No matter what the NCAAF odds says, the one-loss Grambling State Tigers will look to hand the unbeaten North Carolina A&T Aggies their first loss of the season when the two rivals square off on December 16, 2017, 12:00 PM ET. With this game taking place at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium and airing live on ABC, let’s find out who’s the Celebration Bowl betting favorite!
The Celebration Bowl marks the unofficial kick-off to the bowl season, pinning the SWAC and MEAC conference champions against each other. The game is new, only in its third season here in 2017, but has gotten off to a successful start with the game being played in Atlanta. The first two games in this bowl game’s history were played at the Georgia Dome, but this year’s game will be going down live from the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Each conference has claimed one victory in the event’s first two years, with MEAC Champion North Carolina A&T beating Alcorn State 41-34 in 2015 and SWAC Champion Grambling State beating North Carolina Central10-9 in a tight contest in the 2016 edition of this young bowl game.
2017 Celebration Bowl Betting Preview: Grambling St. vs. North Carolina
— Celebration Bowl (@CelebrationBowl) 8 de diciembre de 2017
- When: Saturday, December 16, 2017, 12:00 PM ET
- Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA
- TV: ABC
- Radio: 91.5 FM (Grambling State) / 98.1 FM (North Carolina)
- Live Stream: ABC Go
- Celebration Bowl Betting Odds: TBA
Why Bet on Grambling State Tigers?
The Tigers are betting almost 10 points and that’s a lot for a team that comes into this matchup on fire, having won 11 straight games.
Sure, the Tigers needed a second-half comeback to get past Alcorn State 40-32 on Dec. 2 and claim the program’s first SWAC title since 2011. Head coach Broderick Fobbs has improved his win total in each of his three seasons as head coach and has arguably his best team yet, going 11-1 with the only loss coming to Arizona in Tucson.
- Points Per Game: 32.7
- Opponent Points Per Game: 20.4
- Total Yards Per Game: 373.9
- Passing Yards Per Game: 232.0
- Rushing Yards Per Game: 141.9
Why Bet on North Carolina A&T Aggies?
The best reason to back the Aggies is that they haven’t been beaten by anyone this season. North Carolina A&T comes into this game undefeated after beating NC Central 24-10 on Nov. 18 the last time they took the field. The Aggies are led by quarterback Lamar Raynard who passed for 2,707-yards and 26 touchdown passes this season.
Led by Raynard, the Aggies placed a dozen players on the first-team All-MEAC team, including redshirt junior running back Marquell Cartwright, sophomore wide receiver Elijah Bell, three offensive linemen Darriel Mack, Brandon Parker and Marcus Pettiford and three guys on the defensive side of the ball.
- Points Per Game: 36.4
- Opponent Points Per Game: 12.3
- Total Yards Per Game: 429.5
- Passing Yards Per Game: 257.5
- Rushing Yards Per Game: 172.0
2017 Celebration Bowl Key Data
- A&T is looking to become the first MEAC team to had a perfect season since the conference first played football in 1971.
- A school-record 12 N.C. A&T football players were named first-team All-MEAC.
- This is the second straight year that the Tigers have won the SWAC championship and the program’s 26th overall.
- The Tigers are coming in with the most sacks in the FCS (45).
Expert Analysis and NCAAF Betting Pick
Grambling won a low-scoring game in last year’s bowl matchup (10-9), but both of these offenses can put points on the board in a hurry. Looking at the stats, there’s not much difference. North Carolina A&T averages 36.4 points per game while Grambling puts up 32.7. The Aggies rack up 429 yards a game on average and GSU rolls up 374 yards per contest.
Defensively, A&T allows an FCS fourth-best 251.4 yards a game. The Tigers surrendered 331 yards, but sit atop the FCS with 47 team sacks and ranks second with their plus-21 turnover margin.
I’m going with North Carolina A&T as my Celebration Bowl betting Pick for this year’s Celebration Bowl, led by quarterback Lamar Raynard and his 26 TD passes this season, I also like the Tigers to cover the chalk in what looks like another ‘Instant Classic’.
Previous Celebration Bowl Champs
- 2016: North Carolina Central Eagles 9 – Grambling State Tigers 10
- 2015: North Carolina A&T Aggies 41 – Alcorn State Braves 34