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Army SMU Betting – Opposites Meet In The Armed Forces Bowl

Posted by Blake Frazier on 12/9/2010 4:36:23 PM
army smu betting

The Army Black Knights love to move the ball on the ground. The Southern Methodist Mustangs like to move the ball through the air. Which approach will win out in the Armed Forces Bowl?

NCAA football betting: Army Black Knights vs. SMU Mustangs

Online Betting Odds: No line

Why To Bet On Army

The Black Knights finally got over the hump and were able to reach their first bowl game since 1996. Coach Rich Ellerson was the right hire at West Point; the defense-first coach has had exposure to the triple-option offense in his many years as a football coach, and he properly determined that the system was the best and most reasonable fit for his new program after leaving behind Cal-Poly of the Football Championship Subdivision. Army has done slightly better than in 2009 because it has reduced its amount of turnovers, but the Black Knights will struggle if they do give up the ball. Quarterback Trent Steelman experienced a lot of growing pains last season, and this year, he’s been a better field general who has made better reads and decisions. In past games against evenly-matched opponents, Army would commit four turnovers and 10 penalties to lose a game by a touchdown or 10 points. Now, Army commits only one turnover and five penalties, and the shift has been enough to get to a bowl game.

The other big reason to pick Army is that the triple-option offense overseen by offensive coordinator Ian Shields will be extremely difficult for SMU to defend. The Mustangs play pass-first teams in Conference USA. The leading teams in their division – Conference USA West – are teams that like to throw the ball (Tulsa and Houston in particular). The other top teams in C-USA, with the exception of Central Florida, are also throwing teams (East Carolina and Southern Mississippi). SMU is not going to be used to this Army offense, and that will be a great advantage for Ellerson and his athletes.

Why To Bet On SMU

While Army will be tough for SMU to defend, the Mustangs will also showcase an offense that will be difficult for Army to stop. SMU coach June Jones has revitalized the program since arriving on the scene in 2008. He’s applied his passing game to this moribund outfit and has transformed the reputation of SMU football. Last year, SMU crushed Nevada in the Hawaii Bowl, 45-10. It’s instructive to note that Nevada was a run-first team that practiced mostly against the run. SMU’s passing offense looked very foreign to Nevada, and that’s a big reason for the Mustangs’ 35-point romp in their last bowl game. One could easily see a similar scenario playing out in this year’s bowl battle. Army doesn’t practice much against the pass, and it certainly won’t be able to simulate the arm strength of SMU quarterback Kyle Padron, who can gun the ball to a number of fleet-footed flankers such as Aldrick Robinson. Three SMU receivers have caught at least 57 passes this year. Army doesn’t have the strength in the secondary to compete with that kind of talent.

How The Game Will Play Out

Army will score a lot against SMU, but the other side of the ball will provide an even more lopsided matchup in favor of the team from Conference USA. The Mustangs – who are coming off a loss in the Conference USA Championship Game – are in good position to beat the Black Knights in a shootout. Take SMU in this contest.

Army SMU Betting Pick: SMU

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