Of the New Year's Eve games, the Armed Forces and Texas Bowls have the most interesting matchups with run-oriented offenses against pass-happy attacks.
Two of the bowl games on December 31 involve teams from the service schools that focus on the run, matched up against opponents with prolific passing offenses. Air Force, though, may have an easier time against Houston than Navy will have facing Missouri.
Air Force, a 4 ½-point dog to Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl, brings the No. 1 pass defense in the country, featuring a veteran secondary. They will need to cool off the Cougars’ explosive passing game to have a chance to pull off the upset.
The Falcons did give up a lot of yards passing to BYU in their last game of the regular season however, and Justin cautions against putting too much into the Falcons’ pass D numbers.
Navy, a 6 ½-point dog in the Texas Bowl, could be in for a rough day against Missouri and QB Blaine Gabbert who is now fully recovered from a midseason ankle injury that hampered his production and season-long stats.
The Midshipmen have been vulnerable against the pass this year, and they will also not be able to take much advantage of Missouri’s big weakness, pass D, since the Midshipmen rarely pass out of their triple-option offense.
The Insight Bowl will feature two teams with unproductive offenses but better defenses in Iowa St and Minnesota. The Golden Gophers were last in the Big Ten in offense, while the Cyclones fared a bit better in the Big 12, but not by much. With the total set at 48 ½ and Minnesota a 2 ½-point favorite, Justin has small leans on both the side and total.
The Sun Bowl presents an interesting set of game and betting circumstances with Oklahoma a 10-point favorite over No. 19 Stanford. The line opened at 10, went all the way down to 7 ½, and has now climbed fully back up to 10. A lot of that might have to do with speculation and information concerning the QB situation for Stanford.
The Cardinal’s starting QB this year, Andrew Luck, has an injury and may not play. If he can’t go, backup Tavita Pritchard will get the call. Pritchard was the starter two years ago, but proved ineffective, and with Luck as the starter this year, Stanford’s offense blossomed and put up big numbers against some of the top defenses in the country. Justin gives a thorough analysis of the QB situation and the betting lines involved.
No. 12 Virginia Tech brings their strong running game up against Tennessee’s average run D in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and Justin gives an opinion on the betting lines that have the Hokies as a six-point favorite and the total set at 49.
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