AFR Celebration Bowl Odds, Pick & NCAAF Betting Preview
North Carolina A&T and Alcorn State square off in the very first Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, set to take place at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome on Saturday, December 19, with kickoff at high noon Eastern time on ESPN. The Aggies of North Carolina A&T are 1.5-point favorites in this game, and the over/under total is 51.5 points.
— AFR Celebration Bowl (@CelebrationBowl) December 17, 2015
Both of these schools are making their first bowl game appearances. This is the bowl game featuring the MEAC and SWAC champions, all historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Alcorn State knocked off Grambling State in the SWAC Championship game, 49-21, to earn the conference’s bowl berth. North Carolina A&T finished atop the MEAC in a tie with Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina Central, earning the berth on the basis of having the highest Sagarin rating. Read full TV schedule here.
Why you should pick North Carolina A&T (-1)
Aggie running back Tarin Cohen is a key force for this team, earning the MEAC Offensive Player of the Year award for the 9-2 squad. He ran for 1,248 yards, making it three straight seasons with at least 1,000 yards) and is North Carolina A&T’s all time leading rusher with 3,736 yards. He averaged 113.5 yards per game this season. If he gets loose, he will terrorize Alcorn State all day long.
Why you should pick Alcorn State (+1)
Senior quarterback John Gibbs Jr. was the key for much of the Braves’ 9-3 season, but he went down with an ankle injury on Halloween. Sophomore Lenorris Footman has been the quarterback the rest of the way, and he picked up 303 total yards and was a factor in four touchdowns in the SWAC title game. Footman has 962 passing yards and 961 rushing yards in his starts this year. Gibbs Jr. could return for the bowl game in a game-time decision.
Expert Pick and Scoring Prediction
Even though North Carolina A&T is a slight favorite, Alcorn State can score in bunches. The Aggies have struggled to score consistently, and they haven’t played since November 21. Because of Alcorn State’s superior offense and shorter layoff (only two weeks), I am picking them to win and cover.