Lending Tree Bowl Betting Odds And Preview: Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty

On Saturday, college football fans in Michigan will get their first chance to root for one of their own when Eastern Michigan takes on Liberty in the LendingTree Bowl in Mobile, Ala. The Eagles are big underdogs based on the betting odds.

EMU is one of five Michigan programs that will see bowl game action in 2021. The others are Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Michigan State, and the University of Michigan. For Eastern Michigan, this is its fourth bowl game since 2016, but only the sixth in school history.

LendingTree Bowl Details

Eastern Michigan (7-5) vs, Liberty (7-5)

WHEN: Dec. 18, at 5:45 p.m. ET
WHERE: Hancock Whitney Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

The LendingTree Bowl was founded in 1999, and it was originally played under the name Mobile Alabama Bowl. Traditionally, it has pitted a school from Conference USA against a school from the Mid-American Conference, but that has not always been the case. In 2021, Liberty, whose football team is independent, will face Eastern Michigan from the Mid-American Conference.

Betting Odds: Eastern Michigan vs. Liberty

DraftKings EMU +8.5 (-105)
Liberty -8.5 (-115)
EMU +270
Liberty -350
Over 59.5 (+100)
Under 59.5 (-120)
BetMGM EMU +9 (-110)
Liberty -9 (-110)
EMU +275
Liberty -350
Over 58.5 (-110)
Under 58.5 (-110)
BetRivers EMU +9.5 (-112)
Liberty -9.5 (-109)
EMU +255
Liberty -345
Over 58.5 (-110)
Under 58.5 (-110)

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Eagles Are Disciplined Team

The Eagles rank first in the FBS in fewest penalties per game (3.42), fewest penalty yards assessed per game (30.5), fewest penalties overall (41), and fewest penalty yards against (366). Coach Chris Creighton believes in two things firmly: Play hard, and don’t make mistakes. The Eagles won’t put themselves in a bad situation, which will place pressure on the Flames.

College Football’s Most Electrifying Quaterback?

Some have called Liberty’s Malik Willis the most electrifying quarterback in college football. A transfer from Auburn, Willis has made the most of his opportunity at Liberty. The junior led the Flames with 68 yards per game rushing, and he’s thrown for 24 touchdowns. He leads a wide-open offensive attack that leaves opposing linebackers on their heels. The Eagles will need to use their front seven to contain Willis, whom experts are predicting to be a first- or second-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

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Game Notes

  • Eastern Michigan is 4-3 against the spread this season.
  • The Eagles have failed to cover the spread when they have been underdogs by 9.5 points or more in 2021.
  • Eastern Michigan is 5-7 to the over
  • Liberty is 6-6 against the spread in 2021.
  • Liberty has been the favorite by at least 9.5-points five times in 2021, and the Flames are 3-2 against the spread in those games.
  • Liberty is 4-7-1 to the over
  • The combined points per game of the two teams is 62.8, which is 4.3 points more than the Over/Under for the bowl game.

Betting Recommendation

The Flames have played a tougher schedule and have been battle-tested this season. They have a quick defensive unit, but their strength is on the offensive side with Willis, who can hurt opponents with his legs or his arm. Eastern Michigan will have difficulty chasing him down, and the score will go up, up, and away. Too high for the Eagles.

Bet the over and give the points with the Flames.

About the Author

Dan Holmes

Dan Holmes has written three books about sports. He previously worked for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Major League Baseball. He enjoys writing, running, and lemon bars. He lives near Lake Michigan with his daughters and usually has an orange cream soda nearby.