Middle Tennessee vs Appalachian state :Appalachian State is 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread in three bowl games since joining FBS ball three seasons ago.
Middle Tennessee, on the other hand, is just 2-5 both SU and ATS over its last seven bowls. The champions of the Sun Belt take on the runners-up from Conference USA when the Mountaineers meet the Blue Raiders in the New Orleans Bowl on Saturday night at the Superdome.
College football point spread: The Mountaineers opened as nine-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 37.3-23.6 Mountaineers (College football picks on every game)
Why the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders can cover the spread
The Blue Raiders started 3-3 this season, with losses at SEC outfits Vanderbilt and East Division champion Georgia.
But they then won five of their last six contests to finish 7-1 in Conference USA play, clinching the East Division title—the only loss over that span came at SEC Kentucky.
Middle Tennessee then lost the C-USA championship game to UAB 27-25 but nonetheless is playing in a bowl for the fourth straight season.
The Raiders trailed the Blazers in that conference title tilt 24-13, rallied to take a 25-24 lead in the fourth quarter but gave up a field goal and could not answer.
Middle Tennessee outgained UAB 456-365. The Blue Raiders outgained each of their last five opponents and outrushed four of their last six foes, going 5-1 ATS along the way.
Middle Tennessee is also 4-1 ATS its last five times out as an underdog.
Why the Appalachian State Mountaineers can cover the spread
Appalachian State opened this season with an overtime loss at Penn State then won nine of its last 10 games, most in blowout fashion, to finish 7-1 in conference play and claim the SBC East crown.
The Mountaineers then held off UL-Lafayette 30-19 to win its third straight conference championship.
Appalachian State is playing in a bowl for the fourth straight season.
The Mountaineers actually got outgained by the Ragin’ Cajuns in that conference title tilt 301-300, but they’ve still outgained eight of their last 10 opponents and outrushed nine of those last 10 foes, going 6-4 ATS along the way.
Appalachian State was favored by double digits in every game this season except that loss to the Nittany Lions, going 7-4 ATS as a favorite, 3-2 ATS at minus-14 or less.
Appalachian State is playing this bowl without head coach Scott Satterfield, who bolted for the job at Louisville, but that’s not necessarily a detriment to success here.
Ultimately, the Mountaineers own the better running game and the better defense, and that should be enough. The smart money gives the points with Appalachian State.
College football betting trends
The total has gone under in four of Middle Tennessee’s last five games at home.
Appalachian State is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games on the road.
Appalachian State is 10-1 SU in its last 11 games.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.