Miami vs. Louisiana Tech Odds, Picks, Betting Predictions: Are Hurricanes Motivated for Independence Bowl?

Miami vs. Louisiana Tech Odds, Picks, Betting Predictions: Are Hurricanes Motivated for Independence Bowl? article feature image

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mark Pope

  • Miami is a 7-point betting favorite over Louisiana Tech in the latest 2019 Independence Bowl odds. The over/under has also dropped from 50 to 48.5.
  • The Hurricanes will be without several key defensive players, while La. Tech is missing star cornerback Amik Robertson.
  • See our experts' picks and predictions for Miami vs. Louisiana Tech below.

Miami vs. Louisiana Tech Odds

  • Odds: Miami -7
  • Over/Under: 48.5
  • Time: Thursday, 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN
  • Location: Shreveport, La.

Miami began the season with a close lose to Florida in Week 0 on national TV. Freshman quarterback Jarren Williams showed flashes. Things were looking up for first-year coach Manny Diaz.

Fast forward almost exactly four months and the Hurricanes find themselves the last place most Power 5 schools want to be — Shreveport on the day after Christmas.

Miami will take on Louisiana Tech, which ran through one of the easiest schedules in the country before dropping two games late in the season without its starting quarterback and star receiver because of suspension. Both will return on Thursday.

The Bulldogs will also be without star corner Amik Robertson, who will sit out in prep for the NFL Draft.

So will Miami’s talent or perceived motivation for Louisiana Tech win out in the Independence Bowl? Let’s dive in.

Odds as of Thursday afternoon and via DraftKings, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

Independence Bowl Line Movement

Action on the Independence Bowl has been one-sided from the start. Louisiana Tech opened at +10.5 right after bowls were announced, and was immediately bet down to +7 behind two thirds of the bets.

Money slowly flowed in on the Bulldogs after that to push it down to -6.5 and -6, but it’s mostly stayed in that range and even creeped back up to -7 at some books. — Steve Petrella

Why Has the Line Moved So Much?

There are plenty of reasons for the steam against the Hurricanes and the big line move to -6 — location, injuries and players sitting out, and end of the year form.

Miami had plenty of issues down the stretch of the regular season with embarrassing losses to Duke and Florida International. Fans began questioning coach Manny Diaz and the program’s direction.

Injuries contributed to those losses, with two running backs and a veteran offensive lineman (who won’t be available on Thursday) going down.

The NFL draft and subsequent sit out announcements always affect Miami this time of year. Defensive stars Trevon Hill, Michael Pinckney and Jonathan Garvin will not play.

The Hurricane players and families will be spending their Christmas in Shreveport — a far cry from the Orange Bowl and Pinstripe Bowl in recent years. Manny Diaz is expected to name the starter on Christmas Eve using “behavior off the field” as a determining factor. Expect every Hurricanes quarterback to get a chance until Diaz finds the hot hand.

But despite injuries and players sitting out, this is still a Miami team that has finished top four in ACC recruiting every year since 2016.

Diaz has mentioned numerous players that are eligible to play without burning a red shirt. There’s still lots of talent on this roster. — Collin Wilson

Miami Offense, Still Not Great

The steam on Louisiana Tech was swift and sharp. Power rating Miami with so many departures, an open quarterback competition and motivation for a post-Christmas game against a Group of Five is tricky.

One thing we can depend on is defense. Miami is loaded with blue chip talent on the defensive side of the ball.

Considering Miami’s offense is…

  • 129th in third down conversions
  • 91st in rush explosiveness
  • 119th in havoc allowed

…It is safe to assume the Hurricanes will struggle for points. The Hurricane players and families will be spending their Christmas in Shreveport, a far cry from the Orange Bowl and Pinstripe Bowl in recent years for the fans.

This will be the first kickoff after Christmas day, and I will be looking to take a first half and full game under. — Collin Wilson

Pick: First Half Under 24.5, Miami -6

Stuckey: Defenses Match Up Well

As Collin mentioned, Miami has quite a few key contributors out on both sides of the ball (star wide receiver Jeff Thomas also won’t play).

Miami still hasn’t named a starting quarterback as of Wednesday afternoon with three guys in the running — N’Kosi Perry, Jarren Williams and Tate Martell, the Ohio State transfer who hasn’t taken a snap yet. That said, this is still Miami, where the backups are generally highly recruited kids, so the drop off shouldn’t be that steep and the extra preparation time should only benefit some of the fill-ins.

All of the intangibles do favor Louisiana Tech as far as location and motivation, but I couldn’t recommend playing LT at anything below +7 based on where I have these two teams rated. There is enough there to keep me off of the Miami side (at least pregame) but I do fancy the under a little bit.

Even with a few key players missing along the front seven, Miami’s defense should have the upper hand in the trenches. The Hurricanes do give up their fair share of explosive plays with their aggressive style but that’s not something the Louisiana Tech offense can exploit.

On the other side of the ball, Bob Diaco’s 3-3-5 defense for La. Tech excels at taking away the big play, ranking 26th and second in defending rush and pass explosiveness, respectively. That’s ideal against a rather inefficient Miami offense that relies on the big play.

And from a pace perspective, Miami plays pretty slow on offense while LT is about average.

Special teams is also worth mentioning here. Miami has struggled immensely in the field goal department all season which could come into play.

However, the Hurricanes will have a sizable advantage when it comes to punting. The U ranked in the top 25 in both punting and punt return efficiency while Louisiana Tech ranked outside the top 100 in both. That could give Miami an important edge when it comes to field position. — Stuckey

Pick: Under 50

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