Eastern Michigan vs Old Dominion Bahamas Bowl Prediction, 12-23-2016
Old Dominion is making their 1st ever college football bowl game appearance after notching a (9-3) record in 2016. The Monarchs were (7-1) in Conference USA play with their only loss coming from Western Kentucky, winners of the Boca Raton Bowl. ODU will face Eastern Michigan who enters their first bowl game since 1987. This is the only college football bowl game outside of the United States and Walt Kramer of Fox & Hound Sports has a game preview and Bahamas Bowl Prediction below.
Eastern Michigan Eagles (7-5; 9-3 ATS: 4-8 O/U) vs. Old Dominion Monarchs (9-3; 8-3-1 ATS; 9-4 O/U)
Game Time: Friday December 23, 2016, 1pm EST
Odds: Old Dominion -4, 65
The Eastern Michigan Eagles won a combined 5 games over the previous three seasons leading up to the 2016 season. The Eagles had a big turnaround this year winning 7 games lead by QB Brogan Roback who had a solid season, throwing for 2394 yards with a 16:6 TD to INT ratio after missing the first three games. Eastern Michigan’s turnaround under third-year coach Chris Creighton has been one of the best storylines of the season. This job is one of the toughest in the nation, but Creighton guided the Eagles to their first winning mark since 1995 and crafted a six-game improvement after a 1-11 record in 2015.
Eastern Michigan averaged 30 PPG fueled by averages of 295 passing yards and 158 rushing yards. The Eagles are a pass heavy offense and have depth at the receiver position with four players accumulating 400 receiving yards or more.
The Eagles defense has also improved since 2015. Last season, the Eagles surrounded 316.6 yards per game on the ground compared to this season where they allowed 164.3 per game. Eastern Michigan will have their hands full with the Monarchs who rushed for at least 200 yards in seven contests this year, including 312 in the regular season finale against FIU.
Not only are the Old Dominion Monarchs playing in their first ever bowl game but they are playing for their first ever 10 win season. QB David Washington guided this team all season throwing for 2648 yards and 28 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. WR Zach Pascal really stood out the final two games catching a combined 279 yards and on the season he caught 63 passes for 893 yards and 8 touchdowns. While David Washington and his receivers have been very impressive this season, it’s only part of their offensive production. The Monarchs have a potent rushing attack in Ray Lawry (1,122 yards, 11 TD’s) and Jeremy Cox (685 yards, 13 TD’s).
Old Dominion averaged 36 points per game which ranked them 26th in college football. Their defense isn’t exactly a strong point of this team but they aren’t exactly weak, just a middle of the road defense. On average they allow 155 yards on the ground and 220 yards in the air. The Monarchs defense did have some impressive performances this season and are fully capable of slowing down Eastern Michigan. ODU allowed an average of 27.8 points per game, placing them 64th in the Nation.
From a bettors perspective, this -4 point spread tilts in the Monarchs favor. Old Dominion is a better team on both sides of the ball and QB David Washington should be able to take advantage of a weak secondary. Look for Old Dominion to establish the run and soften up the defense and then go to work on the secondary. I think Eastern Michigan will have trouble keeping pace with the Monarchs and a few key stops will have this game showing a double digit victory for Old Dominion.