The unranked UAB Blazers will head to Shreveport, Louisiana for the Independence Bowl to take on the 12th-ranked BYU Cougars at 3:30 PM ET on Saturday, December 18.
UAB (8-4) hails from the relatively weak Conference USA, but would have made their championship game had UTSA not ripped off a 12-1 record. The Blazers have won three of their last four games heading into the Independence Bowl but will have their hands full with an excellent BYU squad.
BYU (10-2) is deservingly ranked as high as they are after an outstanding season. The Cougars played out this campaign as an FBS independent school, and it did not slow them down despite drawing some tough opponents across their schedule. BYU always seems to surprise and this year was no different.
So which team will win the Independence Bowl? Let’s break it down with our BYU vs UAB predictions and best bets.
All Independence Bowl odds and lines are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and current as of 2:00 p.m. ET on Monday, December 13.
BYU vs UAB Prediction
I expect this game to be somewhat of a shootout, but I believe BYU is the superior team by a considerable margin.
The spread of BYU -7 at Caesars is a fairly sharp one, in my opinion, but I still see a tad of value on one side.
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UAB is capable of putting points up in a hurry, but BYU is just as capable of matching that offensive effort after averaging 33.5 points per game this season.
And while BYU’s defense isn’t outstanding, it still qualifies as above average after ranking in the top half of the FBS.
Accordingly, I think the Cougars should be able to outscore the Blazers while making enough plays on the defensive end to give them a reasonably comfortable margin of victory.
Independence Bowl Prediction: BYU 40, UAB 30
Independence Bowl Best Bets
Best Bet: BYU -7 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 2 Units
The line currently sits at BYU -7 on our NCAAF gameday odds, but I’m still a huge proponent of buying the hook at this number and surrendering some juice.
I firmly believe BYU is the better team in this game and I’m expecting a two-score victory for them at least. They have been tested a fair amount this season by playing teams like USC, Baylor, and Utah, while UAB simply cannot say the same.
While there will likely be more UAB fans in attendance given the game’s location, I still like BYU against the spread here.
Best Bet: Over 54.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1.5 Units
I also like the Over in this game quite a bit. As mentioned above, both offenses can light up the scoreboard, so I do not believe this total is set high enough.
While both defenses are solid, I’m backing the Over for our NCAAF bet of the day with the expectation that both teams rise to the occasion offensively.