2019 New Orleans Bowl Odds, Betting Pick and Prediction: Appalachian State Historic Favorite vs. UAB
Jeremy Brevard, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Tyler Bird
- The latest odds for Appalachian State vs. UAB in the 2019 New Orleans Bowl list the Mountaineers as 17-point favorite.
- App State is getting more public support than almost any bowl team in history, according to our public betting data.
- See our experts' New Orleans Bowl picks below.
New Orleans Bowl Odds: UAB vs. Appalachian State
- Odds: Appalachian State -16.5
- Over/Under: 47.5
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 21
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: New Orleans
Saturday’s six-game bowl slate concludes with UAB vs. Appalachian State.
The Mountaineers have been a terrific postseason team, winning the first two Sun Belt Conference Championship Games to go along with a 4-0 record in bowl games. Appalachian State will be coached by Shawn Clark, who takes over for the Missouri-bound Eli Drinkwitz.
Even with the coaching change, Appalachian State is the biggest favorite on Saturday’s card. In fact, the Mountaineers are one of just four teams listed at -14 or longer this bowl season.
That may seem drastic given UAB’s record, but the Blazers have run lucky this season and were a bit of a paper tiger in Conference USA this season.
Will UAB keep this one close? Our experts share their thoughts:
UAB vs. Appalachian State Line Movement
The final matchup on Saturday’s bowl slate is also the one with the largest point spread (by far, I might add). Still, 74% of bettors have had no problem laying the points with App State, which opened as a 17.5-point favorite.
That number has come down through the somewhat key -17 as bigger bettors — evidenced by the evenly split money percentages — have taken a liking to UAB plus the points. The spread now sits at a consensus 16.5.
The total has also presented a clear opinion among bigger bettors, but hasn’t seen quite as significant line movement. Eighty percent of money on just 46% of bets have hit the under, but the number has dropped only slightly from 48 to 47.5. — Danny Donahue
Collin Wilson: Will This Get Out of Hand?
For the second season in a row the Appalachian State Mountaineers will play in the New Orleans Bowl under a debutante head coach. After leading the Mountaineers to their fourth consecutive Sun Belt title, Eli Drinkwitz will depart for Missouri in the offseason, leaving Shawn Clark to man the sidelines for App State on Saturday.
While my personal love for UAB has no boundaries, the Blazers were a bit of a box score fraud in 2019. They remind me of the 2017 Akron Zips, who were exposed in the MAC Championship Game and then the Boca Raton Bowl a few weeks later.
The Blazers did make it to the Conference USA Championship Game, but they were boat-raced by Florida Atlantic. Now, they will look to hand Appalachian State its first-ever loss in an FBS bowl game.
As the spread suggests, that will be a monumental task for UAB. Not only did Appalachian State win the Sun Belt, but the Mountaineers also collected impressive wins over South Carolina and North Carolina in 2019. Meanwhile, the Blazers needed plenty of luck to get through the 127th-ranked strength of schedule in college football.
Appalachian State has a terrific statistical profile and its only weakness on defense is preventing big plays on the ground. The Mountaineers rank 123rd against rushing explosiveness this season. That shouldn’t be a big deal in this matchup as UAB has one of the worst rushing attacks in the nation.
On the other side of ball, Appalachian State has the 17th-most explosive rushing attack in the country and should run all over the Blazers, who rank 128th in the same metric.
Our Action Network projections make this line Appalachian State -12.5, but there’s a clear path to a cover for the Mountaineers here. Since bettors don’t typically like backing interim coaches, I’m hoping the market continues to tick down before backing the Mountaineers.
Collin Wilson is 506-429-27 (54.1%) overall betting on college football as of Dec. 19. You can follow him in our free app.
Stuckey: Don’t Expect a Shootout
This UAB offense is ugly no matter how you slice it.
Spencer Brown had a disappointing year at running back in large part due to an atrocious offensive line. The Blazers also lack playmakers on the outside and quarterback Tyler Johnston has dealt with injuries all season.
Despite one of the easiest schedules in the country, UAB only averaged 5.5 yards per play (88th in country) and scored fewer than 24 points per game (100th). When the Blazers actually can move the ball, they do it very slowly (122nd in seconds per play) and then struggle to finish off drives with touchdowns.
Even if Johnston is fully healthy and can go, don’t expect this inefficient UAB offense to do much against a very solid Appalachian State defense that ranks in the top 25 in both passing and rushing success rate.
The Mountaineers are a little vulnerable in regards to giving up a few explosive plays but that is not the UAB offense at all. On the other side of the ball, the App State offense is a competent unit but it also doesn’t work too fast. The Mountaineers will get theirs, but the UAB defense is strong and will make them earn it.
Bottom line, I don’t see how UAB will move the ball on a consistent basis and how they will finish drives when they do. And the UAB defense can compete with App State;s offense to make sure this doesn’t get too out of hand. This one sets up for an Under at 47.5.
Stuckey is 528-487-30 (52%) overall betting on college football. You can follow him in our free app.