Posts Tagged ‘Ticket City Bowl free picks’

Ticket City Bowl Picks: Texas Tech vs. Northwestern Analysis

December 31st, 2010 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in College Football   Comments Off on Ticket City Bowl Picks: Texas Tech vs. Northwestern Analysis
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Every single year, the Northwestern Wildcats seem to figure out how to play a few games every year that just make you go “Wow!” College football betting fans hope that one of those games is on New Year’s Day at the Ticket City Bowl. The Texas Tech Red Raiders will basically be playing on their home turf, as this game is played right up the road at the Cotton Bowl. The three keys to this game should help you make your Ticket City Bowl picks to start your New Year’s Day off right!

Key #1: Evan Watkins needs to be a very unexpected hero
When QB Dan Persa went down with an Achilles injury, the argument really could have been made that the season went down the drain with it. This was a Northwestern team that could have played in a significantly better bowl game this year if not for the fact that it really just fell apart with two blowout defeats down the stretch. Watkins was absolutely nowhere near the quarterback that Persa was either in the air or on the ground. Persa threw for 15 TDs and rushed for nine more, completing 73.5 percent of his passes and averaging over 50 yards per game on the ground. Watkins only has 48 total rushing yards, is completing just 53.1 percent of his passes, and has only one score against four picks. The good news is that there has been plenty of time to prepare for this game. This is also a Texas Tech defense that can really be had, especially against the pass. The Red Raiders averaged 306.1 yards per game through the air, ranking second to last in the nation in the regular season.

Ticket City Bowl Odds at JustBet
Texas Tech Red Raiders -9.5
Northwestern Wildcats +9.5
Over/Under 60.5
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Key #2: Both of these teams need to establish a running game
Did you ever think the day would arrive that Texas Tech would be the dominant running team in a game? The days of the Air Raid are said and done with, but this is still a high flying Texas Tech offense. The Red Raiders do have two great backs though, in RB Eric Stephens and RB Baron Batch. Batch was hoping to become the first Texas Tech runner to reach the 1,000 yard barrier since before Mike Leach was in charge of this offense, but he fell a couple hundred yards short. These two did combine for over 1,400 yards and ten TDs on the campaign. For Northwestern, this could be a very tricky situation. The team did run for 151.7 yards per game this year, which ranked a reasonable No. 68 in the country. However, if you take Persa out of the equation, you’re losing 519 yards and nine TDs on the ground. The team’s third leading rusher, RB Arby Fields has transferred, while both No. 1 runner, RB Mike Trumpy, and fourth leading rusher, RB Jacob Schmidt are injured and are listed as questionable. The Red Raiders at least have the ability to win this game without a running attack because of their nature, but Northwestern doesn’t stand a chance with Watkins under center. Still, whichever team gets something going on the ground is probably the one winning this duel.

Key #3: The Cats need to put a body on Lyle Leong
WR Lyle Leong is essentially the second coming of WR Michael Crabtree in this Texas Tech offense. The senior did just about everything this year for the Red Raiders, and he is quite often the target deployed right near the goal line in virtually every instance. He only had 64 catches this year, which seems like a pedestrian number, but a whopping 17 of those passes went for TDs. The Cats really had no luck playing defense for the mass majority of the season, and until RB Mikel LeShoure went absolutely bananas against this team on the ground, the pass defense was what really struggled. Allowing 230.5 yards per game through the air in a Big Ten conference that focuses more on the rush than on the pass just isn’t all that good, and if Leong can get loose and continue to find the end zone in this game, the Ticket City Bowl odds are certainly going to be stacked against them.