Tag Archives: Army

Beating Vegas: Bowl Locks, Pt. 2

Potato Bowl (played in Boise, Idaho) on Dec. 22nd

CMU vs. Wyoming (even), total 46.5

Draft “experts” have Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen in the top three of quarterback prospects that are entering this year’s NFL draft.  Draft-guru, Mel Kiper Jr. has Allen as the number one quarterback. . . it’s just amazing that a guy who’s numbers this year are as follows: 1658 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.  Excuse me as I pick my jaw up from the floor. . . Playing out of the Mountain West Conference, he knew that his marquee games would come against teams from Power 5 Conferences. . .he was embarrassed by both Oregon and Iowa.   Allen suffered an injury in Wyoming’s win over Air Force on November 11th, but is going to play in the Potato Bowl.  Allen will be going up against a Central Michigan pass defense that is one of the best in all of college football.  This defensive unit holds the opposition to a completion percentage of 54.6% and is second, nationally, in the  interceptions category  with 19 (tied with Akron and Iowa).  Another impressive stat by this secondary is that they’ve only given up 13 touchdowns through the air this year.   Take a guess at which team these stats kind-of run neck-in-neck with. . . ?  Yup, Wyoming.  Wyoming has allowed only 10 touchdowns through the air, nabbed 16 interceptions and have held the passing yards against them to a total under 2000 yards this season.  The under in this game seems to be the play, and for the win, the Central Michigan Chippewas just have better players and really no pressure in this game.

The Pick: CMU and the Under

Armed Forces Bowl (played in Fort Worth, Texas) on Dec. 23rd

Army +6 vs. San Diego State, total 46

If you like watching teams that run the ball then this is the game for you.  Just good ol’ smash mouth football.  San Diego State attempts about twenty passes a game while Army attempts five. . . 5.  Yes, five.   Good thing Army runs the ball.  They freakin’ better. . . Army leads the nation with 4270 rushing yards, at a 6.1 yard clip.  Army’s offense is a marvel of college football tradition, as they run the triple-option-flexbone attack.  This is usually a problem for opposing defenses because they don’t see this very often, but San Diego State sees this formation when they go against their conference rival Air Force.  Adding into the mix are the formidable rushing attacks of UNLV, New Mexico and Colorado State – the San Diego Aztecs see their fair share of rushing attacks. San Diego State fares well against all of them.  They are seventh in the nation in fewest rushing yards allowed and their run defense allows only 3.5 yards a rush – just like Penn State and Georgia.   San Diego State’s rushing attack is led by the phenomenal Rashaad Penny.  Penny received AP All American College Football 1st Team Honors this week and still feels he needs to prove something to the world.  A large portion of fans think Penny was snubbed in the Heisman race, and that he was overshadowed by the likes of Penn State’s Saquan Barkley and Stamford’s Bryce Love.  Penny isn’t “on the fence” about playing in this bowl game and actually feels he needs to show the world one last time just how dominant of a runner he is.  He’ll be going up against an Army defense that allows five yards a rush (after calculating Penny’s 7.4 yards a carry, Penny has a smash-average-advantage of 6.2 yards per carry).  Army has had a nice season, but this one gets ugly with the Aztecs literally running away with this one.

The Pick: San Diego State -6

Dollar General Bowl (played in Mobile, Alabama) on Dec. 23rd

Appalachian State +7 vs. Toledo, Total 61.5

Appalachian State is a confusing squad.  They have an 8-4 record, co-champions of the Sun Belt conference and have an offense that scores 33 points per game.  Yet, they somehow manage to lose against teams like Louisiana-Monroe and UMass. . . This is football in the Sun Belt conference, I guess. . . Regardless of that, App State has put together an impressive season once again.  Senor quarterback Taylor Lamb has put up some impressive stats this year and is hoping to impress scouts one last time in this Dollar General Bowl.  Lamb has 27 touchdown passes and only 6 interceptions this year and in his entire four years as starting quarterback has stood at a 61% completion percentage.  The offensive line (three of gained made All-Sun-Belt-First-Team honors in front of Lamb has done a great job for him and his stable of running backs – most notably Jalen Moore who is 88 yards away from a 1000 yard season.  Those are the kind of things that don’t bode well for a below average Toledo rush defense that allows 4.7 yards a carry.  Toledo is giving up 25 points a game this year,  and although they are holding opposing quarterbacks to a completion percentage of 52.7% but they’ve had a tendency to give up the big plays. . . Toledo’s offense is a powerhouse though.  Quarterback Logan Woodside has thrown for over 3700 yards with 28 touchdown passes and his targets Dionte and Jon’Vea Johnson are a sweet receiving duo.   Appalachian State’s tough defense will definitely be pushed to their limits in this one.  App State is going to take their time on drives while Toledo might find themselves getting frustrated against this Mountaineer defense. . . Should be a good game, but look at this one as a chess match.

The Pick: The Under at 61.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Beating Vegas: Oregon’s Gettin’ Corny

Buffalo +16.5 at Army

Last week Buffalo lost to Minnesota in what was probably the most boring game of the week, with a final score of 17-7.  The Bulls just could not push forward against Minnesota in the trenches and it showed. Army is one of those one dimensional teams who’s one dimension is legit, but after getting punched in the mouth a few times last week, Buffalo should be up to the challenge.  The Bulls have legit talent on their defense such as middle linebacker Khalil Hodge and safety Ryan Williamson.  Last week Buffalo didn’t know what to expect from the Gophers quarterback, and it was too late to realize they should’ve just stacked eight-in-the-box.  This week they know Army will toss the ball maybe 4 times all game and they have the athletes to go up against this triple-option attack.  Last season Buffalo won this match-up against Army at home by 3 points, so the +16.5 looks beyond fishy.   I love salmon myself.

The Pick: Buffalo +16.5

 

 

Nebraska +14 at Oregon

Early in the season, Vegas likes to put lines up to fool the public because there really isn’t much to go on but the optics.  Oregon went out of the real college football world to beat up on FCS opponent Southern Utah to the ring of 77-21.  “Vanilla-Optics” folks see this as a return of the dominant Oregon teams we’ve been used to seeing in recent memory.  Keeping that in mind, Nebraska went out and had a high scoring nail-biter against the FBS bred  Arkansas State.   Seems like a “bad-win” for those that don’t know Arkansas State but this a team that won 8 games last year and is used to testing themselves early in the season (last year lost to Auburn in week two).  On paper Nebraska is just plain bigger on the offensive side of the ball when compared to Oregon defensive front and Nebraska’s 3-4 defensive scheme enhances the play of their talented linebackers Weber and Young – but the way to beat Oregon (and it always has been the way to beat Oregon) is by attacking them up the middle.  Nebraska nose-tackle Mick Stoltenberg is a beast in the making and should put pressure on the Ducks early.  Even if the Ducks score early and quick, the Cornhuskers will wear down and frustrate Oregon for the length of this game.  14 is just way too many points.

The Pick: Nebraska +14

Hawaii +23.5 at UCLA

Josh Rosen might’ve had the game we’ve all been waiting for him to have last week as the young man’s confidence matched his play.  Rosen led UCLA to a remarkable fourth quarter comeback against Texas A&M where he threw 4 touchdown passes to beat A&M 45-44.  Sure, we at “Beating Vegas” took the “L” against the spread but we like UCLA this year and it’s because of games like these. . .Hawaii has been busy this season with already 2 games (and with that 2 wins) under their belts.  Sure the wins come against UMass and Western Carolina but hey – you play the games that are on your schedule.  This week though, UCLA’s defense will prove to be too much – more so the UCLA secondary.  UCLA’s defensive front should have their way with Hawaii’s offensive line as well.  Rosen will continue to ride high after this win as well.

The Pick: UCLA -23.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week (ALL NFL): Rams +8; Cardinals +10.5, Chargers +15.5 and the over in the Titans/Raiders game at 38.5

Only If You Must: Sometimes you pick games because of  a “feeling.”  This week N’Western as a road favorite over Duke just seems like it’ll happen.  27-20 final score.  N’western has been recruiting great athletes the last few years and are the better coached team. Just do it: N’western -3.

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Army-Navy

Last week “Beating Vegas” went two out of three – still above 60% for the year.  This week, with only one college game, the classic “Army-Navy Game,” we’re going to have to try our hand with some NFL action as well.  The system has been working all year at “Beating Vegas” – keep winning with us!

 

Army +6.5 vs  Navy (game played in Baltimore)

At 60-49-7, Navy is the all time leader in this rivalry, which has them owning the Black Knights since 2002. Yikes.  Last season, Beating Vegas won this game by telling folks to take the under and this year the over/under is  set at 47.  In the last four years, the highest the point total has gone up to is 41 (we should note, that the two years prior total was at 48).   The reason for this is that these two programs run similar offenses and the playbook for these teams haven’t changed for, maybe, decades.  There is also “honor” in this rivalry, so “running up the score” won’t occur much either.  The rushing statistics for both of these squads are impressive and nearly identical, except in touchdowns where Navy has scored 54 on the ground, compared to Army’s 37.  Statistically, it would appear that Army’s defense is superior to Navy’s but let’s chill out for a second – Navy has a REAL college football schedule.  Navy is in an AAC Conference that was quite impressive this year.  The Midshipmen had  impressive back to back wins against two bowl eligible teams in Houston and Memphis.  Navy has had to rely on their offense to pull them through some tough competition, while Army beat up on Morgan State and Lafayette.  They both lost in similar fashion to Air Force, Army beat Temple, Temple beat Navy, Navy beat Notre Dame and Notre Dame beat Army — what does this tell you?  Nothing.  There are no stats to help gauge where to go with this one.  Smart money has Navy still winning this game and keeping the streak alive.  On a side note, both teams will be sporting some really sick jerseys for the game.  Seriously.

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The Pick: the under at 47

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Denver Broncos +1 at Tennessee Titans

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What is this?  An NFL game?  How’d this happen?  This one has Marcus Mariota squaring off against one of the best defenses in the NFL, in the Denver Broncos.  If you’re expecting excitement – don’t.  Although, Marcus Mariota is having an impressive season so far, IF the Titans win this game, it will have very little to do with the former Oregon Duck.  The only way to beat tough defenses like this is to run the ball.  The Titans have the means to do it behind this offensive line and Demarco Murray. Murray has cracked the one-thousand yard rushing mark this year and is doing it at a rate of 4.6 yards per carry.  His back up Derrick Henry, hasn’t been used as much as many thought he’d be used this year, but when he comes in the yards per carry only drop by a tenth. . . For all the talk of Denver’s defense, they are giving up 4.2 yards a rush, pretty average by NFL standards; but they’ve allowed the fewest passing yards this year and they hold teams to a 55.3% completion rate which is best in the league.  Considering that the Titans don’t have the most elite wide outs in the world, as mentioned earlier, Mariota will have his struggles.   The Broncos offense has talent but is a struggle due to their quarterback position, regardless if it’s Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch.

The Pick: the under at 43.5

Atlanta Falcons -6 at L.A. Rams

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The Falcons had a taste of one of the NFL’s best teams last week (yes, the Chiefs ARE legit) and it was two Matt Ryan interceptions that ultimately costed them the game.   Even with that, Ryan has the best QB Rating in the league (among those who played more than 8 games. . .) and is having an MVP caliber season so far.  The Los Angeles Rams. . . are pretty much awful.  They have the NFL’s worst offense and have a rookie starting at quarterback who looks like one of the worse rookies we’ve seen start at quarterback.  Jared Goff may get lucky this week though as he’s squaring off against the worst pass defense in the league.  Teams have figured out the Rams though.  Stack the box, force their rookie quarterback to make throws to his average receivers.  Atlanta has a lot to prove and this is a soft landing spot after a tough loss.  Take this spread now before it finds it’s way to -9 before kickoff.

The Pick: The Falcons -6

Seattle Seahawks -2.5 at Green Bay Packers

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Admittedly, these are two teams and two quarterbacks I personally do-not-like – BUT – for the sake of making some coin, let’s take a look here.  Both team’s have no offense line and both defenses like to blitz.  Both quarterbacks like to throw on the run, and both offenses are plugging different guys at the running back position.  Seattle won’t get the calls they usually get in Green Bay, Green Bay gets calls everywhere they go – and surprisingly enough the defenses aren’t that much different except in one category – passing touchdowns.  The Seahawks have only allowed 11, where the Packers have allowed 24.  Things may change drastically for Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” now that All-World-Safety Earl Thomas is out for the season though. . . This is a tricky game, and Beating Vegas usually doesn’t like “tricky” but what we do love this week are overs/unders.  Aaron Rodgers will without a doubt test the middle of this secondary without the presence of Earl Thomas and Russell Wilson, who always finds pay-dirt (someway. . .somehow) will find holes against a secondary, who’s back end won’t keep up with the speedy wide-outs the Seahawks package out there.  Enjoy the fireworks.

The Pick: the over at 46.5

Four Game Teaser of the Week: Titans/Broncos under 55.5; Seahawks +9.5; Falcons +6 and Bucs/Saints over 39

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Thirteen

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: If it wasn’t for a nonsensical Hail Mary-like Florida touchdown that did nothing to change the course of the game – the picks would’ve been a respectable 3 out of 5 instead of 2 out of 5.  The games were all close and could’ve went either way, but hopefully you evened yourself up (and kept the faith in me) to lay it all on the Jets on Sunday afternoon.  This week’s Beating Vegas is the unlucky number 13th entry.  And with only one college game to really keep an eye out for, we might be playing against the odds, but let’s take a crack at this week.

Oakland (+7.5) at Denver

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The Broncos have ushered in the era of Brock Osweiler and what it’s brought to this offense is a sense of “calm.”  And that’s right where this offense should be right now.  Coach Gary Kubiak is all about time of possession and minimizing turnovers – this goes against everything Peyton Manning was displaying this year as the veteran quarterback’s reaction time could not keep up with his instincts.  Broke knows that he has tools to move the chains and keep his defense rested.  Although he does tend to hold the ball a little too long at times, he is still not turning it over.  On the other side of the ball is the blossoming of a future franchise quarterback in Derek Carr.  The Raiders fan base has been waiting on a franchise QB for a while and Derek Carr seems to be playing the role of one as his 26 touchdown passes paired with a 63% completion percentage show.  Unfortunately for Carr, he is going up against a Denver defense that allows only 195 passing yards a game and has accumulated 41 sacks so far this year (both NFL’s current best).  Carr has fumbled the ball 7 times this year already and he’ll have to be aware of edge rushers all game long.  The Raiders only put up 10 points in their last meeting at that was in the comforts of their own home, this time around, expect more of the same.

The Pick: Denver -7.5

New England (-3.5) at Houston

This one is pretty simple.  It may seem cheesy, or it may seem like a terrible way of reasoning but it’s simple in my mind:  The Patriots will NOT lose three games in a row.  It’s something we just will not see.  They especially wont lose to a team quarterbacked by Brian Hoyer.   Yes, they did just lose to Sam Bradford, but that makes it even more impossible to lose to a quarterback of the same caliber.  Truth is, the game against Philadelphia included a blocked punt for a touchdown, returned a punt for a touchdown and a Tom Brady interception for a touchdown.  Indeed it takes skill to do those things, but for all of them to happen in the same game and against the Patriots – takes a lot of luck as well.  The Patriots biggest issue (besides not having Gronkowski who CBS Sports said was “iffy” against the Texans) was the dropped passes – especially on their final drive.  Amendola, Lafell and the rest of this group need to get it together especially against this formidable Houston Texans pass defense.  New England will go back to utilizing their running backs, like the good ol’ days, and work their way into the heart of this Texans defense that is allowing nearly 4.5 yards a carry.   Bottom line, the Patriots are not losing three in a row and at 3.5 points, that’s almost a “pick ’em” in the era of Tom Brady.

The Pick: New England -3.5

Army (+24) at Navy

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The annual Army/Navy game is one of the best traditions in American sports.  This will be the 116th meeting between the two military academies and Navy leads this series 59-49-7.   Navy has actually won thirteen in a row and looking to continue that streak this weekend.  For some reason as better as Navy has looked in recent years, Army gets up for this game.  In the last four victories Navy took home, they only won by a margin of 7 points or less.   Both academies rely on their running attacks and Navy has been stellar this year on the ground.  Navy ranked in the top tens with yards per carry and finished third in the nation in total rushing yards (ahead of offensive big shots, Baylor and Oregon).  And although Army runs for about 80 yards less than Navy does a game, they are still running for 254 yards a game at 4.9 a clip —  very far from being “shabby.”   Navy is 9-2 and Army is 2-9, Navy has had a tougher schedule and their losses came by the hands of two ranked teams in Notre Dame and Houston.  Their most notable wins came against Memphis and Air Force, of whom statistically has a better rushing attack than Navy and for the most part were shut down.  Army’s wins came against Eastern Michigan and Bucknell, but losses to teams like Wake Forest and Fordham really make you shake your head at the direction this program has taken (quick note, Army had success against Air Force’s rushing attack as well by ultimately lost by 20-3).  There is a lot of respect in this rivalry and the times Navy has blown out Army it’s usually because they can’t help themselves, they’re just that much better.   The over/under is set at 54.5 and the last time these two teams combined to get over that number was back in 2005 when Navy won 42-23.

The Pick:  Army +24 and the Under at 54.5

If You Must:  The Giants versus the Dolphins on Monday Night Football will make it three weeks in a row of teams nobody really cares to watch on prime time.  This games puts to defenses up against each other that can give up thirty a night easily.  Take the over at 46.5 points and root for nothing else but the scoreboard.

Tease of the week: (four gamer) Jets +5,  Patriots +8.5, Army/Navy Under 66 and Steelers/Bengals Over 36.5

 

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

 

Beating Vegas: Entry Three

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week: Looks like your boy “The Heartthrob” underestimated the speed and athleticism of Michigan, as Jim Harbaugh made me feel downright foolish for believing BYU would cover the spread. . .  The Jets entered the game against the Eagles with Chris Ivory and Eric Decker on the bench – this is a team that cannot afford to lose what they have on offense, at any cost.  The pick of Ohio University was an easy one at +10.  It looks like Vegas caught wind of my pick and by kickoff the spread dropped to +7. . .

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Louisville (+4.5) at N.C. State

Louisville enters this game with a 1-3 record including a season opening loss at the now disappointing Auburn Tigers as well as back to back three point losses at home.  Coach Bobby Petrino is one of the best in college football, but this may be a “down” year for Louisville in terms of talent.   The N.C. State Wolfpack can be a “sneaky” team in the ACC Conference this year and Louisville is their first real test of the season.   While Louisville is 1-3, they have actually played real competition this year while N.C. State has been facing some lowly opponents.  While this rhetoric usually means something favoring the team facing better competition, the truth is, N.C. State is slated for a 9 or 10 win season and this game against Louisville brings them half way there.   Running backs Matthew Dayes and Shadrach Thorton are both averaging at least six yards a carry while quarterback Jacoby Brisset’s completion percentage is  a decimal point below eighty.  Louisville is a shade below mediocre defensively which is perfect for a team like N.C. State who doesn’t get greedy on offense, but more or less takes what opposing defenses are giving them.  Expect the final score to be somewhere along the lines of 27-20 or 23-17. . .

The Pick:  N.C. State -4.5

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Texas Longhorns (+15) at TCU Horned Frogs

Although the line is at fifteen, the number we are concerned about for all entertainment purposes is the over/under which is set at 71.   The Big 12 is the spot for high flying offenses and terrible defenses.  Remember, once upon a time, coach Gary Patterson, coached TCU and they were one of the best defensive teams in the nation?  This was a team putting out NFL talent from the defensive side of the ball but once this team moved to the Big 12, he converted to the Church of Offense.  TCU gives up 28 points per game and Texas gives up 35 per contest.  While TCU was expected to be able to rack up points against anybody this year, Texas’ offense has been surprisingly effective the last two weeks.  They lost by one point (at home) to a pretty potent Cal offense and last week put up 27 against an Oklahoma State team many thought would put them away early.   TCU may actually cover this spread and win with a final score of 55-27 when it’s all said and done.

The Pick:  The “over” at 71

Army (+24) at Penn State

With all due respect to our military forces, the Black Knights of Army are just a pitiful football team.  Any team that loses to Fordham and then UConn in back to back weeks, should ask to leave Division I football.  . . Not that Penn State has looked fantastic in their 3-1 start this season but this is the kind of game that Penn State should have wrapped up by the end of the first half.   Expect Penn State to open it up early with the running attack of Akeel Lynch and  Saquon Barkley  – which will open things up for Hackenberg.  Christian Hackenberg has been mostly disappointing since last season, but take into consideration what is around him.  If UConn’s quarterback Bryant Shirreffs was able to throw for 270 yards on 19 of 25 passing, Hackenberg should easily be able to use this game to inflate his stat for the season.  Army doesn’t have the speed or size to contend with Penn State, who is actually one of the tougher teams Army will face this year.   In true Penn State fashion, they’ll make you worry but they should have complete control of this game and win 38-7.

The Pick: Penn State -24

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Detroit Lions (+10) at Seattle Seahawks

Here’s a situation where you don’t want to over-think things.  Seattle is at home against a Detroit Lions team that is sloppy on offense and has taken a step down, defensively.   If Russell Wilson is able to display talents that are above adequate, then this should be an easy victory for Seattle.  Seattle has the secondary to take care of Calvin Johnson because they have the physical presence of Kam Chancellor back in the swing of things and Matthew Stafford’s offensive line will have no answer for the blitz packages that Seattle has to offer.  Throw in the crowd noise, under the Monday Night Football lights in Seattle and the fact that the Lions ground game has not taken off – this one could be over quickly.   Bottom line – Seattle will win the battle in the trenches and because of that will the field position battle, making things easier for their vanilla offense to take shots against this Detroit defense.

The Pick: Seattle -10

If You Must:  Take the Green Bay Packers -8.5 points going into San Fran.  The 49ers fan base has already had it, Colin Kapernick looks lost and the Packers are making it all look easy on the offensive side of the ball.

NFL Football Tease of the Week:  (three gamer) Green Bay Packers +1.5, Arizona Cardinals +3 and Seattle Seahawks PK.

Good Luck and Wager Wisely.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio