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Predictions For Betting On Belk Bowl – Bearcats Try To Play Through Distractions In Belk Bowl

Posted by Blake Frazier on 12/10/2012 5:58:59 PM

The Cincinnati Bearcats have undergone a rough week. They lost their head coach to the Tennessee Volunteers. They got a new coach last Saturday and are swimming in confusion.

2012 Belk Bowl –
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Duke Blue Devils – Thursday, December 27    
Football betting line: Cincinnati -7.5

Why Cincinnati Will Win

No bet on sports is an absolute lock, but the Bearcats are going to have a pronounced edge in the trenches in this game. It’s an age old adage when talking about football: “If you can run the ball and stop the other team from running, you have a great chance at winning.”  Clearly Cincinnati's former coach, Butch Jones, took that to heart at Cincinnati this past season before moving to the University of Tennessee. 

In this day of college football, when you’re seeing 600-yard passing games, 300-yard receiving games, and six or seven touchdown passes within the same 60-minute contest, it’s refreshing to see a team built from the inside out on both sides of the ball.  The Bearcats are sturdy and strong. They possess one of the best running games in the Big East and the country.  They average 211.4 yards per game (good for 25th nationally), and they give up only 138 yards per game to their opponents (32nd in the nation). 

In a league like the Big East, it’s imperative to be adept at both.  When Cincinnati has the ball, the Bearcats go early and often to workhorse tailback George Winn (205 carries, 1,160 yards, and 11 touchdowns).  When the opposition has the ball, look out for UC's do-everything defender Greg Blair (115 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles).  The tackling machine has a nose for the ball, as well as big plays.  It’s not sexy football, but it’s solid, and has gotten the Bearcats to a bowl game in back to back seasons.

Why Duke Will Win

Even mma betting experts know that coaching changes bring about all sorts of distractions and potential landmines. Cincinnati is going to be a very distracted team entering this contest. The Bearcats didn't just witness Butch Jones move on to Tennessee. They witnessed him flirt with the University of Colorado and play a lot of mind games with both the press and the Colorado athletic department. Cincinnati's players might very well feel used and manipulated entering this game. Their new coach, Tommy Tuberville, is coming from a toxic situation at Texas Tech, where Tuberville slapped a graduate assistant in the head during a game this past regular season. Tuberville is on the downside of his career, and he's much older than Jones. Players probably won't feel very excited, and in bowl games, motivation is everything.

Speaking of motivation, Duke is going to be extremely happy to play in this game. The Blue Devils are making their first bowl appearance since 1994 and will find this experience to be very, very precious. Clearly, Duke will enjoy this event more than Cincinnati, and in bowls, that's more than half the battle.

Who Will Win

Don't assume that Cincinnati's strength and talent should win out here. Duke is going to play with a lot more passion and joy, and that will carry the Blue Devils not just to a win against the spread, but to an outright victory.

College Football Betting Pick: Duke

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