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Texas Longhorns vs. Missouri Tigers Point Spread - Pick

Texas Longhorns (6-6 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. Missouri Tigers (7-5 SU, 7-5 ATS)
Outdoors Texas Bowl
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 at 9PM EST
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: TEX +2.5/MIZZ -2.5
Over/Under Total: 61

The Texas Longhorns face the Missouri Tigers in the Outdoors Texas Bowl on Wednesday at NRG Stadium in Houston. It's an interesting bowl-game between the scrappy Texas Longhorns, a 6-6 squad out of the Big 12 and the SEC's fast-finishing Tigers. In their last game, Texas fell to Texas Tech on November 24, 27-23. Missouri, meanwhile, also last played on the 24th, beating Arkansas, 48-45. It was the Tigers' 6th straight win, as they finished the season in red-hot fashion. Let's see what we can come up with in this Texas Bowl prediction.

Missouri didn't cover the spread in their last game, but had covered 7 straight spreads leading up to that in what was a dramatic about-face for a struggling Tigers' bunch. They started the season with a warm-up win, before losing their next five games. After a 25-point loss to Georgia, it was hard to find the silver-lining. Since then, they have won every game, averaging a robust 51 points a game in that stretch. Granted, there were no killers on the last half of their schedule this season, but it was still impressive to see a team that couldn't get much right in the first part of the season tearing apart their competition in such a manner.

The Missouri offense is bolstered by the fine play of QB Drew Lock, who threw an immense 43 touchdowns on nearly 3700 yards passing. He works with a varied cast of talented ball-catchers, including WR J'Mon Moore, who was over 1000 yards with 10 touchdowns. Also chipping in with big production has been speedy Emanuel Hall and Jonathan Johnson. Tight end Albert Okwuegbunam, who has 11 touchdowns among his 25 receptions, was also effective. On the ground, the Tigers wield a trio of effective backs in Ish Witter, Larry Roundtree, III., and Damarea Crockett. It's a potent offense and one that has gotten better and better over the course of the season.

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The Missouri defensive stats won't bear out their true effectiveness, as their numbers are weighed down by that horrible start to the season. When their offense started clicking, it gave new life to the defense. Until their regular-season closing shootout win over Arkansas, they have not allowed over 21 points in five straight weeks. They are strong at linebacker with the active duo of Cale Garrett and Terez Hall. They have ample pass-rushing juice along the line with Marcell Frazier and Terry Beckner, Jr. And while there have been some rocky moments in pass-defense over the course of the season. They got playmaking from the likes of Anthony Sherills, Kaleb Prewitt, DeMarkus Acy, and others. Texas offers a certain level of offensive menace unlike the teams which this defense has thrived, so we'll see if they can make it work against the Longhorns.

In Tom Herman's first season with UT, it's been up-and-down for the Longhorns. At the same time, it's fair that they've done enough to make their 6-6 mark a bit misleading. They beat some good teams, like Iowa State on the road, Kansas State, and West Virginia. Against high-powered teams like USC, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, they lost very narrowly. A home loss to end the season to Texas Tech was a bad development and probably their worst result of the season. But all in all, they had a lot of life and tried really hard, with some nice surprises along the way.

The Longhorns offense has been led by true freshman QB Sam Ehlinger. His stats won't bear out his true level of worth. With a dash of clutch, the youngster has added a nice presence behind center for the offense this season. He was prolific on occasion, while also being useful with his feet. For a kid coming straight out of high school, he handled himself well. His leading the team in rushing wasn't a good sign, as they've been trying to work in Daniel Young, Toneil Carter, and Kyle Porter. Aerially, they get some solid play from Collin Johnson, Lil'Jordan Humprey, Reggie Hemphill-Mapps, and Armanti Foreman.

The Longhorns' defense was pretty solid in allowing just over 21 points a game, not too bad considering the conference they play in and the teams they faced this season. They have really thrived against the run this season. Helping in that regard have been Malik Jefferson (questionable), Poona Ford, Gary Johnson, Anthony Wheeler, and Naashon Hughes. The front-seven is pretty solid. The secondary hasn't been great, but they have made a lot of plays. Holton Hill scored two touchdowns, with DeShon Elliott also scoring twice with his six interceptions. But Elliott has declared for the draft and will skip this game, which is a bad loss. Also making plays this season in the back have been corners Kris Boyd and Antwuan Davis.

One might be inclined to give Missou the edge based on a strong finish to the season. At the same time, some could be within their rights to question their opposition heading down the stretch of the regular season. The close win over a bad Arkansas team doesn't bode well for this matchup. But Texas losing 4 of their last 7 with a loss to a so-so Texas Tech team in their last game isn't promising either. I see a positive matchup here for the Missouri offense and I like the Tigers to cover the spread.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Missouri Tigers minus 2.5 points. Bet the Texas vs. Missouri game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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