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Houston vs. Army - 12/22/18 - Armed Forces Bowl College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Houston Cougars (8-4) at Army Black Knights (10-2)
Date & Time Saturday December 22, 2018, 3:30 PM (EST)
Location
The Line
The Line: Army Black Knights -5 -- Over/Under: 60
TV Channel
ESPN
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Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Cougars and the Army Black Knights meet in the Armed Forces Bowl in college football action from Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Houston Cougars come into this game with a record of 8-4, including a 5-3 mark in AAC conference play, finishing in a 3-way tie for top spot in the AAC West, missing out on a spot in the conference championship game due to a tiebreaker. D’Eriq King has thrown for 2,982 yards, 36 touchdowns and 6 interceptions on 63.5% passing while also rushing for 674 yards and 14 touchdowns. Patrick Carr leads Houston with 816 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns while Marquez Stevenson led the Cougars’ receiving corps with 67 catches for 947 yards and 9 touchdowns and Keith Corbin chipped in 669 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. As a team, Houston is averaging the 6th-most total offense in the country, putting up 528.2 yards of total offense and the 4th-highest scoring offense with 46.4 points per game this season.

The Army Black Knights enter this game with a 10-2 overall record, highlighted with a road win in a 42-13 beatdown of Buffalo along with taking Oklahoma to overtime. Kelvin Hopkins Jr. led the Black Knights passing with 956 yards, 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions on 53.3% passing, while also rushing for 852 yards and 12 touchdowns. Darnell Woolfolk leads the Black Knights on the ground with 885 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. Jordan Asberry led the Army receiving corps with 197 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns while Kell Walker was the lone receiver to have double-digit receptions with 11 grabs for 170 yards this season. As a team, Army is averaging 375.9 yards of total offense, including the 2nd-most rushing yards per game with 296.2 rushing yards per game this season to go along with 29.7 points per game this season. The Black Knights are also tough defensively, giving up the 9th-fewest total yards per game this season, allowing just 293.5 yards of total offense and 18 points per game this season.

Houston is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against a team with a winning record and 2-5-1 ATS in their last 8 games in December while the over is 5-1 in their last 6 games overall. Army is 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record and 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games while the under is 6-1 in their last 7 games against the AAC. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings between these two teams.

No disrespect to Army and what they accomplished this season, especially on defense, but I have a hard time reading into those kinds of numbers considering any team that runs the option offense is going to chew up a lot of clock and keep their opposition off of the field. With that said, Army could come out and run all over the Cougars, considering that Houston was barely inside the top-100 against the run this season. However, Houston’s high-octane offense doesn’t need much to turn this game into a track meet and are one of the few teams that can score at will and hang enough points up to make Army uncomfortable. Before the line was released, I had Houston winning this game outright, but just to be safe, I’ll take the points with the Cougars here.

Pick:
Houston +5

Chris has been a sports fan from when he was old enough to pick up a basketball and was a standout offensive lineman throughout high school and college. Chris uses that same instinct, determination and drive to analyze trends and statistics to find and produce winners on a consistent basis. Chris has been writing for Sports Chat Place since 2016 and covers a wide array of sports from college and pro football, college basketball, hockey and baseball.

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