Congrats everyone, we finally made it. After only having one college football game in a two-week span, bowl season has finally arrived with a plethora of games nearly every day of the week. First on that list is the Bahamas Bowl with the Miami-OH Redhawks taking on the UAB Blazers. Can UAB maintain focus in the midst of a coaching change and avoid the upset? Get UAB Vs. Miami (Ohio) predictions, picks, and odds for the Bahamas Bowl 12/16/22).
UAB Vs. Miami (Ohio) Prediction & Pick
Prediction & Pick: UAB 1H -6.5
*UPDATE: With DeWayne McBride out, consider a half unit wager*
As previously mentioned, the full game number has little interest to me being in a dead zone. Instead, I will gladly take the first half spread at -6.5 or better for other reasons. One of them being early on motivation as UAB is going through a coaching change and getting one last hoorah for the coach that battled for with Bryant Vincent leading the helm. Trent Dilfer takes over in 2023.
Coming in fired up, UAB will need all the energy and momentum they can get to stop the Redhawks offense. While statistically better than them on paper, they have been susceptible to getting beat by dual threat quarterbacks and that is exactly what Miami-OH will look to do with Aveon Smith under center.
Aveon Smith has been a fantastic back up to now-transferred Brett Gabbert, throwing for 1,137 yards, nine touchdowns, and five interceptions. As mentioned earlier, he is also lethal with his feet by leading the team in rushing with 503 yards and another six touchdowns.
This brings some slight concern to our UAB tickets as they have struggled to contain the run-in comparison to fielding an above average defense. While they are 54th in Def Pass Success Rate, that number drastically drops to 103rd when defending the run. Lucky for the Blazers they can mainly set their focus on containing the quarterback as the Redhawks fail to field a productive running back.
Should UAB successfully contain Aveon Smith’s running ability, they will be in good position to get the opposing offense off the field early and often as Miami-OH is very poor through the air. They currently rank 99th in Off Pass Success Rate and 91st in Explosiveness. Smith has also been Havoc prone, making bone headed mistakes while under pressure.
UAB Vs. Miami (Ohio) Betting Odds
Oddsmakers think so as they opened UAB as high as -11.5 against the Redhawks. Bettors on the other hand are in slight disagreement, taking Miami-OH down to +11 in some shops. This is a dead number in terms of key football numbers, leaving zero interest in a full game spread wager. While the full game number may be out of range for a wager, the half time number does pique my interest.
As for the total, points are expected to be tough to come by as oddsmakers opened the total at 44.5. Bettors have been torn on the total, failing to budge it off the opening number. This comes especially surprising with the key number of 45 giving leeway to both ends. UAB does possess an above average pass defense, but that may struggle with the dual threat ability that the Redhawks bring under center.
UAB Vs. Miami-OH Key Matchups
While UAB’s defense is capable of slowing down the Redhawks anemic offense, can the Blazers comfortably put this game away with scoring on their end?
UAB scoring vs Redhawks defense
Limiting your opponents’ scoring is nice and all, but we will need UAB to be able to put up points on their end should we want to cash our first half spread tickets. This will be the key metric to watch as UAB relies on their elite ground game for scoring production while the Redhawks possess an elite rush defense.
Blazers DeWayne McBride has been a man possessed this season, running for an incredible stat line of 1,713 yards and 19 touchdowns. His production will once again be the UAB focal point for a team that has rushing metrics of 33rd in Rush Success Rate.
As mentioned earlier though, Miami-OH is no slouch in defending the run as they have a Def Rush Success Rate of 22nd in the nation. It will be worth monitoring the rush play rate early on with hopes they lean towards the pass as Miami-OH has a weak secondary. Blazers Dylan Hopkins has been a capable quarterback and can do enough to burn them deep.
UAB Vs. Miami (Ohio) Prediction & Verdict
Take UAB 1H at -6.5 or better in what can be an early motivating start for the defense as they work to get Aveon Smith off the field and set up their offense for success.
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