The college football bowl season officially gets underway at 2:00 PM Eastern Time in a very unlikely location–Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas. The Bahamas Bowl–known ‘officially’ as the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl–will feature the Charlotte 49ers who finished fourth in Conference USA East against the fourth place team from the Mid American Conference East, the Buffalo Bulls. What this game might lack in ‘marquee value’ it should make up for it in competitiveness both from a qualitative and tactical standpoint.
Charlotte had a strange season. They came stumbling out of the game in August, winning but failing to cover as a -31.5 favorite over lower division foe Gardner Webb in their opening game. They followed that up with a loss to Appalachian State and an easy win over Massachusetts who is very likely the worst team in the country. From that point they lost four straight both SU/ATS which put them at 2-5 SU in late October. They haven’t loss since then going 5-0 SU/4-1 ATS averaging 32.6 PPG during that run.
Buffalo followed an eerily similar trajectory losing 4 of their first 6 games SU before going 5-1 SU down the stretch. They were more competitive against the spread this season than Charlotte–after opening the year 0-3 against the number they came back to get the money in 7 of their last 9 games. The Bulls put up an average of 38.6 PPG in their final six games and were pretty solid on the defensive end particularly when stepping down in class. In their final six games they averaged 16.8 PPG against which included a couple of games where they allowed 30 points in each. Throw out these two games and they gave up a paltry 10.25 PPG in the remaining four contests.
Offensively, both teams run the football though they can pass the ball if the opportunity presents itself. of the two, Buffalo is probably the better balanced team with QB Kyle Vantrease at the helm. Then again, Charlotte’s QB Chris Reynolds isn’t too bad through the air either. The big difference is on the other side of the ball where Buffalo was pretty solid ranking #7 in total defense and #4 against the run. Charlotte was a mess defensively ranking #105 in scoring defense allowing 32.5 PPG and 38 PPG away from home. We’ll bet this one accordingly and look for the Bulls to do enough damage on offense to put this game ‘Over’ the total. Most of the early action came on the ‘Under’ which pushed the total from 56.5 down to the current price but now it looks like there’s value coming back the other way.