I hope you enjoyed the Potato Bowl, as bowl season continues on with a game I’m happy is in primetime. At first look, Toledo and Temple does not look like the most appealing matchup, but a lot of people have said that Temple have been pretenders this season. Likewise, there hasn’t been immense confidence in Toledo despite having a win over Arkansas on the road and finishing 9-2. The Rockets’ losses have come against Western Michigan, from last week, and a loss to Northern Illinois in early October. Neither games were blowouts, Toledo lost by a combined 10 points in both showings. So, the Rockets were close to finding an undefeated season. However, even with the impressive season, Toledo was edged out of the MAC Championship by Bowling Green. I think the Rockets would have posed a larger threat to the Falcons than Northern Illinois with their third string quarterback playing in that one. Northern Illinois earned the 32-27 win over Toledo, so they had a rightful spot in that game.
Toledo gets a pretty nice matchup to prove their worth tonight. Temple needs to show that the team that was ranked in the top 25 was justifiable being there. I’m not sure a win over Toledo is going to totally convince people, but it’ll be a nice way to finish up the season with a bowl win. Temple ultimately ended up losing their conference championship game against Houston. The difference in that game is going to a top New Years’ bowl or playing in the Raton Bowl. No disrespect to the Raton Bowl or anything but Temple had their eyes set much higher than on a smaller bowl game like this. A date with Toledo on December 22nd was not what they were dreaming about before they played Notre Dame earlier in the season.
That was their chance to make a statement, but came up short with a 24-20 loss to the Irish. They were close, damn close, but Notre Dame was able to pull that one off late. The Temple offense was limited against Houston a few weeks ago to only 13 points in the 24-13 loss. P.J. Walker has been decent enough for Temple at quarterback this season, coming into the season finale throwing 19 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. They have an equal mix of the run game and pass in their arsenal. Some days they look unstoppable, but others, like against Houston, are inept. I get to my Raton Bowl pick below.
Toledo Rockets vs. Temple Owls Boca Raton Bowl Betting Odds:
vs. Temple +2.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Toledo vs. Temple Pick:
At first glance, I think this game is going to come down to a field goal. In a lot of ways they are similar teams. I think a lot of people are wondering if that win against Arkansas on the road was for real. Or, was Arkansas just having a really bad day? I think it was a bit of both. One thing was for certain, the Rockets were well prepared for that game and came to play. They had that one well mapped out and preparations went into the summer for Arkansas. However, Temple has been playing against heavier competition all season long. Notre Dame earlier in the season, Houston in their last game, and South Florida came to be a difficult challenge. The strength of Temple lies in the defense. They have allowed only 19.2 points per game this season. Passing against them is extremely difficult, with only 202 yards surrendered per game. This is where I think they can beat Toledo.
The Rockets have an excellent backfield, rushing for an average of 214 yards a game. Toledo is not going to play into the meat of the Temple strength and throw the ball with regularity. Instead, I look for a heavy dose of the run from the Rockets, which should prove to be reasonably successful. The Rockets have averaged 35.3 points per game behind their running attack. Conversely, the balanced offense of Temple yielded 30.8 points a game. On second glance, I still think this is a field goal game. I do feel that the total is a tad too low here. There should be enough points to get it OVER the total. I’m feeling something like a 27-24 final score.
PICK: OVER 48.5 POINTS (-110)