Armed Forces Bowl Pick

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Armed Forces Bowl Pick

LA Tech

vs.

Navy

12/23/16

Of all the bowl Games, the Armed Forces Bowl has probably seen the most line movement since the spreads were released. Most of that is because of injuries and because Navy didn’t look the same with a backup quarterback against Army. Currently, Louisiana Tech is a -5.5 point favorite for the Game in Fort Worth.

The Midshipmen actually opened as favorites, but fell to Temple in the AAC title Game and lost three key players for the season in the process. Because of that, it’s hard to take any of their previous results into account outside of that Army Game. And with a defense that didn’t exactly shut down opponents, it could be a problem going against high-flying Louisiana Tech.

The Bulldogs are known for scoring and that’s how they got here, reeling off seven straight wins in the middle of the season. The issue is that they slipped up in the final two Games, losing at Southern Miss and Western Kentucky, albeit both solid opposition. They can Scorein bunches as seen in their 44 points per Game and that could be the difference against a Navy team that gave up a ton of points to good offenses all season.

against good passing offenses like Tulsa and Houston, the Navy defense couldn’t do much. And that’s where LA. Tech comes in with Ryan Higgins, who has the third-most passing yards in the country. Higgins has 4,208 yards for 37 TDs and 8 INTs, while completing 65.8% of his passes. Plus, he didn’t play in the opener against Arkansas. Higgins has one slip up all season and that came a couple Games ago, but outside of that, he’s usually automatic for at least three passing touchdowns to talented receivers such as Trent Taylor (124 receptions, 1,570 yards, 10 TDs) and Carlos Henderson (72 receptions, 1,406 yards, 17 TDs).

But what makes this offense dynamic is that they’ve been able to run the ball for most of the season, totaling 5.3 yards per carry as a team with Jarred Craft (1,011 yards) and Boston SCott. They struggled in recent outings, but that’s because they fell down early and couldn’t use the running Game like they wanted.

The question will be if the Bulldogs defense can step up and stop Navy from running through them. They allowed close to 33 points per Game and that was a main reason they lost their final two Games. However, it’s unknown how they’ll fair against the triple-option of Navy.

again, the Midshipmen have scored a bunch this year, but they’ll be without top quarterback Will Worth as well as a couple backs. Sophomore Zach Abey has featured in the last two Games and he’s simply not as efficient at quarterback. Sure, he can run the ball just fine, but in a Game that’s expected to be high scoring, he will have to attempt a pass once in a while. As seen in his two starts, that won’t be good, already with Four interceptions on 23 pass attempts. If the Bulldogs get out to a quick lead with that quick-strike offense, it could be trouble for Navy if Abey has to pass. But on the other end of that, LA. Tech could have trouble with the triple-option and that’ll make this a back-and-forth contest.

However, with a starting a sophomore quarterback that hasn’t looked great in his first couple outings, it’s hard to back Navy in this one.

The Bulldogs have covered in their last Four bowl Games and are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 non-Conference Games. The Midshipmen are 4-1 ATS in their last five following an ATS loss, although that loss was the one to Army. They are also 8-3 ATS in their last 11 bowl Games, but 0-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.

Our Pick – Well, the obvious problem with handicapping this one would be the Navy injuries, particularly the QB. Our model has Navy winning this one easily, however, Our model does not account for these latest developments.

That being said, bettors often over value the QB position, choosing to ignore that there are 10 other players on the field that help to make a QB look good, or bad.

After losing to Army, we’d expect an about face from Navy and figure on seeing a huge effort. We’ll take Our chances here with what should be a very motivated and live underdog. Navy +5.5 (with any luck we’ll get +6 or even +7 by Game time.)

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