College Football Betting Guide: Myrtle Beach Bowl

Appalachian State faces North Texas to kick off bowl season. Can the Mean Green keep it close?

College football bowl season isn't quite the same this year as it has been in years past. We have a lot of uncertainty overall, but one thing we do know is that the Appalachian State Mountaineers will play the North Texas Mean Green in the Myrtle Beach Bowl on Monday.

According to numberFire's power rankings, the Mountaineers are 43rd in the nation with a nERD score of 5.29, meaning we'd expect them to beat an average opponent on a neutral field by 5.29 points. The Mean Green are 123rd in the nation with a nERD of -22.14.

That alone puts the expected point spread at around 27.5 points. The actual spread on FanDuel Sportsbook is -19.5 for Appalachian State.

What gives?

Game Overview

Here's a snapshot of each team's pass and rush offense and defense, based on adjusted passing yards per attempt and rushing yards per carry allowed.

Team Passing
Appalachian State Mountaineers 70 4 14 56
North Texas Mean Green 27 108 24 124

The strength of North Texas -- their offense -- will have a tough go against the Mountaineers' defense, but both teams average at least 435.3 yards per game (with North Texas at 515.0). In fact, the offenses score at similar rates (35.1 points per game for the Mean Green and 31.8 for the Mountaineers), but the scoring defenses are vastly different. Appalachian State allows 19.3 points per game, and North Texas allows 41.3.

Via, the Mountaineers average 0.21 predicted points added per play offensively, and North Texas is at 0.28 -- but they allow 0.28 right back on the other end of things. Appalachian State's defensive predicted points allowed is just 0.04.

Both offenses have plenty of life, but the difference-maker should be the Mountaineer defense.

Algorithm-Based Bets

Our detailed game projections for this one, understandably, give the Mountaineers a 98.1% chance to win outright, so an upset seems highly unlikely here for the 4-5 Mean Green over the 8-3 Mountaineers.

Remember, our algorithm sees roughly a 27.5-point discrepancy between these two teams, and that's why it loves Appalachian state -19.5 here. The Mountaineers covered that spread in 75.4% of our simulated games, good for an expected return of investment of 43.9%. It's a five-star bet out of five.

Because of the two good offenses, as well, we view value on the over at 63.5 points. The game finished over that total 66.4% of the time in the simulations. It's a three-star bet out of five.

We should expect the bowl season to feature some fireworks early on, but we likely won't see an upset.