Heart of Dallas Bowl Betting Odds - Free ATS Pick
The Big Ten Illinois Fighting Illini will try and win this season's Heart of Dallas Bowl as underdogs against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, out of Conference USA. Game time from the Cotton Bowl is set for 1 p.m. (ET) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
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Navy wrapped-up its regular season with this past Saturday's 17-10 victory over Army in that storied rivalry, but it failed to cover against the spread as a heavy 16.5-point favorite. The Midshipmen are now 3-0 straight-up in their last three games with a 1-2 record against the spread. On the year they are 7-5 SU (5-7 ATS) and while the total stayed UNDER the closing 55.5-point line against the Black Knights, it had gone OVER in five previous games.
Running the ball and Navy football are almost synonymous and this season has been no exception. It comes into this game ranked second in the nation in rushing yards per game with 345.1 led by quarterback Keenan Reynolds. He has only passed the ball for 826 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games, but on the ground he leads the team in rushing with 1,182 yards and 21 scores. The Midshipmen are averaging a respectable 33.1 points a game, while holding teams to 28.3 points.
The Aztecs finished the season on a high note with a 3-1 record both SU and ATS in their last four games. In back-to-back victories against Air Force and San Jose State, they scored a total of 68 points while allowing a combined 21 points on defense. The total stayed UNDER in both of those games and it has now stayed UNDER in 11 of 12 games this year. San Diego State is 7-5 SU on the year with a 6-5-1 record ATS.
This is another team that likes to move the ball on the ground with an average of 218.6 rushing yards a game. Donnel Pumphrey was one of the most prolific running backs in the country this season with 1,755 yards and 19 scores on 255 attempts for an average of 6.9 yards a carry. San Diego State is averaging 25.8 points a game and it has gotten some solid support from a defense that is ranked 14th in the nation in points allowed (20.1).
The Midshipmen are 18-5 ATS in their last 23 games against the MWC and the total has stayed UNDER in eight of their last nine games played in December.
The Aztecs are 11-5-1 ATS in their last 17 games following a SU win and they are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games following a win ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in their last six games against an Independent.
San Diego State has won three previous meetings both SU and ATS dating back to 1994. The total stayed UNDER the closing 59-point line the last time they met in 2010 in San Diego State's 35-10 win as a three-point favorite.
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech Point Spread Pick
The Aztecs have done well against the service academies in the past with a SU winning streak of eight games and it will also have a big home field edge in this matchup given where the game is being played. The biggest reason to lay the 2.5 points and take San Diego State is the overall edge this team has on both sides of the ball, especially when it comes to playing defense.