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Poinsettia Bowl

La Tech vs. TCU

12/21/11

TCU squares off against Louisiana Tech in the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, December 21st. TCU opened as a -12.5 point favorite at 5 Dimes and has been bet down to -10.5 with a total of 55.5. That move favoring La Tech comes despite the majority of the wagers coming in having been on TCU thus far. That would generally indicate some sharp money on La Tech is responsible for the move.

 Easy enough to see why the public would side with TCU here. A year ago, TCU played in and won the Rose Bowl, knocking off Wisconsin. They continued their winning ways this year going 10-2 and while this team certainly doesn't measure up to last year's squad, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, it's still a good team. Last season, the TCU defense was #1 in the nation in yards against. This year, they slipped to 32nd.

It didn't take long to determine that this year's TCU defense didn't measure up. They lost their first game of the year to Baylor, 50-48. They lost their 2nd game of the year a few weeks later, losing to SMU, 40-33. Their marquee win this year came November 12th when they defeated Boise State 36-35 to knock Boise from the ranks of the unbeaten. The rest of the season for TCU was uneventful. They beat up on a few bad teams, and beat some decent teams by anywhere from 9 to 16 points. But there was certainly nothing this year to make you step back and say wow. A good team, yes. Not a great team.

Louisiana Tech started the year looking like it was going nowhere fast. They went 1-4 out of the gate with their only win coming against Central Arkansas 48-42. But in those 4 losses were close games against Southern Miss and Houston, losing by 2 and 1 point. Their low point came October 1st, losing to Hawaii 44-26. But from that point forward, the team has done nothing but win, winning 7 straight down the stretch to go 8-4 on the year. Note La Tech was 10-2 against the spread this year.

Our model predicts a 31-24 TCU win. Yards per point numbers for both teams are good. Both weigh in with about 16.5 on defense while TCU's offensive number is a blistering 10 and La Tech's is a good 13. A yards per point line would be TCU-3. This is significant here as the schedule strength for these teams was pretty much dead even.

As far as motivation to be playing in this game, you can be sure Louisiana Tech is extremely happy to be here, especially after starting the year 1-4. This team was picked to finish last by many. TCU on the other hand, well, this is a big step down from last year's Rose Bowl. They certainly had their sights set on a much more high profile game against a high profile opponent.

We mentioned at the beginning of this write up that the early line move indicated sharp action. We'd agree with the move. Even after the initial move, we're still getting value with La Tech here as the line should probably be closer to a TD. La Tech +10.5

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