Marshall Thundering Herd vs. USF Bulls Preview, Prediction, Free Pick, 12-20-2018

Marshall Thundering Herd vs. USF Bulls Preview, Prediction, Free Pick, 12-20-2018

Marshall Thundering Herd (8-4) vs USF Bulls (7-5)

Date : 12/20/2018
Time : 8:00 PM
Location : Raymond James Stadium

Pick, Prediction, & Preview:

Marshall Thundering Herd vs USF Bulls

The Marshall Thundering Herd and USF Bulls will meet in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, the opening tipoff is slated for 8:00 PM. The USF Bulls started the season off 7-0 but have since lost 5 straight games while Marshall went 6-2 in Conference USA play but failed to win the division.

Marshall Thundering Herd's Latest Performance :

Marshall is as consistent as it comes when talking college football programs and they will continue adding to their legacy by making their 5th bowl game in as many as 6 years. Marshall is coming off a blowout loss on the road against a young Virginia Tech team as the Thundering Herd defense got shredded for 41 points. QB Isaiah Green has been fairly solid for a redshirt freshman but he was unable to get the deep ball going in this matchup as he was kept to 220 yards, 1 TD, and 1 interception. Green enters the bowl game with 2060 passing yards, 15 TDs, and 10 interceptions but he should be able to have a solid game against a below-average defense like USF. The ground game was as good as it has been this season as backup RB Brenden Knox compiled 204 yards and 2 TDs on 27 carries. Knox has been a non-factor for most of the season as the redshirt freshmen entered the Virginia Tech game with only 158 career yards. Marshall is hoping that they can get back their starting RB in Tyler King back as he is currently listed as questionable heading into the bowl game. Marshall’s top WR Tyre Brady was kept in check last outing as he only racked up 2 catches for 24 yards while Armani Levias had a team-high 5 catches for 69 yards. The defense for Marshall will need to improve after they got shredded by a 5 win Virginia Tech offense who was missing their starting QB. Chase Hancock put together a nice outing by contributing 11 tackles while Channing Hames was able to rack up 2 sacks.

USF Bulls's Latest Performance :

The USF Bulls won’t have to travel far for their for their 4th consecutive bowl game but it wasn’t where the team expected to be after they started the season 7-0 but 5 straight losses in conference play which concluded with a blowout loss against rival UCF. USF has had problems at QB over the last few weeks which may be attributed to the injury of former 5-star recruit Blake Barnett. Both backup QBs saw time against UCF and although neither had a big outing Chris Oladokun showed a better presence in the pocket. Oladokun was able to connect on 7 of his 12 attempts for a total of 77 yards, 1 TD, and 1 interception while Kean only completed 8 of his 17 attempts for a total of 36 yards. Barnett hasn’t been amazing to any standard as he has thrown for 2477 yards, 11 TDs, and 11 interceptions but his experience is a difference maker. Leading rusher Jordan Cronkrite was held in check by USF as he was only able to rack up 30 yards on 10 carries but backup Johnny Ford was able to get loose for 120 yards on 16 carries. Ford enters the bowl game with 737 yards and 8 TDs while Cronkrite comes in with 1095 yards and 9 TDs. Johnny Ford was also the lone pass catcher to record a receiving TD as he led the way with 2 receptions for 39 yards and a TD. The USF defense was unable to keep the high-powered offense of UCF in check even considering they had a backup QB. LB Khalid McGee had a big outing as he contributed 13 tackles while Nick Roberts had the lone interception of the game.

How Marshall Thundering Herd & USF Bulls Matchup.

Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:

Marshall is 4-8 ATS

USF is 4-8 ATS

In-Depth Analysis of each team:

USF ranks 64th in the nation in team scoring as they score an average of 29.2 PPG while Marshall ranks 77th as they score an average of 27.4 PPG.

Marshall ranks 32nd in the nation in team defense as they hold opponents to an average of 22 PPG while USF ranks 91st as they hold opponents to an average of 31.5 PPG.

Against The Spread Selection: USF Bulls +2.5

My reason for the pick :

Marshall may have one of the best defenses on paper but Virginia Tech exposed their top 40 defense last game and USF will be looking to show something after laying a dud the last few weeks. Blake Barnett was the arm on the side of the 7-0 start for the bulls and although his stats don’t tell a lot I think he really elevates this team to where they want to be. The RB duo of Cronkrite and Ford should be able to get going as they have both had their fair share of games this season. USF is playing in their home stadium which should bring out a good crowd and considering they are playing at home they should be comfortable. Take the Bulls.

Betting trends for Marshall Thundering Herd:

  • Marshall is 1-3 ATS when playing teams outside the Conference USA this season.

Betting trends for USF Bulls:

  • USF is 3-2 ATS as an underdog this season.


I am a sports enthusiast and watch every sport from the NFL to the NHL with everything in between. I have followed sports since I was a young kid and have studied deep into statistics for teams, and players. I am always looking for transactions within sports and find in an interest in every game. Playing every sport growing up has led me to understand every game and look for certain trends and stats.