and more!
The Independence Bowl features Louisiana Tech and Miami as we get our second look at a Power Five vs. Group of Six bowl matchup. The Power Five is 1-0 in this matchup as Washington trounced Boise State 38-7 last Saturday in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Louisiana Tech vs. Miami (-6.5) | 4 p.m. | ESPN
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.
The Quick and the Dead
The Quick Lane Bowl features Pittsburgh laying nearly two touchdowns against Eastern Michigan. Pat Narduzzi is 0-3 all-time in bowl games. He most likely gets his first postseason win here, but don’t count out EMU.
Eastern Michigan vs. Pittsburgh (-13.5) | 8 p.m. | ESPN
Pittsburgh (7-5) is looking for its first bowl win under Pat Narduzzi, who is 0-3 in four seasons as head coach. Quarterback Kenny Pickett threw for 2,737 yards including four 300-yard games but led a Panthers offense that struggled to find the end zone. Pittsburgh is ranked 116th out of 130 FBS schools in scoring offense averaging a measly 20.7 points per game. Wide receiver Maurice Ffrench needs eight catches to reach Larry Fitzgerald’s school-record of 92 set in 2003. Ffrench leads the ACC and is 3rd nationally with 84 grabs this season. The Panthers defense ranks 31st nationally allowing just 21.8 points per game.
Eastern Michigan (6-6) is playing in its third bowl in the last four years. The Eagles lost a heartbreaker 23-21 in last year’s Camellia Bowl, as Georgia Southern kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired. This game will cap off a four-year run that has seen Eastern Michigan win 25 games, the most in a four-year span since the late ’80s. The Eagles have a Power Five conference victory under their belt this season, a 34-31 win at Illinois on September 14. Quarterback Mike Glass III will be playing in his final game. The senior has accounted for 3,203 yards of total offense this season with 29 touchdowns.
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith