2022 Independence Bowl, Houston vs. UL: TV, time and Home Field Sports staff picks

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Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen reacts to a call during the second half of the Birmingham Bowl NCAA college football game Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Birmingham, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

In case you missed it, the Home Field Sports crew is holding their second annual College Bowl Pick ‘Em, and we’re hoping you’re the big benefactor from our predictions.

Like we did last year, we started with $1,000 Bowl Bucks, and we’re making a play on each of the 42 bowl games this season. And when it’s over, we’ll take whatever money we have left and make a “Final Jeopardy” type pick in the National Championship Game in Inglewood, Calif., on Jan. 9, 2023.

Below are the picks from sports betting director Zach Ewing, along with staff writers Jim Derry, Spencer Urquhart and Gabe Henderson for the Independence Bowl, as it appeared in our original 2022-23 College Football Bowl Guide (Part 1).

We continue with today’s Independence Bowl, and we will keep you up to date with where we all stand.

NOTE: These predictions were originally based off lines and spreads as of early afternoon on Tuesday, Dec. 13, at Caesars Sportsbook.

INDEPENDENCE BOWL

Houston (7-5, -240) vs. UL (6-6, +196)

Where: Shreveport, Louisiana

When/TV: Dec. 23, 3 p.m. ESPN

Dec. 13 line/total (for contest): Houston -6.5, O/U 58

Dec. 23 morning line/total: Houston -3.5 (ML -278), UL ML +222; O/U 56.5

Zach Ewing: Boy, what a better bowl matchup this would have been last year. Instead, which team can shake off the disappointment of an underwhelming year? Eh, take the points. The bet: UL +6.5 for $11.

Jim Derry: All I read about this game, every single pick I have read has Houston covering. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to eat Aunt Mabel’s leftovers. Therefore, I won’t pick anything, because I certainly don’t like the Cajuns in this spot. The bet: None.

Spencer Urquhart: This is one of my top plays of this bowl season, and I hate to say it as a UL alum, but the Cajuns are outmatched here. Houston has a much better offense, and while their defense has struggled, they should be able to contain a Cajuns offense that is without promising quarterback Ben Wooldridge. The bet: Houston -6.5 for $44.

Gabe Henderson: Both of these teams can score points at an alarming rate, especially Houston. There is nothing sexy about a 2 p.m. game on the Friday before Christmas though. Hopefully, the Cougars and Ragin’ Cajuns can make the Independence Bowl fun for viewers. The bet: Over 58 for $22.

WHERE WE STAND

Through Friday (Dec. 22)

All picks and handicaps were made and written on or before Dec. 15, and lines were taken from Caesars Sportsbook as of Dec. 13. Staff writers were allowed to make a pick on the money line, spread, total or make no pick at all.

Although our contest uses lines from Dec. 13, we also list the most up-to-date lines.

Canceled games or ties are considered no picks.

STARTING STACK FOR STAFFERS: $1,000 BOWL BUCKS

Zach Ewing: 10-4 overall, +$22 on Thursday, balance $1,135.

Gabe Henderson: 6-7 overall, +$22 on Thursday, balance $950.

Jim Derry: 5-9 overall, +$22 on Thursday, balance $909.

Spencer Urquhart: 4-9 overall, +11 on Thursday, balance $867.

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