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UTSA vs Troy Odds, Predictions: How to Bet Friday’s Cure Bowl

UTSA vs Troy Odds, Predictions: How to Bet Friday’s Cure Bowl article feature image
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Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images & Justin Ford/Getty Images. Pictured from left: UTSA Roadrunners wide receiver Zakhari Franklin (4) and Troy Trojans wide receiver Deshon Stoudemire (11).

UTSA vs Troy Odds

Friday, Dec. 16
3 p.m. ET
ESPN
UTSA Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3
-120
56.5
-110o / -110u
-155
Troy Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3
+100
56.5
-110o / -110u
+130
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Bowl season starts off hot with two of the best teams at the Group of Five level meeting in the Duluth Trading Cure Bowl.

Both UTSA and Troy finished the season as conference champions with an 11-2 record. The brawn of these teams come on different sides of the ball, with the Roadrunners having an elite offense and the Trojans riding a Havoc-minded defense.

Both teams finished hot down the stretch, with Troy covering every game away from home this season.

The Cure Bowl has existed since 2015, with a Sun Belt squad playing in every iteration. Weather will not be a factor, with rain forecasted in the Orlando area on the days before and after kickoff and temperatures nearing 70 degrees.

UTSA has yet to win a bowl game in three attempts throughout the history of the program. Head coach Jeff Traylor has lost the First Responder Bowl and Frisco Bowl over the past two seasons.

Troy is 5-3 all-time in bowl games, winning four straight since 2010. Head coach Jon Sumrall is in his first year as a head coach but has plenty of bowl experience as an assistant at Kentucky and Ole Miss.


UTSA Roadrunners

Roadrunner nation was energized by the announcement that quarterback Frank Harris will return for 2023.

The Texas native had his best season since committing to the program in the summer of 2016. Harris cut his turnover-worthy play rate nearly in half while posting 31 passing touchdowns to just seven interceptions.

The results were similar on the ground, cutting his fumbles in half while logging 63% of his rushing yards from scrambles. With 31 rushing attempts exceeding 10 yards, containing UTSA on third down can be an impossible task.

FRANK. HARRIS. IS. BACK!

"I just think it’s best for me to come back for one more season at UTSA and lead them into the AAC."

Can’t wait to see what this stud does in 2023… MEEP MEEP 🥶

pic.twitter.com/CqZdGMONht

— The Transfer Portal CFB (@TPortalCFB) December 7, 2022

Running back Brendan Brady is questionable for this game after leading the Roadrunners with 154 rushing attempts on the season. UTSA is blessed to have another option with more than 100 attempts in Kevorian Barnes, who averages 3.1 yards after contact and owns a higher elusiveness rating than Brady.

The issues for UTSA come on the defensive side of the ball.

Defensive coordinator Jess Loepp struggled to make the Roadrunners improve their tackling fundamentals. UTSA had consistent issues allowing explosive plays off missed tackles, ranking 124th in that area, per PFF. The defense finished in the bottom 15 of all FBS teams in defending the big play in standard and passing downs.

Despite the issues with taking down opponents, UTSA finished as one of the stingiest defenses in scoring opportunities. The Roadrunners allowed just 3.3 points to opponent drives that crossed the 40-yard line. UTSA finished the season 28th in red-zone defense, a change from midfield efficiency for the 3-4 defense.

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Troy Trojans

With a resume that includes a stint as a linebacker and assistant at Kentucky, Sumrall was prepared to transform this Trojans defense in his first head coaching position.

Troy turned into a nightmare for Sun Belt opponents, finishing the season top-10 in coverage grading. The Trojans stymied opposing offenses, finishing top-15 of all FBS teams in limiting ground and air explosives.

Linebacker Carlton Martial led the team in tackles and stops with the lowest missed tackle rate on the team, sliding into the Action Network All-American team.

CARLTON MARTIAL laying down the LAW! Massive hit causes the incompletion! pic.twitter.com/tWDdUOBpdS

— The Trojan Wall (@TrojanWallF5) October 2, 2021

Troy finished the season as the best defense in the nation in limiting standard downs explosiveness. Junior cornerback Reddy Steward finished with the third-highest mark nationally in forced incompletions, spending the majority of snaps lined up on the outside receiver.

While the defense was the primary driver for a conference championship, the offense had an awakening in the Sun Belt title game.

TROY!!! Gunnar Watson ➡️ Deshon Stoudemire 65 yards to the house!! #FunBeltChampionship pic.twitter.com/FJjv00Z5Dm

— 𝗙𝗢𝗟𝗟𝗢𝗪 @𝗙𝗧𝗕𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗱𝟳 (@FTBeard7) December 3, 2022

Quarterback Gunnar Watson had his best day of the season in the Sun Belt Championship, throwing three touchdowns with his highest average depth of target recorded of any game.

Slot receiver Tez Johnson leads the team in receptions and is the most flammable weapon in the passing game. At an average of 3.6 yards per route run, Johnson is the most explosive wide receiver in college football above Tennessee’s Jalin Hyatt and Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr.

A lack of a run game has stalled the offense in several games. The Trojans finished outside the top 100 in Rushing Success Rate and third-down conversions.

The offense consistently fell behind the chains and relied too heavily on big plays through the air. Those inefficiencies were never more present than in the red zone, where the Trojans finished outside the top 100 in touchdown rate.


UTSA vs Troy Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UTSA and Troy match up statistically:

UTSA Offense vs. Troy Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 45 66
Line Yards 15 66
Pass Success 3 45
Pass Blocking** 93 33
Havoc 18 73
Finishing Drives 15 17
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Troy Offense vs. UTSA Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 101 8
Line Yards 60 15
Pass Success 58 46
Pass Blocking** 74 52
Havoc 88 22
Finishing Drives 96 24
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 124 92
PFF Coverage 61 7
SP+ Special Teams 44 13
Seconds per Play 24.0 (25) 28.4 (104)
Rush Rate 52.6% (77) 54.7% (62)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

UTSA vs Troy Betting Pick

The Action Network projection makes this game between two conference champions a pick’em.

Neither team has significant drops in production due to injury. Troy should generate yards off explosive plays, a consistent issue for the Roadrunners defense.

From the advanced analytics, UTSA’s top-25 rank in defensive red zone efficiency will get stops against a Trojans offense that’s more comfortable scoring from midfield than from in close.

The showcase in this game is UTSA’s offense against Troy’s defense, with the Roadrunners having a hidden advantage in the rush game.

The Trojans have deleted every passing attack this season but struggled against dual-threat quarterbacks. LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Liberty’s Kaidon Salter dominated the Trojans defense with zone reads and quarterback keepers, a scheme Harris is expected to run frequently.

Look for Harris to shred the Troy front seven while avoiding Martial and Steward in the passing game.

Pick: UTSA +1.5 (Play to PK)

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