2023 Cure Bowl – Miami Ohio vs Appalachian St

2023 Cure Bowl – Miami Ohio vs Appalachian St

posted December 11

The Game

We’ve got ourselves some SWEET ACTION on opening bowl Saturday as the MAC Champions from Miami Ohio go to battle with the Mountaineers from Appalachian St. The Redhawks have already won 11 (!) games and have only lost to Toledo (by four points; QB injured in the game) and YOUR Miami Hurricanes. Appalachian St rattled off five consecutive wins to get into the Sun Belt title game but they were blown out by the mighty Troy Trojans. That game was actually close heading into the 4th Q (21-17) before Troy went FREAKY FREAKY ALL NIGHT LONG and scored 28 points in the final frame.

The Details

Appalachian St -6 Miami Ohio (47)

MEGALOCKS LINE – Appalachian St -7

“Vegas” Implied Projected Score: Appalachian St 26.5 Miami Ohio 20.5

Appalachian St offense vs Miami Ohio defense

The Mountaineers have a potent and balanced offense (#20 FBS total offense, #49 rush, #23 pass) and their THROW GAME is gonna pose a serious challenge to a Redhawks secondary that’s faced a REALLY weak set of opposing QBs. We don’t expect them to get much done on the ground vs a stout Miami run D (#3 MAC, #33 FBS), particularly without #1 RB Nate Noel who’s hit the transfer portal, but at least they’ve got depth at the RB position. QB Joey Aguilar had a fine regular season (33-9 TD to INT) and he’s got a deep set of WR targets with which to MATRICULATE the ball down the field. The top-three WRs are all expected to play in this one (Robinson/Horn/Jackson) and Aguilar has only been sacked 18 times in 428 attempts (team 20; #3 Sun Belt). That’s good news when facing a Miami pass rush that features three doods with 7+ sacks. Miami has been solid vs the pass (#18 FBS pass efficiency D) but like we said earlier, this will be their sternest challenge BY FAR in terms of a team that can work you over through the air.

Miami Ohio offense vs Appalachian St defense

The Redhawks lost starting QB Brett Gabbert in October and backup QB Aveon Smith did close to nothing thru the air (50%, 2-2 TD to INT) but at least he provided a reliable rushing threat for opposing defenses to respect. Smith has entered the transfer portal BUT it’s not known as we approach press time whether or not he will play in this game. We don’t think he’ll play, and if that’s the case, the QB duties will likely fall to something called a Hunter Hesson who hasn’t thrown a pass all year. They’ll still have a decent rushing attack to fall back upon led by RB Rashad Amos (891, 12 TD) but it’s hard to know what to expect from the THROW GAME. Hesson is almost certainly a better passer, but he doesn’t have the experience, nor the familiarity with the receiving corps. Appalachian St was weak vs the run during the regular season (#111) but solid vs the pass (#27 pass efficiency D) so it appears as tho Miami will try and go with their typical game plan of slow/boring/occasional deep shot and see what happens. One final note. The Redhawks’ most dangerous offensive weapon WR Gage Larvadain was back for the MAC title game but he hasn’t been the same since he was injured early in the season.

Trends, Intangibles and More!

Both teams have good special teams but Miami’s unit is one of the best in the nation….The Redhawks rank #1 (!) in the country in net punting and PK Graham Nicholson has hit an impossible 26/27 FG attempts…..It looks like he’ll be playing in the bowl game…..The Mountaineers played the much tougher schedule (#95 vs #130) and recall that they took UNC to 2-OT before losing a heartbreaker.


We’ll roll with the team that we know can SCORE the FOOTBALL. We don’t know what to expect from the Miami Ohio offense other than it will be some shade of “crappy”. Laying less than a TD seems reasonable.


Lean – Appalachian St -6


‘Official play’ implies this pick is one of our favorites of the week (perceived value, match-up, coaching, trends, etc.). We’re currently playing these picks for the same amount as the leans but it’s up to you how you want to manage your bankroll. Please see the Week in Review posts for more detail.

‘Lean’ implies we are placing a wager on the game.

‘No leanage’ implies we won’t have any action on the game.

Team totalsWe list the implied number based on the point spread and total when our analysis is posted. If a team total ends up being an official play we will post a widely available number at the time of pick release.