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Independence Bowl betting preview

The 8-4 Warhawks of Louisiana-Monroe will play their first-ever bowl game when they battle 8-4 Ohio in the Independence Bowl Friday, Dec. 28 in Shreveport (2 pm ET, ESPN).

The early Independence Bowl odds lined 8-4 UL-M, which went 6-2 in the Sun Belt Conference this year, as a seven-point favorite over the Bobcats, who only went 4-4 in the MAC.

Favorites are 8-1 ATS in the past 9 games including six in a row. [ More Independence Bowl betting stats, trends and preview info ]

View Ohio vs Louisiana-Monroe Odds and Stats.

Betting Line: Louisiana-Monroe were sitting as 6-point favorites earlier in the week at Bovada. The total was to be set a bit later in the week for over under betting purposes.

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How They Match Up:
Offensively, the game matches up Louisiana-Monroe's No. 25-ranked offense (35.5 PPG) against a Bobcats defense that ranks No. 52 at 25.7 PPG. The Warhawks passing attack has averaged 296.7 yards per game, more than the Bobcats give up through the air (229.8 YPG on average).

In comparing defenses, the Bobcats own the league's No. 52-rated front 7 in terms of stopping the run, allowing 161 yards per game when on the road. Louisiana-Monroe, on the other hand, rates No. 62 this week in generating rushing yards at home.

Last time out for Ohio, they were a 28-6 loser as they battled Kent State on the road. Ohio failed to cover in the match as a 9.5-point underdog, while 34 combined points moved the game UNDER for totals bettors. In their last game, Ohio got a 145-yard performance from Beau Blankenship, but Kent State prevailed 28-6.

Louisiana-Monroe was a 23-17 winner in its last match on the road against Florida International. They covered the 3.5-point spread as favorites, while the total score of 40 sent UNDER bettors to the payout window. The Warhawks grabbed a Week 13 victory over the Golden Panthers in their last game, winning 23-17 at FIU Stadium.

Ohio Bobcats Trends:
When playing in December are 1-4
When playing on turf are 6-4
After being outgained are 5-5
When an underdog on the road are 4-6

Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks Trends:
When playing in December are 2-1
When playing on turf are 6-4
After being outgained are 5-5
When favored at home are 6-4

A few Bobcats at Warhawks trends to consider:
Ohio is 14-5 SU in its last 19 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Ohio's last 6 games
Ohio is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
Ohio is 1-7 ATS in its last 8 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Louisiana-Monroe's last 6 games
Louisiana-Monroe is 7-2 SU in its last 9 games