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Cure Bowl: Liberty vs. Coastal Carolina odds, preview, and pick

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December 23rd, 2020

Independent powerhouse Liberty will face Sun Belt Champion Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 26.

Liberty went 9-1 in 2020, and recorded notable wins over Western Kentucky and Virginia Tech. The Flames' lone loss was a one-point heartbreaker against North Carolina State on Nov. 21. Meanwhile, Coastal Carolina backers feel their team was snubbed from a New Year’s Six Bowl after the Chanticleers went undefeated.

Here are the betting odds and preview you need for the 2020 Cure Bowl.

Liberty vs. #12 Coastal Carolina

Sun, December 27 2020, 12:30 AM

Coastal Carolina Chanticleers

Moneyline

-295

Spread

-6.5

Total

O 59.5

Liberty Flames

Moneyline

+200

Spread

+6.5

Total

U 59.5

Are the Chanticleers for real?

2020 marks only the fourth season for Coastal Carolina in the FBS. The Chanticleers enjoyed a remarkable, undefeated campaign and even scheduled a last minute game with a fellow non-Power 5 undefeated team in BYU, and took them down in thrilling fashion. The Chanticleers finished 18th in the nation in scoring and 15th n points allowed.

Coastal Carolina averaged 223.6 passing yards per game and 223.2 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Grayson McCall is a legit dual threat, and was second on the team in rushing at 473 yards and six touchdowns to go along with his 2,170 passing yards and 23 touchdowns.

The Chanticleers had the third best turnover margin the nation at +11. They also had the fewest number of penalties per game at 3.36. Coastal Carolina converted on 54.3% of their third downs, which was the fourth best mark in the country, and converted on 12-of-15 fourth downs. These are all signs of excellent coaching and head coach Jamey Chadwell deserves national coach of the year honors.

Liberty is no pushover

In similar fashion to the Chanticleers, the Flames are finishing only their third season in the FBS. Head coach Hugh Freeze has reinvigorated his coaching career by turning Liberty into a consistent winning program in only two seasons. The Flames finished 17th in the nation in scoring and 17th in points allowed per game.

Liberty is also very balanced on offense, as the Flames averaged 231.4 passing yards per game and 252.1 rushing yards per game. Their dual threat quarterback, Malik Willis, has been impressive after transferring from Auburn. He led the team in rushing with 807 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with his 2,040 passing yards and 20 touchdowns.

The Flames will try to counter the Chanticleers offense with an excellent third down defense, as they only allowed a 32.3% conversion rate to opponents, which ranked 14th in the country this season. They also had the seventh ranked total defense, allowing only 301.2 yards per game. Liberty won the Cure Bowl last season over Georgia Southern, so they will also have the experience factor as well.

Should Coastal Carolina be in a New Year's Six Bowl?

Coastal Carolina will play angry

The Chanticleers have proven they are willing to take on any opponent at any time and any place. They will come to play in this game and make a statement. While the disappointment of not making a New Year’s Six Bowl game may linger, they will still come out to prove they deserved to be there.

Coastal Carolina went 8-2 ATS this season and was 4-0 ATS when facing a team with a winning record. Liberty went 8-1 ATS on the season and was 2-0 ATS when playing a team with a winning record. Something clearly has to give. I believe Coastal Carolina's desire to get respect on a national level will ultimately be the deciding factor.

Score prediction: Coastal Carolina 28, Liberty 17

NCAAF pick: Coastal Carolina -6.5, Under 59.5

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