Saturday, December 22 at 3:30 PM ET
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
Increasing clouds in the morning; cloudy in the afternoon
Winds from the NNE 7 mph
Gusts: 20 mph
The Houston Cougars battle the Army Black Knights in the Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
This will be the 8th meeting between Houston and Army. The Cougars hold a 5-2 SU advantage but the Black Knights are 5-2 ATS in those games. The last time these two played each other was on September 18, 2004 and Houston won 35-21.
Houston stumbles into this bowl game
The Houston Cougars opened the season 7-1 but they've lost three of their last four games to end the season 8-4 SU and 6-6 ATS. To make matters worse, Houston will be without defensive star Ed Oliver, who decided to sit this game out to prepare for the NFL Scouting Combine.
Linemen Jerard Carter, Payton Turner and Isaiah Chambers are also expected to miss the game as they're all dealing with injuries but the most concerning absence is quarterback D'Eriq King, who has 2,982 passing yards, 36 touchdowns and six interceptions and he also ran for 14 touchdowns. Freshman quarterback Clayton Tune will replace King and although he's not bad, he's clearly not King.
This will be Tune's second start of the season, he has thrown for 565 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions but he's completed just 44.7 percent of his passes and he's not as good on the ground as King, as he averages just 1.7 yards per carry.
Army rides eight-game winning streak
The Army Black Knights are coming off one of their best wins of the season, a 17-10 victory over the Navy Midshipmen in their annual Army-Navy game last Saturday, behind two rushing touchdowns from quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr.
Army is riding an eight-game winning streak, with their only two losses of the season coming against Duke, 34-14 in the season opener and 28-21 in overtime against Oklahoma on September 22. All their seven previous bowl games have been decided by seven points or less, with five of them decided by a field goal or less, so win or lose they play on close bowl games.
The Black Knights will definitely use their hard-to-stop triple-threat offense. They rank 2nd in the country with 296.3 rushing yards per game but just 129th out of 131 schools with 79.7 passing yards per game.
Kelvin Hopkins Jr. has only attempted 90 passes for 956 yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions, so he clearly prefers to run and Army doesn't get enough credit on defense, they rank 9th in the country, allowing just 18.0 points per game and they're strong stopping the run and the pass.
College Football Trends:
The Houston Cougars are:
2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games in December
2-7 ATS in their last nine games after allowing more than 200 rushing yards in their previous game
1-4 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record
The Army Black Knights are:
6-0-1 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning record
3-0-1 ATS in their last four neutral site games
5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games in December
5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games on grass
Houston will be without four of their starting linemen and their starting quarterback who has scored more touchdowns than the rest of the team combined will be replaced by a freshman quarterback that will go up against an Army defense that held 2018 Heisman Trophy Winner Kyler Murray to just 165 passing yards and 71 rushing yards.
College Football Pick: Army -3.5 (-110) at Jazz Sports
Check odds here: http://bit.ly/2RMxhhA