(7-5, 3-9 ATS)
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Texas Tech Red Raiders
(7-5, 5-6-1 ATS)
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January 1st in the Lone Star State normally means that we are preparing for the Cotton Bowl, but with that game moving to Dallas Cowboys Stadium later next week, this illustrious stadium is hosting the first annual Ticket City Bowl. The Texas Tech Red Raiders will be the de facto hosts in this game against the Northwestern Wildcats in this NCAA football betting battle.
Northwestern is really a tremendous underdog in this game due to the fact that it has a number of injuries to contend with. QB Dan Persa is the biggest injury of note, as he tore his Achilles in a celebration of a late touchdown against the Iowa Hawkeyes three games ago. Since that point, the team is 0-2 SU and ATS and was crippled by the aggregate score of 118-50. QB Evan Watkins has taken over under center, and he just hasn’t had the same type of success as his predecessor. So far this year, Watkins has thrown for 302 yards and a TD against four picks, and he has run for 48 yards and a TD. However, Persa wasn’t just the leading passer on this team. He was the second leading rusher as well with 519 yards and nine TDs. RB Mike Trumpy was the team’s leading rusher at 530 yards and four TDs, but he could be sidelined with a wrist injury. That would leave RB Jacob Schmidt to take over the rushing duties, except for the fact that he has an ankle injury and is questionable as well. RB Arby Fields, who would be next, transferred after the fall semester. That leaves just RB Adonis Smith and RB Stephen Simmons, who combined for just 296 rushing yards on the season.
Texas Tech should be looking forward to shredding a defense that ranked No. 92 in the land at 409.7 yards per game. We’re probably really not so sure how good the Red Raiders really are this year. After all, they were defeated by some very iffy teams like the Texas Longhorns and the Iowa State Cyclones this year in conference, but they did beat the Missouri Tigers and held three of their last four foes to 21 points or fewer. What we do know is that this is a significantly more well rounded offense than last year. QB Taylor Potts still put the pill in the air 494 times this season, but his 3,357 yards and 31 scores could have been better if not for the fact that RBs Baron Batch and Eric Stephens combined to run the ball 285 times on the year. The two did combine for 1,347 yards and ten TDs. WR Lyle Leong had 17 trips to the end zone this year, giving up 26 over the course of his last two seasons and 30 for his career.
There is really no good reason to back Northwestern in this game except for the fact that this is a just a squad that seemingly always plays in ridiculous bowl games. Remember last year’s Outback Bowl against the Auburn Tigers? This game should be just as wild. Who cares who wins at that point? The Cats will stick in front of the Ticket City Bowl odds.
Ticket City Bowl Free Pick: Northwestern Wildcats +9.5
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