By Ryan Mayer
The college football bowl season is upon us. With 40 games spread out over the next two weeks there is plenty of opportunity to add a little bonus to your holiday gift pile. Our bowl picks series will let you know who we think will come out on top against the spread. All lines and totals courtesy of Sportsline/Bookmaker.eu. Find all our picks here.
All lines listed are as of publishing date. As always lines may change in the lead up to games so be sure to check.
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
Army vs. North Texas
Spread: Army -10
Spread: The rare bowl game where the two teams have previously met during the course of the regular season. The Mean Green won 35-18 at Michie Stadium. The Black Knights played an extremely sloppy game coughing up seven turnovers including four interceptions by QB Ahmad Bradshaw. On the flip side, Mean Green RB Jeffrey Wilson went off, tallying 160 yards on 15 carries for three touchdowns. So, why is Army favored you ask? Well, North Texas lost four of its final five games and looked bad in the process. Army, meanwhile, is coming off an emotional win over Navy and playing in their first bowl game since the 2010 Armed Forces Bowl against SMU. The Mean Green’s starting QB from the first game, Mason Fine, is dealing with an arm injury though he is expected to play. Overall, it comes down to whether you believe Army will cough the ball up seven times again or not. Judging by what they’ve done recently, I’m more inclined to think not. North Texas is 105th in the nation against the rush allowing 219.5 yards per game while Army is your standard service academy offense. Run the triple option down your opponent’s throat and occasionally hit a pass off of play action. Black Knights take this revenge game, but, because of their grind-it-out style and lack of explosive plays, I think North Texas covers. North Texas +10
Total: The total here is relatively low and that’s rightfully so. These two teams combined to score around 53 points per game in the regular season and they scored exactly that total in the first meeting. The difference this time around, I think, is the Army defense. They’ve been much improved and showed off their dominating linebacking corps against Navy. Between the defense and the offense’s ground-and-pound, grind the clock out style, I’m sticking with the under here. Under 49
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.