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Alamo Bowl Missouri vs. Northwestern

December 29, 2008

College Football Alamo Bowl - Missouri Tigers vs. Northwestern Wildcats (Monday 8:00 PM ET)

The #21 Tigers enter Monday's Valero Alamo Bowl against the #23 Northwestern Wildcats as 12-point favorites, bettors should be reminded that Missouri has covered just three of their last 10 games.

Missouri was favored in all but two of those 10 games and were often listed as double-digit favorites like they will be when they take the field at 8 pm ET on ESPN this Monday night.

The lack of success against the spread has cost bettors a lot of cash as the Tigers continue to garner support because of the explosive offense led by quarterback Chase Daniel and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

Daniel and Maclin headline a passing attack ranked fourth in the country with an average of 340.4 passing yards per game.

The rushing game, led by Derrick Washington, chips in 157.1 yards per game to rank the Tigers sixth in total offensive yards and points (43.2 per game).

Despite the impressive numbers, Tigers bettors haven't profited this season for one simple reason: the defense.

Missouri's defense is one of the worst in the country and ranks dead last, 119th, against the pass with 285.8 yards allowed per game.

Add 129.2 rushing yards allowed per game and you have a unit that ranks 101st overall in yards against and 76th overall in points allowed (27.5).

That isn't a recipe for success against the spread and after covering their first two spreads of the season, they have found little success since. members don't seem worried by the numbers though, and the early numbers show the Tigers getting 66% of the support for the Valero Alamo Bowl.

The lack of support won't faze a Northwestern team that's been underestimated all season. The #23 Wildcats have covered three of their last four games and were an underdog in all four contests.

The only game in which the Wildcats struggled was a 45-10 loss to Ohio State as 12 -point underdogs. They beat Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota straight up in the other three games.

Statistically, Northwestern doesn't have any numbers that will grab the attention of the average bettor.

They rank in the middle of the road both offensively and defensively, scoring 24.5 points per game with an offense that gets 357.5 yards of production per game.

On defense, they allow 337.8 yards per game but excel in allowing just 19.3 points per game.

The ability to keep teams out of the endzone has been their key to success all year and will be put to the test against the offensive-minded Tigers.

If the Wildcats can hold steady with a few big defensive stops, the offense could take advantage of a bad defense to cash in.

A key injury to keep track of leading up to the game is the status of running back Tyrell Sutton. Sutton leads Northwestern with 772 rushing yards and eight touchdowns but has missed the last four games with a wrist injury. He's currently listed as questionable for this game. 

For picks and predictions on all bowl games, visit the college football betting forum.

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