- Buffalo and Troy are two of the most underappreciated teams in college football, which should make for an excellent matchup in the Dollar General Bowl.
Dollar General Bowl – Buffalo Bulls vs. Troy Trojans (+2.5)
Sat., December 22, 7:00 p.m. ET
Three things to know before betting on Buffalo-Troy:
1. Buffalo is playing in its first bowl game since the 2013 season, and the program has head coach Lance Leipold to thank for that. After winning six NCAA Division III championships with the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Leipold took his licks with the Bulls. In his first two years with Buffalo, the team was 7-17. But over the last two seasons, the Bulls have gone 16-9, and it looks like the Bulls are building something special. Troy already had an impressive program. The Trojans have gone 34-16 under head coach Neal Brown. Meanwhile, the Trojans already have an impressive program. The Trojans are 34-16 under Neal Brown. With a win in the Dollar General Bowl, Troy will have posted double-digit wins in three straight seasons. And the Trojans are positioned to do just that. Over the past two seasons, the Trojans are an impressive 8-0 against the spread when playing teams with winning records. Troy won those games by an average score of 33.1 to 22.0.
2. Buffalo's Tyree Jackson might be the most talented player on the field in this game, but the quarterback is prone to bad games against quality competition. In the Bulls’ loss to Army, Jackson was 10 of 24 for just 152 yards. He also threw for just 116 yards with no touchdowns and two picks in a blowout loss to Ohio in mid-November. Considering Troy has the nation’s 23rd-ranked scoring defense (21.2 points per game allowed) and 29th-best defense in terms of yards per game allowed, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Jackson struggle once again here.
3. In losses to Ohio and Northern Illinois in the final three weeks of the season, Buffalo showed how vulnerable it can be against an effective passing attack, allowing Ohio's Nathan Rourke to throw three touchdowns and NIU's Marcus Childers to throw four. While Troy had just the 92nd-best passing attack in college football this season, QB Sawyer Smith should see some openings to make plays here because the Trojans' solid run game will force Buffalo to pack the box. With extra time to prepare for Buffalo's defense, Smith will be on point and poised for a multiple TD outing.
Pick: Troy +2.5
Confidence Level: Moderate (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)