Camellia Bowl Pick
This is only the third Camellia Bowl, but so far, every matchup has been fairly close and this one looks likely to follow suit. Appalachian State took down a different MAC team a year ago in a 31-29 win and this year get Toledo. The Rockets are a small -1.5 point favorite as seen at 5 Dimes Sportsbook in Mobile, Alabama.
The Mountaineers were once again the class of the Sun Belt and finished with a 9-3 record. They almost pulled off an upset at Tennessee in the opener, losing 20-13, but were dismantled by Miami a couple weeks later. Most of the numbers point to Appalachian State’s defense being the advantage, allowing 17 points per Game, but beating up on the Sun Belt has to be taken into consideration.
At Akron in their Fourth Game of the year, the Mountaineers gave up 38 points in a seven-point win. Akron is a mediocre team as seen in Toledo’s 48-17 win against them in early November. The Rockets have a viable defense as well and while their numbers aren’t as good, that’s mainly because their competition was better.
Toledo also finished 9-3 overall and lost its biggest non-Conference Game, falling 55-53 to BYU. They had a chance at the MAC title Game, but couldn’t hang with Western Michigan in the regular season finale. against a different Sun Belt team, Arkansas State, which finished 7-1 in Conference play (didn’t play App. State), the Rockets dominated 31-10 in their opener.
App State may have a good defense, but they did give up points to better offenses and Toledo has an offense that can score. Whether that’s through quarterback Logan Woodside, who quietly threw for 43 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, or running back Kareem Hunt, who ran for 1,355 yards, the Rockets have weapons. Remember, the App State defense did struggle against Akron.
Woodside has been consistent no matter the opponent and has at least three passing touchdowns in every Game this season. Hunt is coming off a Game in which he ran for 200 yards and caught another 73 in the loss to Western Michigan.
On the other end, the main difference is that Appalachian is not nearly as good through the air with Taylor LAmb at quarterback. A three-year starter as a junior, LAmb has the experience, but his numbers are worse across the board than his previous two seasons. He has just 14 passing TDs and eight INTs and has failed to throw a touchdown in Four Games this year. That could obviously be an issue if Toledo get out to a lead early.
But if not, the Mountaineers will stick with their one-two duo on the ground between Jalin Moore (1,367 yards, 10 TDs) and Marcus Cox (872 yards, 8 TDs).
App State was able to dominate Ohio on the ground in last year’s bowl and that led to 303 rushing yards and a 24-point Fourth quarter en route to a 31-29 win. But Toledo’s offense could be the difference in this Game, something that Ohio couldn’t bank on themselves.
The Mountaineers are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 following a straight-up win and haven’t covered in their last Four following an ATS win. The Rockets are a nice 8-0-1 ATS in their last nine non-Conference Games and are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five vs. the Sun Belt.
Our Pick – App State +1.5