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San Diego State Aztecs vs. Army Black Knights Point Spread - Pick

San Diego Aztecs (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Army Black Knights (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS)
Armed Forces Bowl
Date/Time: Saturday, December 23, 2017 at 3:30PM EST
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
TV: ESPN

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: SDSU -7/ARMY +7
Over/Under Total: 46.5

The San Diego State Aztecs take on the Army Black Knights in the Armed Forced Bowl on December 23 in Fort Worth. Both teams were pretty successful this season, with San Diego St. winning ten games, as Army won 9 games. In their last game on December 9, the Black Knights scored a win over Navy for their second straight win against the Midshipmen following a long drought. From a won-loss standpoint, this is Army's best season since winning ten games back in 1996. They will have their hands full with a San Diego State team that last played on November 24 in a 35-10 win over New Mexico. They closed the season strongly with four straight wins and will be a handful for Army. Let's see what we can come up with for our Armed Forced Bowl betting pick.

It was a good season for the Aztecs. In the midseason, they dropped consecutive games to Boise State and Fresno, who ended up meeting in the MWC title game. Other than that, they were successful. They beat two Pac-12 teams this season, beating Arizona State on the road and scoring a nice win over Stanford, as well. They can run the heck out of the ball, along with a defense that can be very difficult to handle, as they've allowed an average of just 18.4 points a game.,

QB Christian Chapman is pretty efficient as the Aztecs quarterback, throwing only three picks on the season and running the offense smoothly. Their big weapon on this side of the ball is Rashaad Penny, who ran for 2027 yards and had 23 touchdowns this season, also a big weapon on returns. Juwan Washington has added 715 yards and 7 TDs on the ground, while also being a dangerous return-man. Through the air, they get capable play from Mikah Holder, Kahale Warring, and X-factor Fred Trevillion. But most of their good work is done on the ground and the Army defense will really have their hands full with Penny and the Aztecs' running-game.

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In the four games to close the season, the Aztecs defense allowed a combined 47 points and are in good form for this game. They've been very good against the run this season and should be very good at this level. Army runs the ball almost exclusively and this defense has thrived in that area. Jay Henderson, Chibu Onyeukwu, and LB Rodney Lakalala have rushed the passer, while defensive backs Kameron Kelly, Ron Smith, and Trenton Thompson have made a lot of plays this season. We'll see how they do against the unique offensive approach of the Black Knights in the Armed Forced Bowl.

Army had a big season with nine wins and a victory over Navy, a team they couldn't beat for 14 years until the last two seasons. Head coach Jeff Monken whipped this group into shape and they are in their best form in over two decades. After a 2-2 start, they have now won 7 out of eight games, with their only loss to a pretty good North Texas team by three points. No team has compiled more rushing yardage than this team. Granted, no team has less passing yards, either, but it's an approach that threw a lot of teams off this season. And in giving up less than 21 points a game on average this season, they had the "D" to make it stick.

The Army offense offers a stark contrast—prolific in the run-game and utterly impotent aerially. They averaged 355 yards on the ground this season, led by running quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw. Sure, his passing stats look like a quarterback who had one really bad game—13-for-40 for 279 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. But he has run for 1566 yards and 12 touchdowns. He is supported in the ground-game by Darnell Woolfolk, who also had 12 TDs on the ground, along with Kell Walker and Andy Davidson. A lot of others chipped in, as well, with rushing touchdowns coming from 11 different players this season.

The Army defense has been fairly adept this season, allowing less than 21 points a game and one that enjoys the benefits of having an offense that can run the ball endlessly. They have shown really good balance this season against the pass and the run. Ohio State and North Texas were the only teams who really got anything substantive going against this defense, though they face a run-game this week unlike any they've seen this season. Sure, Navy ran the ball well this season, but this is a more-versatile offense they will facing in this bowl-game. The pass-rush has been strong with John Voit and Alex Auckerman. Linebacker James Nachtigal has been effective in spots, as well. They shut out an Air Force team that put up 24 against the Aztecs. They really need this "D" to be as resilient as they can be in this game.

It is, after all, called the Armed Forces Bowl. For Army, that's a natural fit. It could be a bit of a letdown bowl-spot for San Diego State, playing in Fort Worth before Christmas. It's not an ideal landing-spot for a ten-win team that beat Stanford this season. While we marvel at San Diego State's season, we need to contemplate the full-scope of Army's venom this season. It wasn't easy for them to get this program on the right track and finishing the season strongly would be huge for them against a good San Diego State team. I see a grinding game where having points might come in handy. I'm taking Army.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Army Black Knights plus 7 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Aztecs vs. Black Knights Armed Forced Bowl game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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