Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Support The Troops & Bet On The Military Bowl This Afternoon

Bowl season, as a whole, stinks. Most of the teams are bad, most of the stadiums are almost completely empty, and largely the whole month is ESPN trying to sell you a bunch of shit.

But not today.

Today is for the troops. It's the 2016 Military Bowl at the Navy-Marines Stadium in Annapolis.

And it's basically a home game for Temple, for two reasons. First, Maryland is the next state down below Pennsylvania. For a fan base that is most likely on vacation this week, a two-hour drive with no tickets available on Stubhub probably means a decent crowd (for a non-major bowl game, at least).

Second, Temple played both Army and Navy this season. No college football team played more games against The Military this season than Temple. (Notre Dame also played two.)

So, naturally, let's use our knowledge of Philadelphia Football, our love for The Troops, and our hatred for Wake Forest to make some money on a dreary Tuesday afternoon.

Wake Forest Offense

  • 56.6% rushing plays
  • 133.5 rush yards per game (103rd out of 128 schools)
  • 3.4 yards per rush (112th)
  • 43.4% passing plays
  • 157.5 pass yards per game (117th)
  • 5.9 yards per pass attempt (119th)
That all paints the picture of a really bad offense. Wake Forest played three ranked teams this season, and managed to score just 10.3 points per game in those three (6 against Florida State, 12 against Louisville, 13 against Clemson). For what it's worth, they gave up 32.0 points per game to those opponents. That's not great. 

The issue with the Wake Forest offense is simple. They aren't good at anything. I mean those yards per rush and yards per pass stats put them in the company of teams like Kansas, UConn. Boston College, and Virgina. 

Wake Forest Defense
  • 165.0 rushing yards against per game (53rd out of 128 schools)
  • 4.1 yards against per rush attempt (45th)
  • 230.2 passing yards against per game (61st)
  • 7.3 passing yards against per attempt (57th)
Well here's how the Demon Deacons were able to notch wins against Duke (24-14), Indiana (33-28), Syracuse (28-9), and Virginia (27-20). When their opponents are in the class below Ranked (or Elite, or Contender, or Whatever The Fuck You Want To Call The Class Below Alabama), their decent defense can overcome their paltry offense. And, in situations like those four quality wins, they can actually put up a decent amount of points. 

  • Won at Duke, 24-14
  • Won at Indiana, 33-28
  • Lost at NC State, 33-16
  • Won vs Syracuse, 28-9
  • Lost vs Army, 21-13
  • Won vs Virginia, 27-20
  • Lost vs Boston College, 17-14
Average win (4 games): 28.0 to 17.8
Average loss (3 games): 14.3 to 23.7

Temple, as we know, had an elite pass defense this season. They were 2nd in the nation in passing yards against per game, 11th in yards per pass attempt, and 5th in sack percentage. Their rush defense, though not quite as impressive, was still 28th in yards per game against and 29th in yards per attempt against. 

It'd be really cool if any of these seven teams that Wake has played this year matched all or some of that defensive resume. Let's split it into two groups. 

  • Duke: rushing defense 66th/72nd, passing defense 93rd/127th
  • Indiana: rushing defense 20th/42nd, passing defense 31st/48th
  • Syracuse: rushing defense 112th/121st, passing defense 122nd/125th
  • Virginia: rushing defense 75th/75th, passing defense 84th/113th

  • NC State: rushing defense 8th/12th, passing defense 36th/94th
  • Army: rushing defense 37th/62nd, passing defense 4th/34th
  • Boston College: rushing defense 9th/11th, passing defense 45th/62nd
Naturally, nothing was particularly close to Temple's defense. But if we can consider than Indiana game a fluke (5 interceptions for 100 yards and a touchdown will do that), then basically Wake beats bad defenses and loses to good defenses. Temple is, unquestionably, a good defense. I'd project Wake Forest to score between 10-14 points. 

But how many will they allow Temple? We're going to do this whole exercise over in reverse. 

Temple Against Middle-Of-The-Road Defenses

Since Wake Forest is right in the middle tier of college defenses both against the rush (45th/53rd) and against the pass (57th/61st), we're going to see how Temple has done against teams that fall somewhere in that same class. 
  • Lost vs Army, 28-13
    • Army: rushing defense 37th/62nd, passing defense 4th/34th
  • Lost at Penn State, 34-27
    • PSU: rushing defense 31st/44th, passing defense 13th/25th
  • Won vs Charlotte, 48-20
    • Charlotte: rushing defense 40th/57th, passing defense 83rd/124th
  • Won vs. SMU, 45-20
    • SMU: rushing defense 99th/103rd, passing defense 61st/82nd
  • Lost at Memphis, 34-27
    • Memphis: rushing defense 89th/97th, passing defense 32nd/98th
  • Won at UCF, 26-25
    • UCF: rushing defense 33rd/62nd, passing defense 15th/32nd
  • Won vs USF, 46-30
    • USF: rushing defense 83rd/88th, passing defense 73rd/118th
  • Won vs Cincinnati, 34-13
    • UC: rushing defense 42nd/76th, passing defense 60th/75th
  • Won at UConn, 21-0
    • UConn: rushing defense 36th/47th, passing defense 84th/107th
  • Won at Tulane, 31-0
    • Tulane: rushing defense 47th.56th, passing defense 24th/44th
  • Won vs East Carolina, 37-10
    • ECU: rushing defense 109th/118th, passing defense 58th/105th
  • Won at Navy, 34-10
    • Navy: rushing defense 69th/70th, passing defense 86th/122nd
Those two road wins at UConn and Tulane are a really impressive 52-0 combined total over some decent defensive teams. And, for what it's worth, that game against Navy was at the same stadium as this afternoon's game. 

I'm going to aggregate those games. Against teams in the 30th-80th range defensively (Army, UCF, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Tulane), Temple finished 4-1 by an average score of 25.0 to 13.2. Given that the Army game was the first of the season, and that their pass defense is stingier than Wake Forest's, I'm willing to overlook that game. Temple was very solid against middle-of-the-road defenses, especially late in the season. I think they'll eclipse that average of 25 points, probably in the 28-35 range. 

Bovada's Current Odds/Props

Temple -12.5
Over 41 
Tease Temple -6 and Over 34.5
Temple Total Points Over 27
Wake Forest Total Points Under 15

I nailed that preview. 

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