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NCAAF • "College Bowl Games" • Monday 12/28/15

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    Bowl Tech Trends – Week 2
    By Bruce Marshall

    PITT vs. NAVY ‘Military Bowl’
    Pitt 1-3 SU and vs. line last four bowls, though this is Pat Narduzzi’s first bowl as head coach. Panthers were 4-1 vs. spread away this season and 4-2 as dog. Navy has won and covered last two bowls and is 7-3 vs. line last ten bowls since 2004. Mids 12-5 last 17 vs. spread since mid 2014.

    ♦Navy, based on team trends.


    Gophers have lost their last seven bowls SU since 2005, and no covers four of those last five. Though Minn is 10-2 vs. line with Tracy Claeys as coach (counting his interim stint in 2013). Gophers 3-7 vs. line last 10 vs. non-Big Ten. CMU 4-1-1 vs. line in bowls since 2006 under a variety of coaches and is 21-10 vs. spread its last 31 on board. Chips also 10-3 last 13 as dog.

    ♦CMU, based on team and bowl trends.


    Monday’s college football bowl betting preview

    ‘Military Bowl’ Presented by Northrop Grumman

    Pittsburgh Panthers vs. Navy Midshipmen (-3, 53)

    Game to be played at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Maryland

    Navy tries for the first 11-win season in program history when it meets Pittsburgh on Dec. 28 in the Military Bowl on the Midshipmen’s home field in Annapolis, Md., in what could be coach Ken Niumatalolo’s final game with Navy. Niumatalolo, who took over as Midshipmen coach prior to the the 2007 Poinsettia Bowl, is 67-37-0 – the winningest coach in Academy annals – but appears to be a strong candidate to take over at BYU. “It’s been my life,” Niumatalolo, a Mormon who went on a two-year mission after his freshman year at Hawaii, told reporters about his time at Navy. “My kids have grown up here. I’ve given everything for this program.”

    Keenan Reynolds, who finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting, plays his final collegiate game after becoming the first Midshipmen quarterback to defeat Army four times. Reynolds rushed for two touchdowns in No. 22 Navy’s 21-17 victory over the Black Knights on Dec. 12 to set the Division I record with 85 career TDs, passing Georgia Southern’s Adrian Peterson and Towson’s Terrance West. Reynolds has rushed for 4,415 yards, trailing only West Virginia’s Pat White (4,480) and Michigan’s Denard Robinson (4,495) on the all-time FBS list for quarterbacks.

    While it appears the Midshipmen may soon need a new coach, Pittsburgh’s Pat Narduzzi on Dec. 10 received a two-year contract extension through 2021 after guiding the Panthers to eight wins in his first season. Narduzzi’s rushing defense is 20th nationally at 126.1 yards per game, but he must figure out a way to stop the country’s No. 3 ground attack which averages 319.2 yards. Pittsburgh held Navy to 220 rushing yards in a 24-21 loss in Annapolis on a last-second goal in 2013.

    TV: 2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.

    Navy opened as 5-point favorites, but have been bet down two-points to the current number of -3. The total opened at 53 and hasn’t moved off that number.


    Pittsburgh – DL Z. Poker (questionable Monday, foot), DL M. Scarpinato (questionable Monday, upper body).

    Navy – N/A.

    It’s going to be overcast with a 20 percent chance of rain and a 10-12 mile per hour wind blowing across the field out of the northeast. Temperatures will be in the mid 40’s.

    ABOUT PITTSBURGH (8-4, 6-6 ATS, 5-6-1 O/U):
    The Panthers boast a trio of offensive standouts in quarterback Nathan Peterman (61.4 percent completion rate, 19 touchdowns, five interceptions), redshirt freshman running back Qadree Ollison (1,048 rushing yards, 10 TDs) and wide receiver Tyler Boyd (85 catches, six TDs). Freshman defensive back Jordan Whitehead finished third in the ACC with 67 solo tackles. Pittsburgh, which finished second to North Carolina in the ACC’s Coastal Division, plays in its eighth straight bowl after losing to Houston 35-34 in last season’s Armed Forces Bowl to drop to 13-18 in bowl games.

    ABOUT NAVY (10-2, 8-4 ATS, 7-5 O/U):
    Reynolds ran for 1,229 yards and 21 touchdowns this season – the second-most rushing scores in the nation to Heisman Trophy winner Derrick Henry of Alabama (23) – while fullback Chris Swain added 909 yards and 10 scores. Reynolds tossed seven touchdown passes – five to wide receiver Jamir Tillman – in 98 attempts this season. The Midshipmen (9-10-1 in bowl games) play in their fourth straight bowl and try for their third consecutive victory after a 17-16 win over San Diego State in the 2014 Poinsettia Bowl and a 24-6 verdict over Middle Tennessee in the 2013 Armed Forces Bowl.


    * Pittsburgh is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games in December.

    * Navy is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. ACC.

    * Over is 4-1 in Pittsburgh’s last 5 non-conference games.

    * Under is 6-0 in Navy’s last 6 neutral site games.

    PREDICTION: Pittsburgh 28, Navy 24


    ‘Quick Lane Bowl’

    Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (-5, 48.5)

    Game to be played at Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

    Central Michigan nearly pulled off an impossible comeback the last time it appeared in the postseason; Minnesota merely achieved the improbable by qualifying for a bowl game despite a losing record. The Chippewas enter the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 28 after falling just short of successfully overcoming a 35-point fourth-quarter deficit in last year’s Bahamas Bowl. The Golden Gophers are one of three five-win programs that earned a bowl bid this season based on its NCAA Academic Progress Report after not enough teams reached bowl eligibility.

    Minnesota went 2-0 against the Mid-American Conference this year and will be making its fourth straight bowl-game appearance, but will be doing so under coach Tracy Claeys, who took over for Jerry Kill after he resigned his position on Oct. 28 due to health reasons. The Gophers went 1-4 under Claeys, although all four setbacks came against bowl-bound Big Ten teams with at least nine regular-season wins. In all, six of Minnesota’s seven losses came against opponents that either already have posted 10 victories or can reach that mark with a win in their bowl game.

    Central Michigan trailed Western Kentucky 49-14 with less than 12 minutes left in the 2014 Bahamas Bowl before Cooper Rush connected on the first of five fourth-quarter touchdown passes – he finished with seven, the most by a quarterback in any bowl game. The 34-point rally was highlighted by a play that involved three laterals as time expired. The Chippewas’ bid to complete the comeback was thwarted, however, when the ensuing game-winning two-point conversion was batted away.

    TV: 5 p.m. ET, ESPN2.

    Minnesota opened as 6-point favorites, were bet down to -5.5, back up to -6 and then down to the current number of -5. The total has been bet down a point from 49.5 to 48.5.


    Central Michigan – J. Ostman (questionable Monday, ankle), DB S. Armstead (questionable Monday, undisclosed).

    Minnesota – DL S. Ekpe (probable MOnday, undisclosed), DB J. Myrick (probable Monday, ribs), QB M. Leidner (probable Monday, foot), DT S. Richardson (probable Monday, calf), WR I. Gentry (questionable Monday, hamstring), WR J. Jones (questionable Monday, undisclosed), OL B. Lauer (questionable Monday, concussion), RB R. Smith (questionable Monday, ankle).


    ABOUT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (7-5, 9-3 ATS, 5-7 O/U):
    First-year coach John Bonamego kept Rush as the focal point of the offense and was rewarded as his junior quarterback completed 67.2 percent of his passes and set a single-season school record with 3,703 passing yards during the regular season – good for 10th in FBS in that category. Rush passed for multiple touchdowns in nine of his team’s 12 games and threw for four scores in two of those contests. Eight Chippewas have at least one catch that covered 25 yards and five players have at least 33 receptions, led by Jesse Kroll (59 catches for 856 yards) and Anthony Rice (56 for 584).

    ABOUT MINNESOTA (5-7, 6-6 ATS, 7-5 O/U):
    Shannon Brooks became the first Gopher since Laurence Maroney in 2005 to have four touchdown runs longer than 35 yards in one year and finished the regular season with 644 rushing yards – the sixth-highest total for a Minnesota freshman. The passing attack is led by Mitch Leidner, who set a program record for a junior with 218 completions and tied another one by passing for at least 250 yards in four straight games, and receiver KJ Maye, who tallied 65 catches for 706 yards. The Gophers’ secondary has a pair of likely future NFL cornerbacks in seniors Eric Murray and Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who held up the back end of the country’s 15th-ranked pass defense.


    * Central Michigan is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.

    * Minnesota is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games.

    * Over is 7-1-1 in Central Michigan’s last 9 vs. Big Ten.

    * Over is 6-1 in Minnesota’s last 7 games overall.

    PREDICTION: Minnesota 31, Central Michigan 30


    Sports Pick Weekly

    5* Navy -3

    3* Pittsburgh at Navy – OVER 53


    College Football Betting Trends – Mon – Dec, 28

    Pittsburgh at Navy, 2:30 ET
    Pittsburgh: 9-22 ATS in road games after a 2 game home stand
    Navy: 46-28 ATS in games played on turf

    Central Michigan at Minnesota, 5:00 ET
    C Michigan: 8-1 ATS in road games after playing 2 straight conference games
    Minnesota: 1-6 ATS as a neutral field favorite of 7 points or less


    Monday’s Bowl Tip Sheet
    By Brian Edwards

    **Pittsburgh vs. Navy**

    — The location advantage certainly belong to Navy since it will be playing at home against Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman in Annapolis, MD. As of Saturday afternoon, most betting shops had Navy (10-2 straight up, 8-4 against the spread) installed as a three-point favorite with a total of with a total of 53.5. The Panthers were +140 on the money line (risk $100 to win $140).

    — Navy senior quarterback Kennan Reynolds led Navy to a 10-win season in its first competing in the AAC. Reynolds is the best QB to play for the Naval Academy since Roger Staubach. His career numbers are just ridiculous: 4,415 rushing yards, 3,875 passing yards, 85 rushing touchdowns and a 30/8 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Reynolds is the academy’s all-time leading rusher and with 122 yards passing against Pitt, he’ll become third in all-time passing yards.

    — Reynolds completed 52-of-98 passes (53.1%) for 1,077 yards with a 7/1 TD-INT ratio this year. He rushed 241 times for 1,229 yards and 21 TDs while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. His favorite target is Jamir Tillman, who has 27 receptions for 570 yards and five TDs.

    — Navy’s second-leading rusher is Chris Swain, who has rushed for 909 yards and 10 TDs while averaging 4.9 YPC. The Midshipmen are third in the nation in rushing, averaging 319.2 yards per game on the ground. They average 36.2 points per game.

    — Navy’s defense ranks 26th in the country in scoring, allowing just 21.3 PPG. This unit is 31st against the run and 43rd in total defense.

    — Navy faced seven bowl-bound teams, compiling a 5-2 record both SU and ATS. The Midshipmen lost 52-31 at Houston and 41-24 at Notre Dame.

    — Navy has thrived as a single-digit favorite, going 4-1 ATS. The Midshipmen are unbeaten in six home games, producing a 5-1 spread record.

    — Pittsburgh (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) finished second in the ACC Coastal in its first season on Pat Narduzzi’s watch. The Panthers have their most wins since 2010. They lost their regular-season finale 29-24 vs. Miami as seven-point home favorites.

    — In the loss to the Hurricanes, Pitt fell down 20-0 early in the second quarter. True freshman Darrin Hall rushed 12 times for 103 yards and one TD. Tyler Boyd had five receptions for 70 yards and 47 rushing yards on three carries. Nathan Peterman completed only 13-of-27 throws for 142 yards with one TD and one interception.

    — Peterman had an outstanding season. The transfer from Tennessee connected on 61.6 percent of his passes for 2,150 yards with a 19/5 TD-INT ratio. Boyd has 85 catches for 873 yards and six TDs. He earned All-ACC honors for a third straight season. Boyd tallied 1,424 all-purpose yards.

    — Pitt RB James Conner was a second-team All-American as a sophomore in 2014 when he rushed for 1,765 yards and 26 TDs. However, he went down with a season-ending injury in early September. Qadree Ollison stepped up and enjoyed a stellar redshirt freshman campaign, rushing for 1,048 yards and 10 TDs with a 5.1 YPC average.

    — Pitt has been an underdog six times, posting a 4-2 spread record with three outright victories.

    — Navy is gunning for its first 11-win season in program history. It will do so with eighth-year head coach Ken Niumatalolo, who was just given a raise after spurning overtures from BYU. Niumatalolo has the Midshipmen bowling for a fourth straight season. They have won the last two by beating San Diego St. (17-16 last year) and Middle Tennessee (24-6).

    — This is the eighth consecutive postseason appearance for the Panthers, who lost a 35-34 decision to Houston at last year’s Armed Forces Bowl.

    — The ‘over’ is 7-5 overall in Navy games, hitting at a 4-1 clip in its last five outings. The Midshipmen’s games have averaged combined scores of 57.5 points per game.

    — The ‘under’ is 6-5-1 overall for Pitt, 4-2 in its road assignments.

    — Kickoff is scheduled for Monday at 2:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

    **Central Michigan vs. Minnesota**

    — The MAC and Big Ten will meet in Monday’s Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit, where Minnesota will take on Central Michigan. The Gophers are one of several teams taking advantage of a new rule allowing 5-7 teams to go bowling. As of Saturday night, most spots had Minnesota listed as a five-point favorite with a total of 49. The Chippewas were +180 on the money line (risk $100 to win $180).

    — Minnesota (5-7 SU, 6-6 ATS) has lost five of its last six games outright, but it has covered the number at a 4-1 ATS clip in its last five contests. The Gophers lost a 31-21 decision to Wisconsin at home in their regular-season finale.

    — Minnesota has been a single-digit favorite four times this year, going 2-2 ATS. The Gophers faced MAC foes twice during the regular season, beating No. Illinois 29-19 in Week 5 as one-point home underdogs. They slipped past Ball St. 23-21 but failed to cover as seven-point road ‘chalk.’

    — Minnesota has lost four of five games since Tracy Claeys replaced head coach Jerry Kill, who decided to resign due to health reasons. In fairness to Claeys, all four defeats came against bowl-bound foes with at least nine wins.

    — Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner has completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 2,478 yards with a 13/10 TD-INT ratio. Leidner also ran for 251 yards and five TDs. His favorite target is K.J. Maye, who has 65 receptions for 706 yards and four TDs.

    — Minnesota’s leading rusher is Shannon Brooks, who has run for 644 yards and seven TDs while averaging 6.2 YPC.

    — Central Michigan (7-5 SU, 9-3 ATS) is bowling for a second straight season and the third time in the last four years. CMU pulled out one of the most improbable backdoor covers in postseason history at the Bahamas Bowl last year. The Chippewas trailed Western Ky. 49-14 early in the fourth quarter, but they scored 34 unanswered points, including a Hail Mary with a lateral to score in the game’s final play. Nevertheless, they lost 49-48 as 3.5-point underdogs when the subsequent two-point try failed.

    — Central Michigan has thrived as an underdog this season, compiling a 5-1 spread record.

    — CMU is led by junior QB Cooper Rush, who has connected on 67.2 percent of his passes this season. Rush has thrown for 3,708 yards with a 25/10 TD-INT ratio. Rush’s favorite target is senior WR Jesse Kroll, who has 59 receptions for 856 yards and four TDs. Anthony Rice has 56 grabs for 584 yards and four TDs, while Ben McCord has 37 catches for 570 yards and five TDs.

    — CMU ranks 17th in the nation in total defense and 30th in scoring defense (22.1 PPG).

    — Minnesota is in the postseason for the fourth straight season, but it has lost in all five of its bowl games going back to 2008. The Gophers were on the wrong end of a 33-17 decision against Missouri as 4.5-point underdogs at last year’s Citrus Bowl.

    — The ‘under’ is 7-5 overall for CMU even though the ‘over’ has cashed in back-to-back games. The Chippewas have seen their games average combined scores of 48.5 PPG.

    — The ‘over’ is 7-5 overall for the Gophers after hitting in three consecutive games and six of their last seven. They have seen their games average combined scores of 48.7 PPG.

    — ESPN2 will have the telecast at 5:00 p.m. Eastern.



    100* Navy -3



    Football Crusher
    Pittsburgh +3
    over Navy
    (System Record: 43-3, lost last 3 games)
    Overall Record: 43-45-2


    Norm Hitzges

    Navy -3 Pittsburgh



    *10 Monday *MILITARY BOWL* ROUT!

    *10 BOWL Blowout *GAME OF THE WEEK*


    Huddle Up Sports

    ‘Best Bets’
    Pittsburgh +3
    Minnesota -5
    Pittsburgh/Navy – Over 53



    3* Central Michigan

    1* Navy



    3* (238) Navy -3



    5 Unit Play. #238 Take Navy -3
    over Pittsburgh (2:30p.m., Monday, Dec 28 ESPN – Military Bowl)
    Stuff I was reading about this bowl game I was wondering how much motivation will the Pittsburgh Panthers have in this bowl matchup. Pittsburgh comes into this bowl game losing 3 out of their last 5 games while Navy won 6 out of their last 7 games. Can Pittsburgh stop the option will be the big question Monday afternoon and I don’t see the Panthers stopping Keenan Reynolds and the rest of the running attack of the Midshipmen. Pittsburgh is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games and Navy is 16-5 ATS following a SU win.

    4 Unit Play. #239 Take Central Michigan +6
    over Minnesota
    (5:00p.m., Monday, Dec 28 ESPN – Quick Lane Bowl)
    Central Michigan was covering machines this year going 9-3 ATS and they come into this game winners of 5 out of 6 games. Minnesota comes into this bowl game dropping 5 out of their last 6 games and I’m still shocked that we are still getting +6 in this Quick Lane Bowl game. Last year the Chippewas almost made a miracle win in the Bahamas Bowl against Western Kentucky and this year I see CMU contending and a possible bowl win. Central Michigan is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 bowl games and the Golden Gophers 1-4 ATS against non-conference opponents.


    Sports Bet Cappers

    5* Central Michigan +6

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