CFB Friday and the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will take on the Illinois fighting Illini in the Heart of Texas Bowl in Dallas, Texas. The game has a start time of 1:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN. Current Vegas odds have the Bulldogs listed as 7 point favorites, while the total is set at 56.5.
Analysis: The Illinois Fighting Illini won their last 2 games of the year over Penn State and Northwestern to put their record at 6-6 on the year, which was enough to get them a bowl invite. The Illini are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. CUSA, but just 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games following a ATS win. Illinois was not a very good offensive team this year, ranking 105th in total offense, 52nd in passing, 114th in rushing and 83rd in scoring (26.6 ppg). The Illini defense has not been good either, ranking 115th in yards allowed, 45th vs the pass, 123rd vs the run and 108th in points allowed (33.9 ppg).
Louisiana Tech fished up their regular season on a down note as they lost to Marshall by a score of 26-23 in the Conference USA Title game. Still they had a nice year going 8-5 overall. The Bulldogs are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in December, but just 4-9 ATS in their last 13 non-conference games. LA Tech has been a solid offensive squad this year, ranking 65th in total yards, 44th in passing, 82nd in rushing and 13th in scoring (37.5 ppg). The defense for this team has been decent, ranking 32nd in yards allowed, 84th vs the pass, 16th vs the run and 54th in points allowed (25.2 ppg).
Pick: I am going to look at the Over in this game. The Illinois offense is not great, but they will be taking on a La Tech defense that is missing their top 2 LB and that have allowed 29.3 ppg away from the home. The Illinois defense has been very bad away from home, where they have allowed 500 ypg and 43 ppg. This is not a good defense and they will be taking on a Louisiana Tech offense that has been very strong down the stretch this year, averaging 42.3 ppg in their last 8 games. Both teams should be able to move the ball rather easily on these defenses and put at least 60 points on the board.
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