2017 Bahamas Bowl Betting Preview: UAB vs. Ohio

2017 Bahamas Bowl Betting Preview: UAB vs. Ohio

Written by Jordan Walters on Wednesday,December 20, 2017 8:25, EDT

Let’s be honest here: How much do you think the players on either UAB or Ohio University care about playing football on Friday considering they are in the Bahamas Bowl? Get the game over with and head to the beach! Ohio is a College Football odds favorite in the only bowl that takes place outside the USA.

2017 Bahamas Bowl Betting Preview: UAB vs. Ohio

When: Friday, 12:30 PM ET
Where: Thomas Robinson Stadium, Nassau
TV: ESPN
Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: 100.5 FM (UAB) / 105.5 FM (Ohio)
Opening Bahamas Bowl Lines: Ohio -7.5 (58.5)

Weather Forecast

  • Clear: 27°C/81°F
  • Humidity: 62%
  • Precipitation: 5%
  • Wind: 7 mph E
  • Cloud Cover: 18%
  • Type of Stadium: N/A

Bowl History

The NCAA certified the Bahamas Bowl as part of five new bowl games to begin play after the 2014 regular season. The most memorable game was the first one featuring Western Kentucky and Central Michigan in the first FBS-level bowl game outside of the USA or Canada since 1937.

WKU built a 49-14 lead after three quarters, but CMU rallied with a 34-point fourth quarter, including a last-gasp, 75-yard, three-lateral pass play that resulted in a touchdown as time expired — a sequence that was named the top play of the 2014 bowl season by ESPN. A 2-point conversion pass by the Chippewas that would have won the game was broken up in the back of the end zone. The teams set FBS bowl records for most combined passing touchdowns (12) and combined passing yards (971).

Last year, Old Dominion beat Eastern Michigan in the game, 24-20. It’s the first trip to this bowl for UAB and Ohio. This will be the first meeting between UAB and Ohio. Conference USA leads the Bahamas Bowl series, 2-1 over the MAC.

Why Bet on UAB?

Who did a better coaching job in the country this year than UAB’s Bill Clark? In 2014, UAB president Ray Watts shuttered the football program citing budget constraints. The outcry was significant and immediate. So it was restored for this season with UAB raising $40 million.

Clark took essentially an expansion franchise to a second-place tie in Conference USA’s West Division and the program’s second bowl berth. The Blazers (8-4) were undefeated at home and led Conference USA in attendance. The Blazers drew a school-record crowd of 45,212 for the season-opener against Alabama A&M on Sept. 2. UAB has already set school records in 2017 for overall wins (8) and conference wins (6).

The Blazers average 29.6 points per game, and UAB has scored 30 or more points six times. UAB averaged 190.2 rushing yards per game, led by true freshman running back Spencer Brown, who broke the school record for freshman rushing yards with 1,292. Brown was named Conference USA Freshman of the Year and is 97 yards shy of the overall school record. Redshirt junior quarterback A.J. Erdely tied a school record with 13 rushing touchdowns, which is also the most by a Blazer QB, and he has accounted for 29 touchdowns (13 rushing, 16 passing).

UAB has 14 interceptions, including 10 in the last seven games, and have posted five multi-interception games. Redshirt senior cornerback Darious Williams has five interceptions and is second in FBS in passes defensed with 20 (1.7 per game).

Team Statistics

Offense:

  • Average Score For: 29.58
  • Total Yards: 364.67
  • Pass Yards: 174.42
  • Rush Yards: 190.25

Defense:

  • Average Score Against: 24.33
  • Total Yards: 357.83
  • Pass Yards: 188
  • Rush Yards: 169.83

Why Bet on Ohio?

Ohio missed out on the MAC championship game, losing its final two games of the regular season, so this team needs to respond in the bowl game to finish out the season strong.  Brown and the UAB offensive line will have their work cut out for them as Ohio boasts the nation’s 11th ranked rushing defense and allows just 111.4 yards per game.

The Bobcats average 38.9 points per game and set a school record with 467 points scored, and Ohio has scored 40 or more points in six games. Ohio has averaged 244.2 rushing yards per game behind redshirt junior running back A.J. Ouellette (980 yards) and sophomore quarterback Nathan Rourke (882 yards).

Is Ohio a safe bet in the Bahamas Bowl?

Rourke has five 100-yard rushing games, and Ouellette has four 100-yard efforts. Rourke holds the school record for rushing touchdowns in a season with 21 (second in FBS), and his 37 total touchdowns responsible for is one away from tying the Ohio season record. He also has thrown for 2,018 passing yards and 15 TDs.

Rourke is a native Canadian with ties to the state of Alabama. He spent his first three years of high school at Holy Trinity High School in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, where he led his team to its first OFSAA Bowl championship in 2014, before transferring to Edgewood Academy in Elmore, Alabama. He played well enough his year there that UAB and Clark were interested but Clark was still in the process of rebuilding after the program.

Ohio senior defensive back Darious Williams is tied for second nationally in passes defended and led Conference USA in that category (20) along with a league-high five interceptions and 15 pass breakups.

Team Statistics

Offense:

  • Average Score For: 38.92
  • Total Yards: 430.83
  • Pass Yards: 187.83
  • Rush Yards: 243

Defense:

  • Average Score Against: 25.75
  • Total Yards: 373.17
  • Pass Yards: 260
  • Rush Yards: 113.17

Latest Bahamas Bowl Betting Trends

  • UAB is 10-3-1 ATS in the last 14 games
  • UAB is 4-1 SU in the last 5 games
  • The total went UNDER in 7 of Alabama-Birmingham’s last 8 games
  • Ohio is 10-4 ATS in the last 14 games
  • Ohio is 7-3 SU in the last 10 games
  • The total went OVER in 9 of Ohio’s last 13 games

Expert Prediction & Bahamas Bowl Pick

This game likely means a ton to the UAB players and coaches. Take the points.