Navy vs. San Diego State
Among the most intriguing matchups of the young December bowl season, the Poinsettia Bowl pits the Naval Academy against San Diego State University. Navy thrives on running the football, ranking fifth nationally with just under 200 yards per game. Meanwhile, San Diego State, under the direction of second-year head coach Brady Hoke, boasted an above average rush defense, finishing third in the Mountain West in that category.
Sportsbook.com has placed San Diego State as a 4.5 point favorite and the over/under at 60.5. I like Navy to cover +4.5 points because of their strong running game and their recent history playing in San Diego. Navy has played in San Diego’s bowl game twice in the last 10 years, winning a 51-30 shootout with Colorado State back in 2005 and narrowly losing to Utah, 35-32, back in 2007.
From a betting standpoint, the recent bowl history is somewhat significant, but it’s probably outweighed by the fact that this is basically a home game for San Diego State. I believe that’s a big reason for the 4.5 point spread in their direction.
My money is on Navy, running the ball with the remarkable Ricky Dobbs at quarterback, to win this game outright. Consider the 4.5 points as a nice early Christmas gift from our friends in Las Vegas.
As far as the over/under is concerned, I’d bet the under. Both teams lean towards running the football, and both teams are good enough defensively to at least limit the scoring. Navy’s offense is generally ran at a plodding, methodical pace, so I think they’ll score in the 24 to 30 point range. I expect San Diego State to score in the 17 to 24 point range, so the smart parlay is to take Navy and the 4.5 points and bet the under. Happy betting!