FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL GOLDEN PANTHERS (6-6) vs. TOLEDO ROCKETS (8-4)

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by - 12/24/2010 7:33 PM Share

Ford Field - Detroit, MI

Kickoff: Sunday, Dec. 26, 8:30 p.m. EDT

Line: Toledo -1, Total: 56

Two college football teams that were not expected to reach a bowl this year will meet in Detroit the on Sunday for the Little Caesars Bowl. The Florida International Golden Panthers had gone 9-39 (19%) in the previous four seasons and started the 2010 campaign 0-4 before winning six of seven. Toledo returns to a bowl for the first time since 2005 when the Rockets waxed UTEP 45-13 in the GMAC Bowl.

Three of the Toledo Rockets' four losses in 2010 have been to bowl participants (Boise State, Arizona and Northern Illinois). Since its five giveaways at Boise State, Toledo has only five turnovers in its past six games while forcing 17 (+12 margin). Toledo quarterback Austin Dantin will not suit up for the fourth game in a row due to a shoulder injury, but sophomore Terrance Owens has been tremendous as Dantin's replacement. Owens has thrown for 237 YPG with 11 TD and just 2 INT in the past four games. His favorite target has been sophomore wide receiver Eric Page, who has 391 receiving yards and five touchdowns in this four-game stretch. Toledo can also run the football effectively, averaging 156 YPG on the ground. Junior Adonis Thomas has 905 rushing yards and 368 receiving yards this year with seven TD in his past six games. In his past three college football games, Thomas has racked up an eye-popping 545 total yards (388 rushing 157 receiving).

The Golden Panthers have done a great offensive job lately, averaging 240 rushing YPG over this span and running Darriet Perry (14 TD this year) has scored nine times on the ground in these five contests. Quarterback Wesley Carroll has completed 72% of his passes for 203 YPG and nine touchdowns in the five college football games. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had a run of 508 receiving yards over five games before being held to one catch in the Dec. 4 loss to Middle Tennessee State.

As YouWager.com bettors might recall, in this Little Caesars bowl series, formerly known as the Motor City Bowl, MAC teams have gone just 2-6 SU & ATS in the past eight games. The Rockets won the 2001 Motor City Bowl, but were crushed in their past two appearances in this bowl series, losing 51-25 in 2002 to Boston College and suffering a 39-10 loss to Connecticut in 2004.

This will be the very first bowl for Florida International The Golden Panthers have only been an FBS school since 2004, compiling a 17-52 record in their first six FBS seasons before their 6-6 mark this year.

In past Little Caesars Bowl games with lines of six points or higher, the underdog is 3-1 ATS. In those with less than six, such as this 2010 installment, the favorite has the slight edge at 5-4 ATS.

These schools have split their past two meetings. FIU won big in Toledo, 35-16, in 2008, but the Rockets won the rematch 41-31 in Florida. According to oddsmakers there are two reasons to pick Toledo to win again on Sunday:

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL is 2-11 ATS (15.4%, -10.1 Units) when playing with two weeks or more of rest since 1992. The average score was FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 18.1, OPPONENT 36.0 - (Rating = 1*).

TOLEDO is 50-31 ATS (61.7%, +15.9 Units) as a favorite since 1992. The average score was TOLEDO 33.5, OPPONENT 20.5 - (Rating = 0*).

Eight of the past 11 Little Caesars Bowl games have gone Under the Total. However, sports betting online experts give a highly-rated reason to play the Over:

Play Over - All teams where the total is between 49.5 and 56 (TOLEDO) - off 1 or more straight overs, in a game involving two average teams (+/- 5 PPG diff.) after 7 or more games. (58-24 since 1992.) (70.7%, +31.6 units. Rating = 3*).


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Tony George