December 23, 2016
There is one pick tonight.
Take Louisiana Tech -7 spread against Navy for 3% of the bankroll.
The 2016 Armed Forces Bowl takes place tonight as the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs meet the Number 25 ranked Navy Midshipmen in Fort Worth. We find it interesting that although the Midshipmen are ranked in the top 25, that they are listed as not only underdogs in this contest, but sizeable ones at that. The reason for this is certainly warranted as the Midshipmen will be without their star quarterback, Will Worth, for this contest. Normally, we wouldn't put such a high value on the loss of a player, however Worth is/was a crucial part of the Navy offense and we saw how much his loss in both the losses to Temple and Army affected this team. Worth has accounted for 33 of Navy's 64 touchdowns on the season (51.5%), therefore, his loss cannot be understated.
Navy is a team that prefers to run the football and have done so for an average of 310 yards per game this season which ranks 4th in the country. Worth ran the triple-option to near perfection and the fact that opposing defenses were so keyed in on the threat of a run, that it allowed Worth to show off his arm in the passing game. Worth was an extremely proficient passer for a Navy quarterback and from what we have seen thus far, far better than third string option and new QB Zach Abey. Abey threw 4 interceptions in his two starts (both losses) without any touchdowns while completing just barely over 50% of his passes. Therefore, if Navy is going to win this game, it will likely be due to their vaunted ground game.
The Bulldogs have had issues on the defensive side of the football this season, however their issues on defense has come in the passing game. The Bulldogs have actually played well against the run this year, giving up just an average of 131 yards per game on the ground which ranks 30th in the FBS and they have been one of the best run stop units in Conference USA all year. They match-up extremely well on paper and if they can contain the run, we're not sure the Navy passing attack will be able to sustain drives if Abey is under center.
This is simply not a good matchup for Navy. The Midshipmen do not really have the offense designed to exploit weakness in the Bulldogs' secondary. They are also not a team that is built to play from behind on the scoreboard. If they cannot get their ground game going, they will have a hard time keeping pace in this matchup against such an explosive offense. The Louisiana Tech's offense has tons of talent and diverse ways to score points. Their offensive has been nearly unstoppable with quarterback, Ryan Higgins passing for 4,208 yards with 37 touchdowns and just 8 picks. His two favorite targets in Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson have combined for nearly 3,000 receiving yards with 27 touchdowns. Both receivers create extremely advantageous matchups on the outside that I feel will also give Louisiana Tech the edge when they have the football. The Bulldogs ability to mix in the run is also important as they should be able to keep the Navy defense on their heels and guessing all game long.
Louisiana Tech is going to want to turn this game into a shootout and that should spell disaster for Navy. The Navy defense has been extremely vulnerable to the pass and they will be facing one of the most prolific passing teams in the country. We expect Louisiana Tech to get a big lead in this contest and if they can prevent getting complacent late in the game and allowing Navy back into it. They should do enough to cover this spread. Barring a backdoor cover, the Bulldogs should win this game fairly easily.
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