Middle Tennessee vs. Army Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Saturday, Sept. 5)
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Asher O’Hara (10) and Chaton Mobley (44).
- One person's take is just an opinion; two people with the same take may just be a coincidence; but three people on the same betting side? That's approaching consensus.
- Dillon Essma previews Middle Tennessee vs. Army and joins Stuckey and Collin Wilson in their support behind the Blue Raiders at +4.
- Read on for his full betting guide, including updated odds, picks and predictions for Saturday's matchup between Middle Tennessee and Army.
Middle Tennessee vs. Army
|Middle Tennessee Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Army Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+148/-180 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||55 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 1:30 p.m. ET|
If you would have told me last year that I would be this excited to watch Middle Tennessee vs. Army, I would have called you crazy, but here we are. Saturday’s college football slate may be limited, but I’m excited to dive into College Football.
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The Blue Raiders return nine starters on offense this year, including junior quarterback Asher O’Hara. The dual-threat QB passed for over 2,600 yards and eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark last season. O’Hara will be arguably the most talented player on the field against Army.
On top of that, Middle Tennessee returns almost all of its skill-position players. Despite mixed results on the final scoreboard ,the Blue Raiders offense demonstrated steady improvement throughout 2019. The unit should continue to improve in Year 2 with O’Hara under center, potentially springing open several explosive plays against a vulnerable Army defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Middle Tennessee’s most glaring weaknesses last season were pressuring the quarterback and defending the pass. Luckily for them, Army basically just runs the ball every play.
The Blue Raiders defense only returns five starters but nonetheless should hold up against Army’s option attack. Typically, the largest obstacles to defending the option effectively are preparation time and team continuity. Middle Tennessee has had about a month to prepare for Army’s option offense, compared to less than a week of preparation if they played them in a normal season. That extra time gives the Blue Raiders a significant advantage in this spot.
Army only returns five starters on offense this year. The Black Knights have to replace Kelvin Hopkins Jr. at quarterback, plus three starting offensive linemen. That’s a bit concerning to me given their reliance on the running game.
The Black Knights’ inexperienced offensive unit also suffers from a shortened camp and COVID-19-related restrictions. Sure, that could be said for every active FBS team, but those impediments have a disproportionately larger effect on triple-option teams, because executing the offense requires excellent team chemistry and experience.
As a result, I could easily imagine Army’s offense getting off to a slow start against Middle Tennessee. Defensively, the Black Knights lost their best linebacker and cornerback from last year’s class. Those major personnel losses exacerbate Army’s preexisting weaknesses in pass coverage.
Army ranked outside the top 100 defending the pass last season. With O’Hara and all of his weapons back for the Blue Raiders, the Black Knights secondary might be in trouble on Saturday.
Lastly, I rarely back a service academy favored in any spot. Their offenses tend to chew up clock, so it’s pretty difficult for them to achieve an insurmountable lead. That is especially true for Army this week as it faces a team that can exploit the Black Knight defense through the air.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I would make this game closer to Army -2.5, and the Black Knights are listed all the way up to -4 across the betting market. I have a hard time backing a service academy favored by more than a field goal in what I believe is a pretty even matchup.
The Blue Raiders’ defensive weaknesses are muted due to Army’s offensive scheme, and Middle Tennessee’s strength in the passing game could be amplified against Army’s subpar secondary. So, I’ll take the Blue Raiders here.
Pick: Middle Tennessee +4.