The Ohio Bobcats (8-4) will face off against the San Diego State Aztecs (7-5) in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl. Kickoff is set for 8:00 EST on Tuesday, December 19th at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, TX. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Oddsmakers opened this one up with Ohio as a 3-point favorite. Several books are still sitting on 3, but some have lowered it down to the Bobcats -2.5. THe total for this matchup is currently 54 points.
San Diego State vs Ohio Game Preview & Betting Odds
The Aztecs aren’t exactly headed into the bowl game with a lot of momentum. After an impressive 6-1 start that included wins over Arizona State and Boise State, things took a turn for the worst.
San Diego State went just 1-4 over their final 5, including 3 straight losses to close out the year. It’s the first time in four years the Aztecs aren’t going into a bowl game with at least 10 wins.
San Diego State is definitely accustomed to bowl games under head coach Rocky Long. This is his 8th year with the team and he’s taken them to a bowl game all 8 years. However, the Aztecs are just 3-4 in postseason play under Long and he was a mere 1-4 in 5 trips with New Mexico.
The Bobcats were a popular pick to win the MAC East this year, but they came up painfully short. Ohio finished 1-game back of Buffalo, who they beat head-to-head 52-17. Their two losses in MAC play were a 3-point loss at Northern Illinois (24-21) and a 2-point loss at Miami, OH (30-28). The Bobcats have now finished with exactly 8 regular-season wins in each of the last 4 years.
Ohio is the 14th season under head coach Frank Solich. He’s done a pretty good job getting them to a bowl, as this will be their 10th trip since he took over. Unfortunately, like Long, Solich has struggled to get his team to play well in the postseason. The Bobcats are a mere 3-6 in bowl games under Solich. On the bright side, they did annihilate UAB in last year’s Bahamas Bowl 41-6.
2018 Frisco Bowl Free NCAAF Betting Selection: San Diego St +3
My early lean here would be to take the points with the Aztecs. I just think we are seeing a bit of an overreaction to San Diego State’s poor finish to the regular-season. While a loss is a loss, the storyline for the Aztecs could be very different if a few breaks had gone their way. In their 1-4 finish to the season, all 4 losses came by single-digits with 3 decided by 4 or less.
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I think Long will definitely use the underdog card to get his team fired up and I’m pretty confident they are the better team. Not to take anything away from Ohio’s 8-wins this year, but the MAC is way down from what it’s been in previous years. I wasn’t all that impressed with this team in non-conference. They were 2-2 with the two wins coming against Howard and UMass. What really stood out to me is their defense, which gave up 38.3 ppg (at least 32 in all 4).
The Bobcats offense has carried this team. They are averaging 41.2 ppg and 471 ypg. Impressive, but again, I think it has a lot to with the easy schedule they have played. San Diego State has been a defensive force under Long. They gave up a mere 21.7 ppg this season and that was their highest mark in 5 years.
The big key here is that Ohio’s offense is built on their running game. They come in averaging 262 ypg and 6.1 yards/carry. That plays right into the strength of the Aztecs’ defense. San Diego State allowed a mere 94 yards/game and 2.7 yards/carry this season. There were 3 times Ohio failed to reach 150 rushing yards against a FBS opponent and they were 1-2 with a mere 1-point win at Kent State. They had 9 turnovers in those 3 games, compared to just 8 in their other 9 games combined. Give me San Diego State +3!