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Independence Bowl Betting – Falcons Soar In Option Showdown Against Yellow Jackets

Posted by Blake Frazier on 12/22/2010 4:25:30 PM
independence bowl betting

Sports betting players may think they’ve gone back a generation in the Independence Bowl, as Air Force takes on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in a battle of the old-school option offenses. Don’t expect any spread offenses in this one, and we’re taking Air Force to prolong the Yellow Jackets’ bowl blues.

  • What: NCAA football betting
  • When: Monday, December 27th, 5:00 PM ET
  • Where: Independence Stadium, Shreveport, LA
  • Pick: Air Force -3

What’s On The Line

The Falcons (8-4) won their last three games of the year to finish third in the Mountain West, and three of their four losses came to teams that were ranked in the top 10 at the time (at the Oklahoma Sooners, at the TCU Horned Frogs, and vs. the Utah Utes). The Yellow Jackets (6-6) barely remained bowl eligible in the ACC, and they’ve lost their last five bowl games. After three straight years in the Armed Forces Bowl, going 1-3 after a win over Houston last year, Air Force would like to add another win to their resume, while the Yellow Jackets are trying to stop their postseason slide, and boost the ACC a little after a down year.

Offensive Matchups: Independence Bowl Betting

Air Force’s triple option is second in the nation in rushing, powered by Asher Clark and quarterback Tim Jefferson, who is actually a decent passer of the ball as well. Of course, the bread and butter is the ground game, and they’ve been doing it without fullback Jared Tew. Jefferson is playing in his third bowl game, so he should be okay as far as nerves go, and the Falcons could even air it out a little more as Georgia Tech’s pass defense can be exposed.

Who was the team ahead of Air Force in the rushing rankings? That would be the Yellow Jackets, who are averaging almost 10 more yards per game than the Falcons. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt and Anthony Allen, along with backup pivot Tevin Washington, are a threat every time they break, and they have a solid line in front of them. But the line gives up too many sacks for a team that doesn’t pass that much, and that makes it tough when they eventually decide to pass. Georgia Tech is 119th through the air, and they’ll probably pass less if Washington has to take over for Nesbitt, who may still be out because of an arm injury.

Betting Edge: Air Force

Defensive Matchups: Independence Bowl Betting

The Falcons have their own injuries to worry about, and they come on the defensive line, which doesn’t bode well for a team that is 100th in the nation against the run. The Falcons are T-98th in terms of tackles for losses, and losing Zach Payne and Bradley Connor is not what they needed.

Linebackers Brady Amack and Jordan Waiwaiole must work hard to track the option down and allow a strong secondary to make some tackles. If they don’t, Georgia Tech could run wild.

Georgia Tech is 79th in the country against the run, and outside of linebacker Brad Jefferson, they don’t pursue very well. The Yellow Jackets are 95th in sacks and 104th in tackles for losses, and that usually means a front seven that gets pushed around a lot, which means the secondary is prone to mistakes. Georgia Tech has to do better at the line of scrimmage to have a chance in this game.

Betting Edge: Draw

Notable Injuries: Independence Bowl Betting

Defensive end Payne (knee) and tackle Connor (knee) are doubtful for this game, while safety Brian Lindsay (collarbone) is questionable for the Falcons.

Nesbitt (arm) was hurt on November 4th at Virginia Tech and hasn’t played since, but he’s working hard to get ready for the last game of his Georgia Tech career.

Betting Edge: Georgia Tech

Outlook and Pick: Independence Bowl Betting

The Falcons are 3-point NCAA football betting favorites in the Independence Bowl, which they won back in 1983 and 1984, while Georgia Tech makes their first trip to Shreveport. These two are meeting for the first time, but they should be familiar with seeing the option in practice. Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson coached the Navy Midshipmen from 2002 to 2007, so he may have a little insight to the Air Force offense. The Falcons have played well against the other academies that also use the option, so they’ve had to face the option in a game situation. This is the biggest bowl Air Force has been to in years, and that should carry them to a win over the slumping Yellow Jackets, who haven’t been the same without Nesbitt. Go with Air Force in your online betting book.

Blake’s Pick: Air Force

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