North Texas Mean Green vs Miami (OH) RedHawks: Frisco Football Classic Best Bet
The Frisco Bowl is the first of two great matchups for the day, and I won't lie to you, I have a pick for this game that just simply cannot lose.
North Texas was dead in the water before their five-game winning streak to end the season. The Mean Green are playing good football right now, but they will have to go up against a high-powered Miami (OH) RedHawks offense. This should be a great matchup as bowl season marches on.
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How do these teams match up, and who has the edge? Well, let's find out.
Why Miami (OH) Can Cover:
- 3-2 ATS in last five games
- 5-7 ATS this season
- The total has gone OVER in four of the last six games
- The total has gone OVER in 4 out of the last 5 when Miami (OH) is playing as an underdog
Quarterback Brett Gabbert took massive strides in 2021, and he is a big reason why the RedHawks are bowl eligible for just the third time in 11 years. On the season, the RedHawks ranked 26th in yards per pass (8.6), 19th in passing yards per game (281.5), and 17th in quarterback sack percentage (4.1%). Bryant finished the season with 2,418 yards and 24 touchdowns.
The problems for the 61st ranked scoring offense in the country come on the ground. Miami's leading rusher, Keyon Mozee only rushed for 479 yards. As a team, the RedHawks only rushed for 1,716 yards and only had 14 rushing touchdowns, which is good for the 27th-worst in the country. I'll spare you of their team rankings on the ground because they are not good.
Defensively, Miami has the second-best defense in the MAC, and they only gave up 25.4 points and 387.2 yards per game. Talent-wise, they are not as good as their rankings show, but they have talent at every level of their defense. At linebacker, Ivan Pace Jr. led the team in tackles with 116, and he was third in sacks with four. In the secondary, Matthew Salopek finished with the second-most tackles on the team (112) and then Lonnie Phelps and Kameron Butler combined for 16.5 sacks on the defensive line.
Why North Texas Can Cover:
- 9-3 ATS this season
- 6-0 ATS in last six games
- 3-17 SU in their last 20 when playing as an underdog
- The total has gone UNDER in seven of their last 12 games
The Mean Green make their money on the ground. As a team, they rank 44th in yards per rush (4.7), 13th in rush play percentage (61%), and fourth in rushes per game (50.5) and rushing yards per game (237). Leading rusher, DeAndre Torrey gained 1,215 yards and scored 13 times on the ground. North Texas does not have to just rely on him as Ikaika Ragsdale, Ayo Adeyi, and Isaiah Johnson all got a steady stream of carries this season and combined they totaled 1,328 yards and 15 touchdowns.
North Texas does not pass the ball a ton, and their team rankings through the air are not great. However, quarterback Austin Aune picked up 4.2 yards per carry and scored twice with his legs. North Texas only throws the ball 30.5 times per game, so do not expect this game to be decided by the quarterback matchup.
On the other side of the ball, North Texas' defense is 80th in scoring, but over their last four, the Mean Green are only giving up 15.2 points per game. The offense is what has gotten hot over their five-game winning streak to end the season, but the defense has stepped up and shut some teams down.
Frisco Bowl Best Bet:
*Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook
If we take into consideration the entire body of work for North Texas this season then Miami (OH) has the advantage. They pass the ball well, and North Texas, for the most part, is very "meh" in the secondary. However, the secondary has only given up 201.6 passing yards per game during their five-game winning streak.
Miami (OH) has also not beaten an out-of-conference FBS team since 2011. On paper, Miami (OH) is the better team, but North Texas is the hotter team right now, and they have the more impressive win between these two teams (UTSA).
North Texas is catching two and a half, and they are not only on a winning streak, but they are on an undefeated run ATS over their last six. Give me the Mean Green.
Pick: North Texas +2.5 (-106)
Photo: Getty Images