UTSA Vs. Troy Prediction, Pick, Odds: Cure Bowl Preview (12/16/22)
It may not seem like it on paper, but this matchup is the best non-power five bowl matchup of the whole slate. If not the best bowl game period, as the UTSA Roadrunners take on the Troy Trojans in a stylistic matchup between one of the most efficient offenses against an elite defense. In the battle of an unstoppable force against an immovable object, who will come out on top? Get UTSA Vs. Troy predictions, picks, and odds for the Cure Bowl 12/16/22).
UTSA Vs. Troy Prediction & Pick
Prediction & Pick: Troy -1.5
With bettors in agreement that defensive excellence will be on full display, I will back Troy at the number. They bring in a very experienced group per their TARP rating, a unit that led them to success on their way to a conference championship. Last game out we saw the defense disrupt Coastals efficient offensive attack while making a clearly hobbled Grayson McCall uncomfortably scramble around.
An impressive showing even if McCall was injured, but to little surprise as they have maintained this elite level of play all season. They finished the season 40th overall in Def Success Rate, 12th in Def Explosiveness, and top-10 in Def PPA. The brunt of this success has come on Standard Downs, limiting early plays production and getting opposing offenses off the field early.
Taking a deeper dive into their defensive success, their secondary and middle level is one of the best units in football. Their metrics rise up to as high as top-30 in the nation in Def Pass Success rate while not allowing explosive plays behind them as well. Should their defensive line generate pressure to the backfield in passing downs, their secondary will once again be set up for success to take advantage of Havoc.
While their pass defense has been elite, not all is perfect for this unit as they have actually lacked in defending the rush production. Troy currently ranks 69th in Def Rush Success, good for slightly below average in the nation. They do excel in limiting the big gain but are susceptible to small chunks of gains on the ground at a time.
This plays in UTSA’s hands and will be the main focal point of their offense as the Roadrunners feature a dual threat quarterback and a productive rushing backfield. So far this season UTSA quarterback Frank Harris has run for 588 yards and nine touchdowns while running back Kevorian Barnes has rushed for 713 yards and six touchdowns.
UTSA Vs. Troy Odds
Oddsmakers lean towards the Trojans to narrowly pull this one out, opening them as a -1.5 favorite. Bettors also side with the bookmakers, taking them up to as high as -2.5 in some shops. As said before, this is a battle of two contrasting styles as the Roadrunners will look to crack the Trojans vaunted defense. A feat I am not so sure they are capable of accomplishing.
As for the total, oddsmakers believe points will be scored at a frequent rate as they opened the total at 57.5. Like Troy, bettors were quick to back the defensive play by hammering the under to as low as 55.5. Troy’s defense has carried them to success at this point of the season and I see little reason why they won’t hold up again. Especially with their weakness being against the run, a scheme that will drain the clock.
UTSA Vs. Troy Key Matchups
While the Troy defense will slow down the UTSA scoring production, can their offense give them enough life to pull away comfortably?
Troy scoring vs UTSA defense
While a majority of this handicap has been about the Troy defense and how they are capable of limiting one of the most efficient non power five offenses, their offense will also need to be a factor should they want to win this game.
They will come in mainly focusing on the pass attack, a unit that ranks slightly above average in the nation in Success rate behind the arm of Gunnar Watson. While prone to mistakes with an uncomfortable touchdown to interception ratio, Gunnar is poised for a good final outing as the Roadrunners bring in a lackluster secondary who are one of the worst at allowing big play opportunities.
Prediction & Verdict
Back Troy at -2.5 or less in what will be a defensive masterpiece that will limit the production of one of the best non power five offenses in football. Get your popcorn ready, this is going to be a fun one.
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