The Navy Midshipmen (10-2) will take on the Kansas State Wildcats (8-4) in the Liberty Bowl Tuesday at Liberty Bowl Stadium in Memphis.
The Wildcats are 2.5 point underdogs in this one. Here’s a preview of the game followed by trends and our prediction, where we’ll tell you how to bet.
The Midshipmen are coming off their third 10-win season under head coach Ken Niumatalolo. Navy have played well all season, with their only two losses coming to very good Notre Dame and Memphis teams. The Midshipmen have relied on a strong rushing attack along with stout defense. Navy is allowing 326.2 total yards per contest, which is 22nd in the nation. They are surrendering over 22 points a game to opposing offenses, while scoring an average of 38.6 points, which ranks 11th in the country.
But it has been the Midshipmen’s rushing attack that has propelled them to 10 wins this year. Put simply: Navy has the nation’s best running game. They lead the country with 363.7 yards rushing per contest, averaging a hefty 6.1 yards a carry.
Until getting obliterated by Joe Burrow and LSU Saturday, Oklahoma’s only loss on the season came at the hands of the Wildcats, so Niumatalolo will absolutely not overlook this Kansas State team. Led by quarterback Skylar Thompson, who has 12 passing touchdowns to go with 10 rushing scores, the Wildcats have been an effective and efficient football team this season.
Kansas State has the nation’s top kickoff return unit, and they are fourth in the country in time of possession. They have four kickoff returns for touchdowns this year, so special teams could absolutely be a factor in this game.
Game Info, Betting Trends, Odds and Pick
*NOTE: all numbers and percentages that follow are courtesy of Odds Shark.
Game Time: Tuesday, December 31 at 3:45 p.m. ET
Location: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis
Spread: Kansas State +2.5
Over/Under: 52.5 points
Odds Shark currently has Navy winning the game by a projected score of 39-22, with the Midshipmen covering the spread and the total score going over 52.5 points.
Some trends relating to both teams to consider:
- Navy is 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games.
- The total has gone OVER in 7 of Navy’s last 10 games.
- Navy is 8-1 SU in their last 9 games.
- The Midshipmen are 10-2 SU in their last 12 games this season.
- Kansas State is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kansas State’s last 5 games.
- The Wildcats are 5-2 SU in their last 7 games.
- Kansas State is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games this season.
I’m taking the Midshipmen in this one. I’m also with Odds Shark regarding the OVER bet. I think Navy’s rushing attack will be too much for Kansas State when all is said and done, and I believe Navy’s defense should be able to keep Thompson and company in check. Navy is too good on both sides of the ball, and I think they pull away in the fourth quarter. Take the Midshipmen to win and cover the spread.
Final Prediction: Navy 31, Kansas State 24