Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. North Texas Mean Green Picks

December 20, 2020

Date:Monday, December 21st
Time:2:30 PM ET
Network:ESPN
Venue:Brooks Stadium
Spread:Appalachian State -21
O/U:67

The 8-3 Appalachian State Mountaineers meet the 4-5 North Texas Mean Green in the Myrtle Beach Bowl at 2:30 PM ET in Brooks Stadium. This is the first bowl game of the season and the Mountaineers come in as 21-point favorites. We’re expecting plenty of points on the board with a 67 over/under. Let’s dive into how this game will go and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of our CFB Picks and Predictions as every single bowl game will be covered.

Trends

  • Mountaineers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • Mean Green are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
  • Under is 6-1-1 in Mountaineers last 8 games following a straight-up win.
  • Under is 14-4 in Mean Green last 18 games following a straight-up win.

When The Appalachian State Mountaineers Have The Ball

The Mountaineers might have three losses, but Marshall, Coastal Carolina, and Louisiana-Lafayette are all elite teams and every game was a close one. This is a good Appalachian State team and there’s a reason they come in as three-touchdown favorites. It’s a balanced offense led by senior QB Zac Thomas, who’s up to 2,075 yards and 19 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. He must take better care of the football against North Texas as their offense will take advantage. 

The Mountaineers have rushed it for 500 more yards than they’ve passed it for. Sophomore Camerun Peoples leads the way with 807 yards and seven touchdowns, but five others are over 100 yards on the season. Daetrich Harrington (595 yards, 7 TD) and Nate Noel (484 yards, 3 TD) are the main complementary pieces and QB Thomas can run it as well. When Thomas does drop back, he’s typically looking for Thomas Hennigan or Malik Williams. Each are over 40 receptions on the season with the third-leading receiver at 20. 

When The North Texas Mean Green Have The Ball

The Mean Green found a way into a bowl game with more losses than wins. It speaks to the weirdness of 2020 if anything. Their two worst losses were to Southern Miss (10 pts) and Charlotte (28 pts). Sophomore QB Austin Aune has give North Texas a bit of life and he’s coming off his best game to date with 302 yards and five touchdowns on top of 22 rushing yards and another score. Unfortunately, Aune is out for COVID-related reasons and Jason Beam will get the start.

Leading-receiver Jalen Darden is an absolute animal and he hauled in eight balls for 173 yards and four touchdowns a week ago. He’s up to74 receptions with 1,190 yards and a whopping 19 touchdowns on the season. Darden might be the best player on the entire field in this game. They have a few complimentary options but expect Darden to see 20 targets in this matchup.

Spread Prediction

The Pick: North Texas +21

I like the Mean Green to find a way to keep this one close. The Mountaineers will struggle to contain Darden if North Texas just targets him and while I expect Appalachian State to wear North Texas down, it won’t be by more than 21 points. North Texas won’t ever slow down and Appalachian State would rather run the clock out when they have a lead. Give me North Texas to keep it within three scores. 

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Under 67
Final Score Prediction: Appalachian State 38, North Texas 24

Look for Appalachian State to run the ball a ton to get a lead and to hold the lead. The North Texas Mean Green want to play fast and throw the ball. It’s not how Appalachian State plays and they’ll be the ones controlling the pace as the much more disciplined squad. This is a high number and the only responsible bet to make is on the under. It’s not comfortable with the Mean Green having a bad defense, but you also don’t want the over as you watch the Mountaineers chug the clock away to kick an FG. 

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