South Alabama Jaguars vs. Air Force Falcons Betting Preview
Where: Arizona Stadium, Tuscon, AZ
When: Friday, December 30, 2016, 5:30 PM ET
Line: South Alabama Jaguars (+14) vs. Air Force Falcons (-14); total: 57.5 – view all NCAA Football odds and lines
TV Broadcast: American Sports Network
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Betting on the South Alabama Jaguars (+14)
With a 35-28 win over the New Mexico Lobos in their final regular-season game, the South Alabama Jaguars are back in another bowl game for the second time in three years.
It’s been a strange season for the Jaguars, who went undefeated in their four non-conference games but just 2-6 in Sun Belt play. They’re now in search of their first win at a bowl game in just eight short years as part of Division I football, but the pieces they have don’t really fit when sized up against Air Force’s own strengths and weaknesses.
First off, quarterback Dallas Davis will likely have a tough afternoon dissecting the Falcons’ secondary this Friday in Tuscon. He’s thrown more interceptions (11) than touchdowns (10) this season, and has a middling backfield supporting him on offense.
USA’s defense, meanwhile, is actually great against the pass, as the team is ranked eighth in FBS at just 181 passing yards allowed per game. However, the Falcons are ironically not known for going through the air that often because of their stellar rushing attack.
Yet in spite of their imbalance and inconsistency, the Jaguars proved in flashes this season that they can be unexpectedly pesky and unrelenting just the same. All three of their most recent losses were just by seven points or less, and they’ve even beaten stiff competition in Mississippi State and eventual Mountain West champion San Diego State as well.
Betting on the Air Force Falcons (-14)
Entering the Arizona Bowl with a five-game win streak are the Air Force Falcons, who are determined to clinch their seventh 10-win season and 12th bowl-game victory in academy history.
The Falcons are no strangers to postseason action, as Friday will mark their ninth bowl-game appearance in 10 seasons behind a veteran roster that has 32 seniors in it. They’ve even been successful this time around with an unconventional offense that leans heavily on the ground game, regardless of who’s actually taking snaps under center.
Ever since starting quarterback Nate Romine went down with an ankle injury in early November, Air Force never skipped a beat with Arion Worthman taking over Romine’s job. Worthman is just as big a part of the team’s third-best rushing attack in the country (a whopping 322.8 rushing yards per game), as he himself averaged nearly 100 rushing yards per game as a starter.
As a matter of fact, four Air Force players have over 600 yards on the ground this season. Considering that South Alabama is 98th overall with 212 rushing yards allowed per contest to their opposition, the Falcons could very well gash the Jaguars’ front seven like hot knife through butter.
Then again, the Falcons went just 2-3 against the spread during their current five-game win streak, meaning that they’ve not lived up to the oddsmakers’ expected results from them of late. That being said, you may want to think twice before betting the entire farm on Air Force this Friday even if all signs indicate that the Falcons’ running game is simply no match for the Jaguars’ porous run D.
The Falcons win, but the Jaguars (+14) manage to cover the spread with a final score of 33-24.
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