Tuesday Cheez-It Bowl College Football Odds & Picks for Oklahoma State vs. Miami (Dec. 29)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images. Pictured: Oklahoma State Cowboys cornerback Kris McCune (32).
- Oklahoma State Cowboys faces the Miami Hurricanes in the Cheez-It Bowl at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
- Both teams held top-15 rankings at one point in the season, so motivation for a bowl title could potentially come into question in this game.
- Darin Gardner breaks down the game and explains which team will be more focused in his betting analysis below.
Oklahoma State vs. Miami Odds
|Oklahoma State Odds||-1 [BET NOW]|
|Miami Odds||+1 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-115 / -105 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||60.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. ET|
I’m not sure any Cheez-It Bowl can top the 2018 matchup between TCU and California that finished 10-7 with nine total interceptions, but Oklahoma State and Miami are going to try.
Since each team ranked in the top 15 in the College Football Playoff rankings at one point, you have to figure that a spot in the Cheez-It Bowl is a little disappointing for both sides.
Miami finished the year 8-2, but its two losses came by a combined 61 points. On the other side, Oklahoma State rode its strong defense to a 7-3 finish despite an offense that really struggled to move the ball at some points.
Will the Hurricanes put up a strong bowl performance this year after getting blanked by Louisiana Tech in the Independence Bowl a season ago, or will Mike Gundy add another win to his 9-5 bowl record as a head coach?
Oklahoma State Cowboys
It’s not often that Oklahoma State’s defense outperforms the offense, but that was absolutely the case this season. The Cowboys only scored 30+ points in four of their 10 games this season and averaged less than 30 points per game for the first time since 2014.
Oklahoma State’s running game took a major step back this season. After running back Chuba Hubbard led the nation in yards in 2019, he finished 2020 with only 625 yards and five touchdowns on 4.7 yards per carry.
The offensive line did him no favors, as it ranked 94th in Line Yards. Hubbard opted out of the game to prepare for the draft, but this offense was unable to get anything going on the ground even with him in the lineup.
The ground attack as a whole ranked only 114th in Rushing Success Rate. A terrible running game didn’t keep Gundy from establishing the run, though. The Cowboys ranked 26th in rush play percentage, for some reason.
Oklahoma State disappointed through the air in quarterback Spencer Sanders’ second year as the starter. Sanders ranked 89th in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play at the position.
However, when Oklahoma State found success through the air, receiver Tylan Wallace was probably involved. He averaged 97.4 yards per game, which ranked fourth among Power Five receivers with at least as many games played. Wallace will likely be off to the NFL after this season, but it looks like he will be playing on Tuesday.
Oklahoma State returned a lot of production from 2019 on the defensive side of the ball, and that translated into a really solid unit. The Cowboys finished the season ranking 20th in EPA per play, 12th in Success Rate, and sixth in both available yards allowed and first down rate allowed.
Oklahoma State should have no trouble with Miami’s weak ground game. Its run defense ranked 30th in EPA per rush and 18th in Line Yards, and the Cowboys allowed only three of its 10 opponents to average more than five yards per rush.
The back end is where Oklahoma State really thrived on defense. The unit ranked fourth in the nation in Passing Success Rate allowed and 25th in EPA per pass. Miami’s D’Eriq King will be one of the best quarterbacks this defense has faced, however, so it will be interesting to see who wins that matchup.
King has proved to be incredibly valuable to a team that struggled at the quarterback position for so long. Despite a suspect offensive line and no real difference makers at the receiver position, King ranks seventh in Pro Football Focus grade among all Power-Five quarterbacks. He leads a passing offense that ranks 32nd in EPA per pass.
Behind King’s strong 2020 season, the offense as a whole ranks 37th in EPA per play, 23rd in points per drive, and 46th in explosive play rate. It also sits 11th in College Football Data’s explosiveness metric, which measures the average EPA on the offense’s successful plays.
This indicates that when Miami hits big plays, they’re often really big plays. However, its ability to consistently move the chains is concerning. The Canes rank only 70th in Success Rate and 87th in First Down Rate. Miami can hit big chunks just fine, but the offense can really sputter when those big plays aren’t there.
The offense would look a whole lot better if it were able to just find competent offensive line play.
Up front, Miami ranks 101st in Line Yards, 93rd in Stuff Rate, 98th in sack rate, and 109th in Havoc allowed. None of the starting offensive linemen have a PFF grade above 70. This really impacts the running game, as the Hurricanes rank only 84th in Rushing Success Rate.
Miami will be without its two best players due to opt-outs, so its defensive metrics don’t mean quite as much in this matchup.
The Hurricanes will be without edge rushers Jaelan Phillips and Quincy Roche, as both decided to declare for the NFL Draft. All those two did this year was combine for 12.5 sacks and 30 tackles for loss. Both players had very good PFF grades that were in the mid-80s, and the drop-off to the backups could be significant.
Miami’s top two remaining edge rushers in terms of snaps played own PFF grades of 63.7 and 59.4. Aside from Phillips and Roche, no Hurricane defender has more than three sacks on the season. Oklahoma State struggles with allowing sacks, but I’m not sure Miami can exploit that without its two best pass rushers.
Where Miami really struggled all year on defense is defending the run. It ranked 100th in EPA allowed per rush and 88th in Rushing Success Rate allowed.
Two of Miami’s starting linebackers have PFF run-defense grades in the 40s, and each player ranks in the bottom-10 among all ACC linebackers in that area. Because of this, Miami ranked 115th in second-level yards allowed. We know Oklahoma State is going to pound that rock no matter what, so will it be able to exploit Miami’s biggest weakness on defense?
Betting Analysis & Pick
I like the under here, but I need to see how it plays out with Miami missing such key pieces on defense.
If this game was played at full-strength on both sides, I would have it at 54.7. With key opt-outs and it being an insignificant bowl game, it’s impossible to know for sure who wants to be there.
I will likely be looking for a live under at some point depending on the game situation.
Pick: Wait for a live under or second-half under.