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Oregon, Boise State should push total over in Las Vegas Bowl

Updated December 15, 2017 - 7:47 pm

With the total at 61, the over is the play for Saturday’s Las Vegas Bowl between Oregon and Boise State at Sam Boyd Stadium.

The Ducks won’t have star running back Royce Freeman because he’s sitting out to stay healthy for the NFL draft, but that just means more touches for capable reserves Kani Benoit and Tony Brooks-James.

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert missed six games after breaking his collarbone in September. The sophomore returned for the Ducks’ final two games, home wins over Arizona (48-28) and Oregon St. (69-10) that netted combined scores of 76 and 79 points.

In Herbert’s seven starts this season, the combined scores have been 98, 77, 62, 72, 69, 76 and 79. The Ducks are averaging 52.1 points in those seven games. This is the lowest total Oregon has had when Herbert has been healthy.

Boise State can produce plenty of points, too. The Broncos scored at least 41 points in four of their final six games.

The quarterback combination of Brett Rypien and Montell Cozart has a 24-to-5 touchdown-to-interception ratio for the Broncos.

Four more plays (home team in CAPS):

North Texas-Troy (Under 62): The under is 9-3 overall for Troy, and this is the highest total it has seen all season. The Trojans are going to be without three wide receivers for undisclosed reasons for the New Orleans Bowl. North Texas won’t have injured leading rusher Jeffery Wilson, who ran for 1,215 yards and 16 TDs and averaged 6.5 yards per carry, in the Mean Green’s first 11 games.

Marshall (+4) over Colorado State: Marshall has a 5-0 spread record with two outright wins in five games as an underdog this season. The Thundering Herd lost their final two regular-season games by a total of three points, but that was without leading receiver Tyre Brady. He has recovered from his injury and is ready to play in the New Mexico Bowl. Marshall is ranked 17th in the nation in scoring defense (19.2 ppg). The Herd are 10-1 in their past 11 bowl games, going 5-0 both straight up and ATS since 2009.

Florida Atlantic (-22½) over Akron: This is one of the highest spreads in college bowl history, and I don’t think the number is high enough. This is a true home game for Florida Atlantic, which has won six straight games at FAU Stadium while going 5-1 ATS. Four of those six wins have come by at least 24 points. The Owls should hang at least 50 points on the Zips in the Boca Raton Bowl. I’m also endorsing plays on Florida Atlantic’s team total to go over what I’m expecting to be 48 or less and on the Owls in the first half if the line is 14 or fewer.

Florida International (+7½) over Temple: Florida International has a 6-2 record both straight up and ATS in its past eight games as an underdog. Golden Panthers quarterback Alex McGough has a 12-to-2 TD-to-interception ratio in his past six games. The location, St. Petersburg, Florida, in the Sunshine State, favors Florida International, and so does the motivation because this program is going bowling for the first time since 2011.

Last week: 0-0 against the spread

Season: 38-32-2

Brian Edwards of VegasInsider.com and BrianEdwardsSports.com is providing college football analysis for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Follow @vegasbedwards on Twitter.

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