Armed Forces Bowl Houston Cougars vs. Army Knights Pick - ATS Predictions

December 22, 3:30 PM EST

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
Army -3

The Dec. 22 college bowl schedule features an interesting matchup between the AAC’s Houston Cougars and the FBS Independent Army Knights in this season’s Armed Forces Bowl. Game time on Saturday is set for 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.

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Houston vs. Army Overview

Houston had its chances to win the AAC's West Division at 5-3 straight-up in conference play, but a 52-31 loss to Memphis in its regular season finale as a 9.5-point road underdog ended up costing the Cougars the tiebreaker against the Tigers. They were 8-4 SU overall with an even 6-6 record against the spread. The total went OVER 76 points in the loss to Memphis, and it has gone OVER in five of their last six games.

Scoring points has not been an issue for Houston this season with 46.4-point scoring average. Behind a highly balanced attack that averaged 300.9 passing yards and 227.7 yards running the ball, the Cougars had one of the most proficient offenses in Division IA (FBS) this season. Unfortunately, Houston had its issues on the other side of the ball. After giving up 36 points or more in each of its last six games, the defense ended the season with a points-allowed average of 34.4.

The Knights lived up to their No. 22 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 by beating the Navy Midshipmen 17-10 as 7.5-point favorites in Saturday's renewal of one of the most time-honored rivalries in college football. Army moved to 10-2 SU, and it will bring an eight-game winning streak into this bowl game. After failing to cover against Navy, it is 2-4 ATS over its last six games as part of an overall record of 6-5-1 ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in three of the Knights’ last four contests.

Army continues to get it done on the ground with an average of 303.0 rushing yards per game. Kelvin Hopkins completed four of just nine passes for 61 yards his last time out, but he made his mark in the Navy game as the team’s leading rusher with 64 yards and two scores on 18 carries. Seven different players ran the ball in that game for 222 rushing yards on 50 attempts. The Knights are averaging 30.3 points per game, but their biggest strength is a defense that is only giving up 18.7 points a game.

Houston vs. Army Betting Trends

  • The Cougars have covered in four of their last five games following a straight up loss, but they are 2-5-1 ATS in their previous eight games in December. The total has gone OVER in four of their last five bowl games.
  • The Knights are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five neutral-site games, and they have gone 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight December games. The total has stayed UNDER in six of their previous seven games against the AAC.
  • The underdog in this matchup is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings and the total has stayed UNDER in the previous two games between the two.

Houston vs. Army Prediction 12/22/2018

Houston has some solid wins under its belt this season, but it was not playing its best ball at the end of the season on the defensive side of the ball which could be an issue against one of the top rushing teams in the nation. The Cougars could also have a tough time getting close to its scoring average against the Knights’ defense.

Lay the points in this one and take Army to win and cover the current field goal spread.

Free Pick: 
Take Army -3