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Army Black Knights vs. Stanford Cardinal Free Pick 9/14/13

Stanford Cardinal (1-0) at Army Black Knights (1-1)

NCAAF Football: Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 12:00 pm (Michie Stadium)

The Line: Army Black Knights 28.5 -- Over/Under: 46 See the Latest Odds

TV: CBS Sports Network

Storyline: Fifth-ranked Stanford opened its 2013 campaign Saturday with a convincing 34-13 win over San Jose Jose State, in a complete about face from last year’s opener that saw the Cardinal barely squeak out a 20-17 win with just over a minute left in regulation. The Cardinal had everything clicking in this year’s version, compiling 404 yards of total offense, while holding the Spartans to 251 total yards and just 35 on the ground. Army, meanwhile, comes into the game fresh off a 40-14 spanking from Ball State Saturday.

The Breakdown: Stanford didn’t need long to shake off the cobwebs and had everything going early against a scrappy San Jose side that wouldn’t go away, despite being stuffed both through the air and on the ground. Stanford held SR. San Jose RB Jason Simpson to just 43 yards on 11 carries after an outstanding 135 yard and one TD week one performance. The Cardinal also disrupted the San Jose State passing game, sacking standout Sr. QB David Fales 4 times, while holding him to a modest 29-of-43 for  216 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Offensively, the day belonged to Sr. RB Tyler Gaffney, who paced Stanford with 104 yards and 2 touchdowns in his return to the gridiron after spending the 2012 season playing professional baseball in the minor leagues. Jr. QB Kevin Hogan went an efficient 17-of-27 for 207 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Jr. WR Ty Montgomery, who battled a knee injury most of last season, finished with 4 catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

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Army Black Knights vs. Stanford Cardinal Free Pick 9/14/13

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Army’s Saturday was somehow still productive, the lopsided 40-14 score notwithstanding. The Black Knights piled up a whopping 363 yards rushing, 113 and 2 scores from Jr. RB Larry Dixon alone, but just couldn’t do anything to stop the Ball State passing game. Sr. Ball State QB Keith Wenning had all day in the pocket to do whatever he pleased and he made good, connecting on 23-of-32 for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Army won the time of possession battle and seemed to control the tempo for a bit, but the three turnovers and lack of any real pass rush proved to be their undoing.

Betting Trends: Stanford is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games and 4-1 SU in its last 5 games on the road. The total has gone under in 7 of Stanford’s last 10 games and 5 of its last games on the road. Army is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games, 3-15 SU in its last 18 games, 2-4 ATS in its last 6 home games, and 3-7 SU in its last 10 hoe games.

Rick’s Pick: Stanford might be one of the only elite programs in the nation that won’t wow anybody with speed and explosive offense. They just know how to win in a “no frills” kind of way. And it’s gonna be fun to see what they do against Oregon, their exact opposite, come November. But as for the here and now, the line for this game opened at -28.5 for Stanford, which might be a little on the high side, but just slightly. Army couldn’t come up with anything defensively against Ball State and they’ll have much more to deal with here. I’d lean towards the over, but I see a cover here as well.

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