CFB: Liberty Bowl -ARKANSAS vs. EAST CAROLINA (5:30 PM ET, ESPN)

CFB: Liberty Bowl -ARKANSAS vs. EAST CAROLINA (5:30 PM ET, ESPN)

On the surface, a SEC vs. Conference USA bowl game matchup would figure to be a mismatch, but East Carolina is C-USA's best team while Arkansas was a middle of the pack team from the SEC. Still, oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com see enough in the Razorbacks to


2010-01-04

On the surface, a SEC vs. Conference USA bowl game matchup would figure to be a mismatch, but East Carolina is C-USA's best team while Arkansas was a middle of the pack team from the SEC. Still, oddsmakers at Sportsbook.com see enough in the Razorbacks to make them 8-point favorites.

East Carolina captured its second straight Conference USA title by beating Houston in the league championship game. The reward of that accomplishment…a date with a SEC foe in the Liberty Bowl. In last year's game, East Carolina lost to Kentucky, playing as a three-point favorite. In the 2010 edition, the Pirates are a 7.5-point underdog to Arkansas, which could be big for bettors, as they are 22-10 ATS in the pup role under head coach Skip Holtz. His team comes into the game at 9-4 and played its best ball at the end, going 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in its L7. The Razorbacks also played well down the stretch though, going 4-1 SU and ATS in their final five, while scoring 44.8 points per game. They have won just two of their L9 bowl games though and are 3-6 ATS.

Quarterback Ryan Mallet transferred from Michigan and needless to say, the move was a smashing success. Mallet led the Hogs' explosive offense to some pretty impressive numbers, 6.8 yards per play and 37 points per game. If it wasn't for a couple of gut-wrenching three-point road losses to Florida and LSU, Arkansas would have certainly been placed in a high-profile bowl. East Carolina, led by 20th-year senior Patrick Pinkney (just kidding, it only seems that way), won its last six conference games to capture a second consecutive C-USA title. The real question here is whether the Pirates' average defense (allowing 22 points per game and 386 yards per game) can slow down the explosive Razorback attack. Most likely the answer is no and Arkansas will prevail in a shootout.

Top FoxSheets.com ATS Trend
Skip Holtz is 13-5 ATS (+7.5 Units) versus good offensive teams - averaging >=5.9 yards/play as the coach of E CAROLINA. The average score was E CAROLINA 28.8, OPPONENT 27.4 - (Rating = 1*)

Top FoxSheets.com Total Super Situation
Play Over - All teams where the total is greater than or equal to 63 (ARKANSAS) - in a game involving two average teams (within +/- 50 YPG of their opponents) after 7+ games, in non-conference games. (24-4 over the last 10 seasons.) (85.7%, +19.6 units. Rating = 3*)

LIBERTY BOWL Series Trend: The last three Liberty Bowl games have matched the SEC vs. Conference USA, and not surprisingly, the SEC has swept those contests 3-0 SU & ATS. What is more surprising is that C-USA was the favorite in each of the last two seasons. Overall, underdogs have covered seven of the last 10 installments of this series. The UNDER shares that same mark over the last decade, but has alternated with the OVER in the last six years.

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