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B.Green-Missouri Odds

Columbia, MO - After graduating arguably the most successful class in program history, Missouri had plenty of question marks heading into this season.

A season-opening win and the play of sophomore quarterback Blaine Gabbert helped begin to provide some answers.

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Gabbert and the 25th-ranked Tigers will try to follow a successful season debut with a victory in Saturday night's home opener against Bowling Green.

Oddsmakers from online sports book SPORTSBETTING.com have made Missouri -17.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 91% of bets for this game have been placed on Missouri -17.5 (View College Football bet percentages).

Following back-to-back Big 12 North titles and consecutive bowl game victories, Missouri (1-0) was expected to rebuild this year after losing 23 seniors, namely record-setting quarterback Chase Daniel.

Wide receiver-kick returner Jeremy Maclin left for the NFL with two years of eligibility remaining, getting picked 16th overall by Philadelphia. Defensive end Evander "Ziggy" Hood also was selected in the first round, and the Tigers were left with one of their youngest teams in recent years with 14 seniors on the roster.

Missouri, however, showed few signs of inexperience in last week's 37-9 win over Illinois, which was a touchdown favorite heading into the game.

In his first career start, Gabbert threw for 319 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 39 yards with a score. Danario Alexander had a career-high 10 receptions for 132 yards after missing time with a torn left ACL last season.

"I was really impressed with (Gabbert)," coach Gary Pinkel said. "He was focused. I think the whole team was focused. He showed a lot of toughness. It was a very good first performance."

The defense, under new coordinator Dave Steckel, forced two turnovers, recorded three sacks and did not give up a touchdown until the fourth quarter. The Tigers also limited Illini quarterback Juice Williams to 179 yards after he had 451 yards and five touchdowns in last season's matchup, a 52-42 win for Missouri.

"You've got new guys stepping in and making plays," senior linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. "Guys are hungry. They were eager to get on the field, and it was great for us."

One concern, however, is a running game that was mostly ineffective. Missouri rushed for 117 yards on 37 attempts. Excluding Derrick Washington's 32-yard run, the Tigers' average was 2.4 yards per carry.

They'll also face an opponent that's had success against them and their coach.

Bowling Green (1-0) holds a 3-1 lead in the series and won consecutive meetings over Pinkel-coached Missouri teams in 2001 and 2002, including a 20-13 road victory that spoiled his first game with the Tigers.

The Falcons, who are 11-8 against major conference teams since that season, also split 10 games against Pinkel when he was at Toledo from 1991-2000.

Bowling Green had a strong debut of its own as coach Dave Clawson opened his tenure Sept. 3 with a 31-14 win over visiting Troy. The Falcons scored all of their points unanswered after giving up two touchdowns in the first 20 minutes.

Tyler Sheehan threw for 339 yards and both of his touchdown passes went to Freddie Barnes, who had a school-record 15 receptions for 157 yards.

Like Missouri, Bowling Green struggled with its running game with 50 yards on 28 carries.

The Tigers have won a school-record 11 straight non-conference games and nine in a row at home dating back to 2005.

Bet College Football Week 2

Posted: 9/8/09 10:58PM ET

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