Cure Bowl College Football Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina Over/Under
Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: CJ Marable.
- After a heartbreaking cancellation earlier in the season, we're finally going to see Coastal Carolina and Liberty battle this season, as the teams play each other in Saturday's Cure Bowl.
- There's only one loss between the programs this season — a Liberty defeat at the hands of NC State — so this game should be as entertaining as any bowl game played thus far.
- Darin Gardner broke down the Cure Bowl below and shared a betting pick based on his analysis.
Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina Odds
A lot of people were disappointed when Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina was canceled earlier in the season, but the football gods came through for us in bowl season.
Coastal’s Grayson McCall and Liberty’s Malik Willis have both been incredible this year, leading very efficient offenses. These two teams enter the Cure Bowl with only one loss between the two, which came against a Power Five opponent in NC State.
Coastal has passed every test so far this season, but Liberty should absolutely be one of its most challenging matchups of the year.
One thing that we can always say about Hugh Freeze: the man can coach an offense.
On the year, the Flames are running an offense that ranks 12th in the nation in Expected Points Added per play, 14th in Success Rate, and 12th in both available yards gained and First Down Rate. Only twice have they been held under 30 points.
What makes the offense go is the run game. Liberty runs the ball 59% of the time and ranks sixth in Expected Points Added per rush. It has three players, including quarterback Malik Willis, who have at least 500 rushing yards on the season. It also ranks third in explosive rush rate.
Willis is a real threat with both his legs and his arm. He ranks 10th in the country in EPA per play among quarterbacks and 21st nationally in Pro Football Focus grade. He’ll be the best quarterback Coastal Carolina has seen this season outside of BYU’s Zach Wilson.
Liberty has played a very soft schedule of opposing offenses. On the season, only three of Liberty’s 10 opponents rank in the top 100 in EPA per play. Those teams were Virginia Tech, a 3-7 Southern Miss team, and NC State with its backup quarterback. Its other seven games include two FCS teams and five teams that rank in the bottom-20 in EPA per play.
Based on its strength of schedule, Liberty’s defensive metrics are a little concerning. Despite playing so many incompetent offenses, the Flames’ defense ranks only 56th in EPA per play.
Liberty’s weakness on defense is defending the run. It ranks only 81st in Rushing Success Rate allowed. On the defensive line, it ranks 76th in Line Yards and 78th in Stuff Rate.
Coastal’s run game has given fits to almost everyone this year, and there’s a good chance that Liberty struggles with it as well.
Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Coastal is undefeated for good reason. It has yet to be held under five yards per play on offense in any of its 11 games this season, and its lowest point total was 23. It averages 37.5 points per game.
Digging a little deeper, the Chanticleers rank 10th in both EPA per play and Success Rate, eighth in points per drive, and sixth in Touchdown Rate. It has also been really effective in opponent territory, ranking fifth in Finishing Drives.
Coastal places a big emphasis on the running game and runs the ball at the eighth-highest rate in the country. It ranks 22nd in Rushing Success Rate and 32nd in explosive rush rate.
The threat of that run game really helps the Chanticleers when they decide to pass. Although they only pass the ball just over 35% of the time, they do rank sixth in EPA per throw. McCall also ranks sixth nationally in adjusted yards per attempt and fifth in PFF grade.
This offense is so tough to defend because it can beat its opponents in several different ways.
Coastal’s defense ranks only 68th in Success Rate allowed. However, it does rank in the top 10 in explosive play rate allowed. It allows teams to move the chains but does a good job keeping everything in front of it. Coastal defends the pass better than the run but still ranks only 51st in Passing Success Rate allowed.
Coastal’s defense is definitely vulnerable in the running game. It ranks 88th in EPA per rush and 75th in Rushing Success Rate. Its defensive line can get after the quarterback, but it struggles to get a push in the ground game. The Chanticleers’ front currently sits at 85th in Line Yards.
Coastal’s front seven should have its hands full against Liberty’s strong rushing attack.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I project this total at 66.8, so I do see value on the over here.
Betting on an over between two teams with a high rush rate always makes me nervous, but both teams are right near the national average in plays per game and can pick up yards in bunches.
Additionally, I don’t think either defense is well-equipped to make consistent stops against the opposing offense. Both offenses should keep on rolling in Orlando.
Pick: Over 59 (-110)