Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Odds
The Navy Midshipmen (8-4) and the Arizona State Sun Devils (7-5) are all set to do battle Saturday, Dec. 29 at 4:00 PM ET in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, which takes place inside San Francisco’s AT&T Park. ESPN2 has the coverage. Oddsmakers have listed Arizona State as a 14.0-point favorite and have set the total at 56.0.
Why Arizona State Covers
The Sun Devils are the more complete team on both sides of the football.
Arizona State finished the regular season ranked 21st in the nation in scoring with 36.4 points per game while Navy finished 86th with 24.8 points per game. The Sun Devils rank 31st in total offense with 449.2 yards per contest while the Midshipmen rank 79th with 387.7 yards per game.
The Arizona State stop unit gave up more points per game than Navy on average (24.0 compared to 22.7), but it allowed significantly less yardage. The Sun Devils rank 26th in the country in total defense with 350.8 yards allowed per game while the Midshipmen rank 57th with 388.9 yards allowed per contest.
Navy will have a tough time game planning and stopping Arizona State’s offensive attack because the Sun Devils can beat teams with the run or pass.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly should find success against a Navy defense that allowed 705 passing yards in two games before facing run-heavy Army in the regular-season finale.
Kelly was one of the top passers in the Pac-12. He completed 65.7 percent of his throws for 2,772 yards with 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
Kelly is also one of four Sun Devils with at least 400 yards rushing.
Navy has failed to cover the spread in each of its last four games and is just 4-8 against the spread in all games this season.
Why Navy Covers
This is a lot of points for a ball-control offense like Navy to be catching.
The Midshipmen rank sixth in the nation in rushing offense with 276.4 yards per game. They should be able to find success on the ground against an Arizona State defense that was at its weakest against the run. The Sun Devils rank 76th in the country in run defense with 172.0 yards allowed per game and allowed four of their final six opponents to rush for more than 200 yards.
Navy has three players with more than 600 yards rushing. One of these players is quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who has 18 total touchdowns.
Reynolds doesn’t pass often, but he is pretty effective when he does. He completed nearly 58 percent of his throws for 884 yards with eight touchdowns and an interception this season.
Navy has been a tremendous investment in the underdog role for a long time now. In fact, it is 81-50 against the spread when catching points over the last two decades.
The Midshipmen have also been a nice investment when playing away from home. They are on a 50-25 against the spread run in road/neutral field contests in the second half of the season. They are also on a 68-33 against the spread run in road/neutral site games against non-conference opponents.
Arizona State hasn’t been a good bowl bet. It is 0-4 against the spread in its last four bowl games. You might recall that is was blown out by Boise State in last season’s bowl contest.
I have picked Arizona State to win this game. Check out the rest of my bowl predictions by following this link. You can also head over and find out who Jack Jones, Vegas Top Cappers, Carolina Sports and Brandon Lee like in this game.