Exactly three weeks after the ongoing pandemic forced the cancellation of the undefeated Coastal Carolina Chanticleers from hosting the 9-1 Liberty Flames — a matchup so massively hyped that it drew ESPN’s College GameDay to Conway, South Carolina — the two teams will finally face off in the Cure Bowl.
Though less than a month has passed since the two teams originally planned to meet, much has changed in the football landscape. Coastal Carolina has since played an instant-classic game against the then-undefeated BYU Cougars, emerging unscathed with an 11-0 record. That victory further bolstered the Chanticleers’ profile, pushing them further up the College Football Playoff rankings and putting them in position to potentially claim a national championship in the style of Central Florida’s 2017 title.
Meanwhile, Liberty has remained dormant in the time since the cancellation and, in a sense, found itself left behind among the Group of Five leaders. The Flames no longer reside in the College Football Playoff rankings despite their still-stellar record. Perhaps as a consequence, head coach Hugh Freeze has drawn less interest than expected from the coaching market.
Even so, the Liberty offense remains potent with Malik Willis under center, giving Liberty a reasonable chance of pulling the upset. Likewise, Coastal possesses plenty of firepower to counterbalance, headlined by dual-threat quarterback Grayson McCall.
Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming
You can watch Liberty versus Coastal Carolina in the Cure Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 26 at 12:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can stream it via WatchESPN or the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.
Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends
Point spread: Coastal Carolina -7
Point Total: 60
Money line: Liberty (+200), Coastal Carolina (-295)
Liberty: (73% of handle, 61% of bets)
Coastal Carolina: (27% of handle, 39% of bets)
- Since 2016, Liberty has a 12-7-0 record against the spread as an underdog.
- During the same period, the Flames have an over record of 7-12-0 as the underdog.
- Since 2016, Coastal Carolina has an 8-6-1 record against the spread as the favorite.
- Also during that stretch, the Chanticleers have an over record of 7-7-0 as the favorite.
The Best Bet
Programs like Coastal rarely have a chance to go 12-0. The Chanticleers might never have a chance at a season like this again, and they have all the necessary pieces to keep a good but flawed Liberty team at bay.
Pick: Coastal Carolina -7
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