Armed Forces Bowl Betting Preview

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:

The Armed Forces Bowl takes place on Saturday, January 4th at 11:30 EST am in Fort Worth, Texas when the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles take on the Tulane Green Wave. Tulane is a 7 point favorite in this game and the total here is 56.5.

Injury News and Notes

This appears to be a pretty clean game outside of some question marks surrounding the Tulane backfield. The Green Wave’s leading rusher this year is their quarterback, but their two best running backs are both questionable in this game. I do not suspect either sits, but it is noteworthy leading up to the game.

Keys to the Game

This is a strange bowl game where we have two teams out of smaller conferences that really stumbled into this game after losing multiple games to end their regular season. The Golden Eagles have lost 2 straight to conference opponents, FAU and WKU, but both of those teams won their bowl game and have appeared to be competent out of the conference.

Tulane has lost 4 of their last 5, but a close loss to UCF, a loss to SMU, and then one possession losses to Navy and Temple are not that bad for a team of their caliber. It does worry me about the team morale a bit, but I really don’t question the strength of the team after struggling to lock down wins down the stretch.

Do either of these teams appear weaker or stronger than they really are based on their conference opponents? I generally think that Tulane’s schedule and results deserve more respect due to their losses and the margin of victory in different games. The top of the AAC is much better than Conference USA, so I don’t fault a drop off in conference play.

These teams are statistically very similar from a YPP standpoint on both sides of the ball and I think this again makes me favor Tulane on both sides of the ball. Both teams are right around 6 YPP on offense and 5.6 YPP on defense, meaning both are basically average on defense and slightly above average on offense.

Most notably here, I think that this does mean that Tulane has a better defense than Southern Miss statistically. Playing against teams like SMU and UCF is generally going to really hurt defensive statistics and Tulane has held up decently well after a pretty brutal top end of their schedule.

Physically, I am really impressed with Tulane and their game against Auburn early in the year. Auburn won the game with relative ease, but 24-6 against a top end SEC team is a fantastic effort from Tulane and I think it says a lot about their physical ability.

Auburn is a bad offense in general and they were particularly bad early in the season. I don’t want to give Tulane a ton of credit for schematics and play, but I do want to credit them for simply being able to hold up for 4 quarters against a team that should be able to physically dominate them. While I don’t expect Tulane to dominate both lines of scrimmage here, I do give them the edge because they have really showed up well physically.

Spread Pick

This is a really tough game for me because I think that the line is a really good one. I would have expected Tulane to be closer to -4 and I would love the Green Wave there. That being said, I will bite the bullet and take the -7 on the Green Wave anyways on a team that I think has been more tested physically this season. Bet the Green Wave at - the top pay per head bookie site.

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