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Houston vs. Pittsburgh - 1/2/15 Armed Forces Bowl Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6) at Houston Cougars (7-5)

College Football: Friday, January 2, 2015 at 12:00 pm (Amon Carter Stadium)

The Line: Houston Cougars +3 -- Over/Under: 53.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

The Houston Cougars and Pittsburgh Panthers play Friday afternoon in the Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

The Houston Cougars have split their last four games and play in their third bowl in four years. Greg Ward Jr. is completing 67.8 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns and seven interceptions. Ward Jr. has six total touchdowns and two picks in his last two games, and Houston has 20 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Deontay Greenberry and Markeith Ambles have combined for more than 1,200 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while Demarcus Ayers is coming off a 10-catch performance. Houston’s ground game is averaging 4.8 yards per carry, as Kenneth Farrow leads the way with 934 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Defensively, the Houston Cougars are allowing 19.5 points, 334.6 yards, and they’ve forced 26 sacks and 30 turnovers. Efrem Oliphant leads Houston with 129 tackles and Steven Taylor has nine tackles for loss.

Houston vs. Pittsburgh - 1/2/15 Armed Forces Bowl Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Panthers have lost three of their last five games and are playing in their seventh straight bowl. Chad Voytik is completing 62.7 percent of their passes for 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Voytik has four total touchdowns and one pick in his last two games, and Pittsburgh has 18 passing plays of 25 or more yards. Tyler Boyd and Manasseh Garner have combined for more than 1,300 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns while Kevin Weatherspoon has four catches in his last two games. Pittsburgh’s ground game is averaging 5.3 yards per carry, as James Conner leads the way with 1,675 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. Defensively, the Pittsburgh Panthers are allowing 25.6 points, 349.3 yards, and they’ve forced 16 sacks and 14 turnovers. Anthony Gonzalez leads Pitt with 74 tackles and Todd Thomas has 5.5 tackles for loss.

The Cougars are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 bowl games and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games. The Panthers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following a ATS win and 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a S.U. win. 

I like Pittsburgh's physicality and the power running of Conner to prevail in this matchup. Houston has played a soft schedule for the most part and has lost against all of the physical teams its matched up against. Look for the Pittsburgh Panthers to roll in this one. 

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Pittsburgh Panthers -3

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