NCAA Football Picks: Army Black Knights vs SMU Mustangs

Army Black Knights vs SMU Mustangs
Thursday, 12/30/10, 12:00 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  SMU -8
Current Betting Line:  SMU -7
Opening Total:  52
Current Total:  51.5

The Army Black Knights enter the Armed Forces Bowl as underdogs against the SMU Mustangs

Army is back in the bowl picture for the first time since 1996 by earning a berth in the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl due to a 6-6 regular season record.  The Black Knights six wins is their highest win total since the 1996 squad posted a 10-2 record and played in the Independence Bowl.  The 2010 season marks the first time all three service academies will participate in bowl games.  The team is looking to end a two-game losing streak in the postseason and give the program a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series versus today’s opponent.  Army scored a 14-13 win in the first meeting on October 6, 1928 at West Point and the teams didn’t meet against until a 24-6 Army win in Dallas on October 13, 1967.  Over the past three years, Army is 1-5 ATS when playing with two weeks or more of rest.

The Black Knights enter postseason play with the nation’s 10th-ranked rushing offense.  Army is averaging 256.0 yards per game and has cracked the 3,000-yard mark (3,072) for the first time since 1998.  This year’s rushing numbers has translated into scoring 33 touchdowns on the ground compared to just 13 during the entire 2009-10 campaign.  Defensively, the team ranks 26th in the nation in total defense (332.0), while checking in seventh in college football in turnover margin (+1.08).  In facing SMU, the program will look to improve upon its 3-5 record against Conference USA schools since leaving the league.

SMU will take on Army in a home game of sorts for this year’s bowl contest, as the school serves as the host of this year’s festivities.  Head coach June Jones said the Mustangs, who lost to Central Florida in the Conference USA championship games, have a lot to play for at home.  “I kind of always use the same formula when we go to bowls,” Jones stated.  “The kids will really enjoy the opportunity to play, especially after coming after a loss.  The result of the bowl really takes you through the whole next season.”  Carrying momentum into next season will be crucial to the program due to just four of 22 starters being seniors.  SMU is 1-5 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points and is currently in that range on the college football lines page.

The Mustangs offense has been led by a rushing attack that is averaging 4.8 yards per rush in 2010 after posting a 3.8 mark last year.  SMU will hope to win the war in the trenches to capture consecutive seasons with at least eight wins for the first time since 1983-84.  The home field advantage for the Mustangs is happening due to Amon G. Carter Stadium undergoing a $105 million dollar renovation, the site that is home to the TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas.

Bettors will be interested in the Black Knights being 2-8 ATS versus winning teams, while the Mustangs are 4-13-1 ATS as a favorite.

The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports are killing the bowl season and can’t wait for you to join them today!

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