The Frisco Bowl on December 19th heats up with a clash of mid-major titans and two key betting lines: UTSA Roadrunners favored to win by 12.5 points and a combined score projected at 51.5 points (over/under). While UTSA holds both advantages statistically, predicting this battle requires a nuanced approach beyond point differentials. Let’s delve into the AI models, analytics, and key factors that might determine the victor and the final score.

Game Information

Scooter’s Coffee Frisco Bowl: UTSA vs. Marshall

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 19

Time: 9 p.m. ET

Location: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas

UTSA vs Marshall

AI Models and Their Score Predictions:

  • BetQL: Despite UTSA’s favoritism, BetQL predicts a tighter contest with a 30-26 Marshall win, keeping the score under the over/under at 56 points. They heavily weight Marshall’s strong defense and home-field advantage.
  • ESPN’s Football Power Index (FPI): FPI gives UTSA a narrow edge, with a 58.4% chance of winning and a projected score of 28-27, falling just below the over/under threshold. They acknowledge UTSA’s recent offensive surge and home-field boost.
  • SportsLine: Their model predicts a nail-biter, with UTSA winning 24-23, again staying slightly under the over/under at 47 points. They see UTSA’s offensive firepower matching Marshall’s defensive dominance, setting the stage for a low-scoring, tightly contested affair.
  • Gridiron Genius: This deep learning model surprisingly favors Marshall 30-26, pushing the projected score to 56 points, right at the over/under line. It considers historical data, team tendencies, and opponent matchups, giving the Herd a slight edge offensively.
  • CFB_Spread_Betting_Model: This XGBoost-powered model also sees Marshall as a threat, predicting a 29-25 Herd victory, bringing the combined score to 54 points, just above the over/under. Its focus on advanced metrics like expected points added (EPA) and win probability added (WPA) gives the Herd the analytical edge offensively.

Averaging the AI Predictions:

While the spread favors UTSA, the AI models paint a diverse picture. Marshall’s defensive prowess and home-field advantage are acknowledged, creating a potentially closer game than the point spread suggests. The score predictions also range from tight defensive battles to offensive shootouts, making the over/under a crucial betting consideration.

Pythagorean Theorem and Strength of Schedule:

Applying the Pythagorean theorem, which estimates team strength based on points scored and allowed, gives us a near-tie: UTSA 28.4, Marshall 28.3. This further confirms the potential for a tightly contested game, with the final score likely falling close to the over/under line.

Key Injuries and Trends:

UTSA loses key offensive players like Willie McCoy and De’Corian Clark, potentially impacting their scoring. However, Marshall also loses Toby Payne and Cade Conley, weakening their offensive depth. Both teams have shown offensive inconsistency throughout the season, adding another layer of uncertainty to the score prediction.

Weather and Transfer Portal:

The game is played outdoors in Frisco, Texas, where December weather can be unpredictable. Strong winds or rain could favor Marshall’s run-heavy offense, potentially pushing the score closer to the over/under. Additionally, any late news regarding players opting out due to the transfer portal could significantly impact both teams’ rosters and offensive output.

utsa and marshall

My Prediction and the Best Pick:

Considering all these factors, I predict a close, defensive battle with either team capable of pulling off the win. UTSA’s offensive improvement and home-field advantage give them a slight edge, but Marshall’s defensive dominance and underdog mentality shouldn’t be underestimated.

My Pick: UTSA wins 27-24, but the game will be decided in the final minutes. As for the over/under, I lean towards under 51.5 due to the defensive strengths of both teams and the potential impact of injuries and weather. However, if you believe UTSA’s offensive improvement will overcome Marshall’s defense, the over is a tempting option.

PICK – take Marshall +12.5

This game could be a nail-biter, and covering the spread might be the safer bet. Remember, stay informed about late-breaking news and weather updates before making your final pick. Enjoy the game!