ARMED FORCES BOWL Amon G. Carter Stadium • Fort Worth, TX

Navy over Louisiana Tech by 6

With the Bulldogs and Midshipmen each arriving on 2-game losing skids, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Janet Jackson singing “What Have You Done For Me Lately” prior to kickoff. In fact, we were all set to take a pass today in Fort Worth as both the Techsters and Middies fall into the same scenario that saw teams go 0-8 SUATS last bowl season – that being squads who lost their conference championship game. That was until the invaders from Ruston went to favorites in this Armed Forces Bowl. That’s just not right! More importantly, it now has Skippy (Holtz) laying points and Playbook vets know he is a lousy favorite as opposed to a terrific dog. Yes, the Midshipmen have put more guys under center than Chippendales but if they get their QB situation settled in time, we’ll look for Ken Niumatalolo’s club to reel off its fourth straight bowl win and cover. It also doesn’t hurt that Military bowlers are 4-0 ATS off a SU favorite loss while CUSA bowlers are 1-4 ATS off back-to-back losses. And remember, this Navy team was 9-2 before their recent slide, knocked off a Top 10 team this year for the first time since 1984 and punted ONE time during the entire month of November. And while we’re at it, we may as well hear from THE CLINCHER: Military teams are 29-13 ATS as bowlers, including 18-5 ATS if they average 300 or more rushing yards per game.

Colorado State over Idaho by 3

With each of these teams riding a 7-0 ATS win skein, the Rams and the Vandals hit the Potato Bowl loaded with carbs. The difference is the Fort Collins crew arrives off a 63-31 thrashing of San Diego State and that brings into play this little gem: teams who score 60 or more points in their previous game are a famine-like 1-6 SU and 0-7 ATS in bowl play since 2011. We realize that the Rams won’t hurt themselves (only 6 turnovers in their last 11 games) but we’re not comfortable laying double-digits with a team that is 8-16 ATS as road chalk of 7 or more points and 2-5 SUATS as bowlers since 2002, including 0-4 ATS versus a foe off a SU win. And remember, the Vandals are playing with house money as this was supposed to be their swan song in the FBS after the Sun Belt announced it wouldn’t renew its membership following this season. However, they got a one-year reprieve from the NCAA (Idaho will be returning to the FCS level in 2018) but still played every contest like they were on death row, winning more games this year (8) than they did in each of the four previous seasons combined (4). And if you can get your hands on that juicy money line (+400), we should also point out that since 2000 there have been a total of 27 double-digit underdogs that have won bowl games in SU fashion – with 2011 and 2015 being the only two seasons during that span when one of these big dogs didn’t bite. We see this as being a great opportunity for the in-state Vandals to add that to that number, especially after hearing from THE CLINCHER: Idaho is 5-0-1 ATS off a conference game when facing a foe off a SUATS win under head coach Paul Petrino

New Orleans over Tampa by 14

If ever a case were to made for never discarding a future Hall of Fame quarterback from your play list it was last week when New Orleans QB Drew Brees kept the Saints’ faint playoff hopes alive with a 48- 41 win at Arizona when he passed for 389 yards and 4 TDs. Yes, we understand the Saints are 3-8 SU and 4-7 ATS in final home games of the season the last eleven years but in none of them were they fighting to stay alive in a playoff race as they were either ‘in’ or eliminated in the postseason chase in those games. We realize they are clinging to an oxygen mask at the moment, but the bottom line is Brees is alive and breathing. Tampa checks into Bourbon Street sporting a lousy 1-6 SU and 0-7 ATS mark in its last seven games on Saturdays, while just 1-5 SUATS in this series when New Orleans is out looking to avenge a loss from the most recent meeting (the Bucs beat the Saints, 16-11, two weeks ago). And because the swashbucklers have covered the spread in each of their six straight games, the price on this affair is just what bargain hunters are looking for this time of the year. Finally, just in case you need more, here is THE CLINCHER: Brees is 22-12-2 ATS with division revenge in his NFL career, including 7-0 SU and 6-0-1 ATS at home after his team surrendered more than 31 points in its previous game.

Detroit over Dallas by 4

The Cowboys are making their FIFTH straight primetime appearance and since the first four weren’t prosperous from an ATS standpoint (3-1 SU, 0-4 ATS), we’re not going to try to fi x what looks like is starting to break down (the ‘Boys are 1-3 ‘ITS’ over that span). Not when we’re backing a Detroit team that is 5-1 ATS in its last six Monday affairs, 4-0 ‘ITS’ in its last four games and looking to fend off the Packers for the NFC North title while holding onto a Wildcard spot if necessary. And why should we? The carefree Cowboys are 2-11 ATS at home off a previous home game, including 1-7 ATS following a win, and 3-8 SUATS in LHGs the past 11 years. With the Lions in control of their playoff destiny, that makes these ‘primetime points’ a bonus, especially after hearing from THE CLINCHER: The Cowboys are 11-25 ATS as home favorites under HC Jason Garrett, including 1-12 ATS off an ATS loss.