College Football Free Pick: Army West Point Black Knights vs. San Jose State Spartans

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The Army West Point Black Knights (-14) are set to face off against the San Jose State Spartans at Levi’s Stadium. Kickoff for this showdown is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET and interested parties can catch the action live on ESPNU.

Betting Preview: Army West Point Black Knights at San Jose State Spartans

In this Saturday game, Army West Point is labeled as the big favorite and is currently giving up 14 points. The Black Knights are also receiving -735 moneyline odds while the Spartans are +500. If one side can catch a lucky break early, it will probably generate a worthy live betting opportunity.

The game’s opening line was 17, but square bettors have been hammering the Spartans.

The surprising Black Knights are 3-1-1 against the spread (ATS) and have gained 3.2 units so far in 2018. The team has posted an O/U record of 2-3.

The Spartans have been a disappointment to moneyline bettors this season, losing 3.5 units. The team is 2-3 ATS and has an even O/U record of 2-2.

The Black Knights have gone 3-2 straight up (SU) in 2018 while the Spartans are 0-5 SU.

The Black Knights are coming off a resounding 42-13 victory over Buffalo on September 29. Kelvin Hopkins Jr. completed four-of-5 passes for only 91 yards, as well as a TD and an interception. Hopkins Jr. (89 rushing yards on 19 attempts) also led the ground attack and was complemented by Darnell Woolfolk (58 yards on 14 carries, one TD) in the win. Jordan Asberry (one receptions, 25 yards, one TD) and Camden Harrison (one catch, 37 yards) shared the receiving duties.

One week ago, Colorado State knocked off this San Jose State crew by a score of 42-30. The Spartans defense let the Rams kill the clock by running for 219 yards on 45 rush attempts, along with one rushing TD. Izzy Matthews had a solid outing in the win for Colorado State, recording 125 rushing yards and a score on 22 attempts. For San Jose State, Josh Love completed 17-of-40 passes for 232 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Tyler Nevens (73 yards on 20 rush attempts, one TD) led the ground game in the defeat while Thai Cottrell (six receptions, 41 yards, one TD) and Tre Hartley (four catches, 96 yards, two TDs) led the pass-catching corps.

Army West Point has run the ball on 86.1 percent of its offensive possessions this year while San Jose State has a rush percentage of 42.9 percent. The Black Knights have run for 308.0 yards per game and have 16 scores via handoffs this year. The Spartans are averaging 53.2 rush yards per game and have six total rushing TDs.

If the numbers so far this season can translate to this game, then it’s looking like the Black Knights should hold an edge when it comes to quarterback protection, as their offensive line has allowed only one sacks while the D-line registered 24 sacks. The Spartans, on the other hand, have allowed 36 sacks and their defense has sacked opposing QBs on just 13 occasions.

The Black Knights offense has averaged 110.2 yards in the air overall and has three passing scores so far. The Spartans have recorded 284.0 pass yards per outing and have 10 total pass TDs.

Army West Point should possess the upper hand in both defensive phases. The team’s allowed opponents to rush for an average of 125.6 yards and throw for 228.4 yards per game. The San Jose State defense has allowed 337.6 yards per game to opposing passers and 150.8 yards per game to opposing runners. The Spartans are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of only 6.50 to opponents, while the Black Knights have given up a whopping 8.98 ANY/A.

Passing-wise, Hopkins Jr. has amassed 511 yards on the year, and has connected on 51 percent of his 43 attempts with three passing scores and one interception. He has an 11.36 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 1.00 over the last two games.

The Black Knights will likely try to maintain tempo by getting the ball in the hands of their running backs. In addition to Kelvin Hopkins Jr. (zero receiving yards), Kell Walker (52 rush yards, 77 receiving yards) and Darnell Woolfolk (246 rush yards, four rush TDs) have brought significant production to the Army West Point offensive scheme.

On the other sideline, Josh Love has completed 46-of-100 passes for 579 yards, five TDs and five INTs. Love’s ANY/A stands at a horrendous 3.68 for the season and 6.40 across his last two outings.

The Spartans should also look to control the clock by turning to their backfield. In addition to Josh Oliver (224 receiving yards, one receiving TD), Tre Hartley (zero rush yards, 184 receiving yards, two receiving TDs) and Bailey Gaither (28 rush yards, 327 receiving yards, three TDs) have seen a lot of touches recently.

Army West Point Black Knights at San Jose State Spartans NCAA Pick

SU Winner: Army West Point, ATS Winner: Army West Point

Betting Notes

  • The Black Knights offense has tallied three pass plays of 40 yards or more, while the Spartans have accounted for nine such plays.
  • Both defenses have allowed four pass plays of 40 yards or more. The Army West Point defense has given up nine pass plays of 30+ yards while San Jose State has given up 10 such plays.
  • The Army West Point offense has created nine rushing plays of 20+ yards, while San Jose State has created two such runs.
  • The Black Knights defense has allowed four rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while the Spartans have given up seven such runs.
  • The San Jose State defense has produced eight sacks on the year while Army West Point has seven.
  • As a team, Army West Point has produced 4.4375 yards per carry across its last three outings and 4.4 over its last two.
  • San Jose State has averaged 1.2 yards per carry over its last three games and 1.2 over its last two.
  • Army West Point has won four of its last five games SU, with a seven-point defeat to Oklahoma on September 22nd representing the only loss over that stretch.