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Cheez-It Bowl’s Best Bet: Miami-Oklahoma State

No, you’re not dreaming. We’ve finally made it to the end of 2020. College football bowl season is upon us!

Tuesday’s games offer two extremely intriguing bowl matchups, one featuring the only non-New Year’s Six game between ranked opponents: Miami vs. Oklahoma State. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like COVID-19 will stop us from betting games, so let’s dive into our picks for December 29!

ICYMI: OutKick Bets laid out why they think Colorado covering against Texas is the best value bet of the week. You can read that fantastic analysis and more by clicking here.

As for myself, I’ve handicapped the incredible Cheez-It Bowl – the game I’m most excited for — not just because I’m addicted to Cheez-Its, but because we’re in for an outstanding game between two evenly matched opponents. Maybe the best since Cheez-It vs. Goldfish, but I digress.

As always, you can make these picks via our incredible partners at the FanDuel Sportsbook (seriously, they’re the best), and new users can still get a risk-free bet of up to $1,000 at sign-up. You can sign-up for an account by clicking this link.

Disclaimer: Bet at your own risk. Odds via the FanDuel Sportsbook and are subject to change.

No. 18 Miami Hurricanes (8-2) vs. No. 21 Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-3)

  • Moneyline: MIA: (+100), OK ST: (-122)
  • Spread: MIA: +1.5 (+115), OK ST: -1.5 (-105)
  • Total: Over 60.5: (-114), Under 60.5: (-102)

Mike Gundy’s Oklahoma State squad looks to put a stamp on their up-and-down season with a win over the Canes, while The U look to upset the Cowboys in a game they’d probably be favored in had they not lost embarrassingly to UNC, 62-26 on December 12.

Indeed, there’s a lot to love about both teams, and the weather won’t be a factor at the beautiful Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. There is, however, a crucial mismatch for both teams, the winner likely exploiting their opponent’s weaknesses better.

Why Miami will cover:

Take away their massive loss to UNC, and Miami is undoubtedly the favorite to win this game, albeit probably not by much, but the money would be there. In handicapping, we call that an overreaction to recency bias. Yes, the loss was massive, but strip these two teams down to their core, and very little separates them in nearly every major category.

The Hurricanes hold a potential Achilles heel for Oklahoma State. Versatile quarterback D’Eriq King is having a tremendous year running Miami’s offense, not just with his arm but using his mobility. He might be the best player on the field on Tuesday. That’s dangerous against an Oklahoma State defense susceptible to points.

The Hurricanes’ defense can be in for a big game, too. Oklahoma State’s offense turned the ball over 16 times in 10 games. If Miami’s turnover chain comes out, it’s terrible news for the Cowboys.

Why Oklahoma State will cover:

Let’s address the elephant in the room – Chuba Hubbard won’t play, and the Cowboys have been anything but consistent this year. They’ve lost 3 of their last 6, including losses to Oklahoma and Texas. They dominated Baylor in their final regular-season game, though, and if their defense gets back to the way they played earlier this season, they should come out of Tuesday victorious.

UNC laid out the blueprint on how to beat Miami – run the ball down their throat and don’t turn the ball over. Quarterback Spender Sanders has been solid, and despite Hubbard opting out to get ready for the NFL draft, the Cowboys have gotten big games from both Dominic Richardson and Dezmon Jackson. Miami allows 180.6 rushing yards per game and gave up a pitiful 554 to the Tar Heels, while the Cowboys average about 195 yards on the ground per game.

The worry of inconsistency is there, but Oklahoma State has the offense to execute UNC’s game script and beat Miami. They just can’t turn the ball over.

My Take: Miami +100

I told you there’d be outliers. Here’s Miami’s: they’re 19th in red zone scoring (89.74%), while Oklahoma State is 69th in allowing red-zone scores (84%). That said, the Cowboys are excellent at defending on third down (2nd in the nation). Miami needs to move the ball on early downs to be effective, but it bombs away once inside the 20-yard line.

Consider Miami’s losses, too. They lost to Clemson (who doesn’t fail to Clemson?) and a UNC squad they’d like a second chance against. The Hurricanes may win most of their games at a tight margin, but they win, and that’s due in big part to their positive turnover margin. Oklahoma State is much more susceptible to turnovers.

Past performance isn’t indicative of future performance, and while Miami still has only one bowl win since 2006, I like them in this one. Take the Moneyline for an outright Hurricanes win, and buy yourself a lifetime supply of the most excellent baked snack on the planet.

Written by Erick Valenciano

Erick Valenciano is a So Cal native who moved to Las Vegas to pursue a career in broadcasting and sports betting. A graduate of Cal State Fullerton, Erick paid his way through betting on sports and selling event tickets. He's also a mid-90s golfer and insists nobody will ever break his heart worse than the Chargers have.

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