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Beef OBradys Bowl betting preview

Conference USA goes up against the MAC when 9-4 Central Florida and 9-3 Ball State play in the Beef OBradys Bowl Friday, Dec. 21 in St. Petersburg (7:30 pm ET, ESPN).

In the early OBrady Bowl betting the Knights, who lost the CUSA championship game in overtime to Tulsa, were favored by eight points over the Cardinals, who come in riding a six-game winning streak.

Favorites are 3-1 ATS in the first editions of this bowl, and Ball State is 0-3-1 ATS in its four bowl games since 1995. [ More Beef O Bradys Bowl betting preview and picks ]

View Ball State vs Central Florida Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Those siding with the visitors in this one saw the Cardinals listed as 7.5-point underdogs earlier this week at Bovada. Meanwhile, the over under line was 61.5 earlier over at Bovada.

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Ball State bowl history
Year Bowl Team1 Score Team2 Score Team2Line ATS win
1996 Las Vegas Bowl Nevada 18 Ball State 15   Push
2007 International Bowl Ball State 30 Rutgers 52 -12 RUTGER
2008 GMAC Bowl Ball State 13 Tulsa 45 -2.5 TULSA

UCF Bowl History


2005 Hawaii Bowl Nevada 49 Central Florida 48 4 UCF
2007 Liberty Bowl Central Florida 3 Mississippi State 10 3 MIS.ST
2009 St. Petersburg Bowl Central Florida 24 Rutgers 45 -2.5 RUTGER
2010 Liberty Bowl Central Florida 10 Georgia 6 -6 UCF

How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Central Florida's No. 27-ranked offense (35.2 PPG) against a Cardinals defense that ranks No. 91 at 31.5 PPG. The Knights passing attack has averaged 222 yards per game, less than the Cardinals give up through the air (253.9 YPG on average).

In comparing defenses, the Cardinals own the league's No. 78-rated front 7 in terms of stopping the run, allowing 188.1 yards per game when on the road. Central Florida, on the other hand, rates No. 50 this week in generating rushing yards at home.

Ball State was a 31-24 winner in their most recent outing on the road against Miami (Ohio). They failed to cover the 8-point spread as favorites, while the total score (55) made winners of UNDER bettors. The Cardinals grabbed a Week 13 victory over the RedHawks in their last game, winning 31-24 at Fred C Yager Stadium.

Central Florida was a 33-27 loser in its last match on the road against Tulsa. They failed to cover the 3-point spread as underdogs, while the total score of 60 sent OVER bettors to the payout window. In their last game, the Knights were Week 14 losers coming out on the wrong end of 33-27 score against Tulsa.

Ball State Cardinals Trends:
When playing in December are 0-2
When playing on turf are 8-2
After outgaining opponent are 6-4
When an underdog on the road are 5-5

Central Florida Knights Trends:
When playing in December are 3-5
When playing on turf are 4-6
After being outgained are 7-3
When favored at home are 8-2

A few Cardinals at Knights trends to consider:
Ball State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Ball State's last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 12 of Ball State's last 17 games
The total has gone OVER in 8 of Central Florida's last 9 games
Central Florida is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games