Great moments in handicapping – when you get to look at games where the two teams are using completely different styles of offense, which affects preparation, and you have to figure out which is going to prevail over the other and why. That’s what we have before us as the Army Cadets take a trip out to the islands for a game against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, scheduled for 12:30 AM ET (technically Sunday on the East Coast), where it might actually be dark at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
Remember that if you are a BetAnySports customer, you can get reduced juice on this game before the kickoff, and you are not shut out after the action is underway either, as you can follow along on CBS Sports Network and place wagers through either of two options – Sports Betting Ultra or Live Betting Extra.
The ‘Bows (8-4 SU, 6-6 ATS) are enjoying a good season, and evidence of that is their 14-11 victory over nationally-ranked San Diego State last week, where they clinched the West division title of the Mountain West Conference (the Mountain West West, if you will, although they will someday come up with a more creative way to put it). So they advance to the championship game. That’s what THEY have to look forward to.
As for Army (5-6 SU & ATS), they are in a strange “must-win” position here – perhaps – as they need at least one win for bowl qualification, although even if they have six victories, they could be under .500, as they still have to play Navy, which may still be a ranked team by that time.
Of course, the great attraction here is that you have one team that runs the triple option, running the ball almost exclusively, against a pass-happy team that does not go to the ground very often.
In the NCAA football odds that have been placed on this game, Hawaii is a short favorite:
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors -2.5 (-101)
Army Cadets +2.5 (-109)
Over 54.5 points (-105)
Under 54.5 points (-105)
If you notice those numbers in parentheses, you’ll see that they aren’t the -110 you’re used to. That’s because it represents reduced juice, which helps you get better value. You can find it at BetAnySports!
Officially in the NCAA statistics against the run, Hawaii ranks 103rd. But there are only four teams in the nation who have allowed more yards per attempt then their 5.7. Maybe they can do better than that if they don’t have to worry about the other team passing the ball as well.
On October 19, the Rainbows hosted Air Force, which had a similar setup. The Falcons ran roughshod, with 354 rushing yards (coming out to about seven yards a carry) and they even added over 150 through the air (element of surprise) in a 56-26 win that was engineered by a second-string quarterback. Don’t put anything past Army coach Jeff Monken, especially if his back is to the wall. If they think they can spring a surprise, they’ll throw it. Sometimes.
But what is important to remember is that the Cadets are the best team in the country – statistically speaking – when it comes to preventing penetration into their backfield. They are the only team in the nation with a “stuffed rate” (no gain or a loss) of under 10%. So they’ll likely have pretty good second and third down situations. As it is, they are 48% on third down.
Another thing that works to their advantage is that Hawaii is mistake-prone. The Rainbows have turned it over more than anyone else in the nation (27 times, translating into a minus-14 ratio). And maybe the only thing that will keep that down is that the length of Army’s drives will keep them off the field.
The scheduling is a factor. While Hawaii is sky-high after last week’s win, where San Diego State missed a late field goal that could have tired it, and is certainly looking ahead to Boise State, which scored 59 points on them earlier, Army hasn’t had to play a legitimate D-1 foe (yes UMass, we’ve ‘dissed’ you) since the Air Force game on November 2, and has two weeks until the Navy game. So don’t have any illusions about which team is more distracted and which has more focus.
Army isn’t what it was last year, so you may look at this number and think you’ve got some value. But not considering the circumstances. Grab it, or even the money line, which was +120 on Army the last we looked.
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