The Troy Trojans (9-3) are set to host the Buffalo Bulls (10-3) in the 2018 Dollar General Bowl. Kickoff is set for 7:00 EST on Saturday, December 22nd at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Oddsmakers currently have the Bulls listed as a slim 1.5-point home favorite with the total set at 49.5 points.
Dollar General Bowl Game Predictions & Vegas Line: Troy vs Buffalo
The Trojans finished tied with Appalachian State for the best record in the Sun Belt at 7-1, but they played in the same division and the Mountaineers won the head-to-head. So while Troy didn’t play for a conference title, they were arguably the second best team in the league. They knocked off another Power 5 team on the road this year, winning 24-19 at Nebraska. Many of you will recall they won 24-21 at LSU a season ago.
After going just 4-8 in his first year with Troy, head coach Neal Brown is taking the Trojans to a 3rd straight bowl game and will be looking to improve to 3-0. Troy beat Ohio in the 2016 Dollar General Bowl and whooped North Texas 50-30 in last year’s New Orleans Bowl.
It was a disappointing end to the season for Buffalo, as they blew a 29-10 2nd half lead in a 30-29 loss to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship Game. That’s a tough way to close out a really special season for the Bulls, who had just one winning season over the previous eight years and just two seasons ago finished 2-10.
Head coach Lance Leipold deserves all the credit for getting Buffalo to where they are and this will be his first time getting to lead the team in a bowl game.
Dollar General Bowl Point Spread & Free Pick: Buffalo -1.5
My early lean here would be to back the Bulls at basically a pick’em. I’ve got a lot of respect for Neal Brown and what he’s doing at Troy, but I just think Buffalo is the more talent team.
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I get the loss to Northern Illinois had to sting a lot, but Buffalo hasn’t been to a bowl game since 2013, have only been to two bowl games in the history of the program and have never won a bowl game. I think you are nuts if you don’t think the Bulls are going to be motivated for this game.
I get the MAC as a whole wasn’t great, but Buffalo won at Temple and while winning at Rutgers isn’t all that impressive, they did beat the Scarlet Knights by 42-13. Only other team to win by more at Rutgers this year was Michigan, who won by 35.
The Bulls have a top notch head coach of their own in Lance Leipold, who like Brown, figures to be on his way to a much better job in the near future. Buffalo also has NFL talent. Most notably junior quarterback Tyree Jackson and senior wide out Anthony Johnson.
I’m also not convinced that Troy is as good as people think. While they won at Nebraska, they only had 253 total yards and 12 first downs against a Cornhuskers defense that couldn’t stop anybody. They also lost 56-20 at home to Boise State and were upset by Liberty on the road.
I also wonder just how excited Troy has to be about playing in this bowl. Sure it’s close to home, but I also think part of what teams get excited about with bowl games is the travel, usually to a nice warm place. They also just played in this exact bowl two years ago. These are just a couple extra factors that I think only work in the favor of Buffalo. I still think the Bulls take down a motivated Troy team. Give me Buffalo -1.5!