The 2018-19 NCAA College Football Bowl Season has arrived and the schedule will continue on Saturday including a key showdown in Fort Worth, Texas as the Houston Cougars will face off against the Army Black Knights in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. Along with this contest, three other NCAA Bowl games are scheduled for sports handicappers to take advantage of.
As you look at this matchup on paper it’s an interesting matchup on both sides of the football. On one side you have a Cougars team that is one of the more balanced teams in all of college football. The Cougars enter ranked 6th (529 YPG) in total offense including 14th in passing yards per game (300.9) and 19th in rushing yards per game (227.7). Meanwhile the Black Knights enter this contest with a one sided offensive attack led by their running game. The Black Knights enter this contest ranked 2nd in rushing yards per game (296.3) while averaging just 79.7 passing yards.
On the defensive side of the ball the Cougars have struggled all season allowing 489 yards of offense per game. Those struggles have come both against the pass as well as against the rush. The Cougars entering this matchup against the Black Knights have allowed the most passing yards per game (291.4 ypg) and the 33rd most rushing yards per game (197.5 ypg) in college football this season. The Black Knights meanwhile have been one of the better defensive teams ranking 9th in total yards allowed 294 per contest.
Here are the keys to the game for both the Houston Cougars and Army Black Knights matchup on Saturday December 22nd at Amon G. Carter Stadium in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.
For the Cougars this will be their 27th bowl in team history and sixth straight bowl appearance. Over the previous five appearances the Cougars are 2-3 and are 11-14-1 All-Time in Bowl games.
Army Black Knights
For the Black Knights this will be their eighth bowl in team history and third straight bowl appearance. In their previous seven bowl games the Black Knights are 5-2.
NCAA Keys to the Game
Houston Cougars – Come Out Aggressive forcing Army to Pass
The biggest key in this contest will come down to the Cougars ability to come out aggressive on both sides of the football. On the offensive side, the Cougars need to take shots on their first possession while looking to score first. Meanwhile on the defensive side of the ball, the Cougars need to play aggressive while loading the box to shut down a Black Knights offense that is nearly a one sided attack led by their rushing game. If the Cougars can get out to a double digit lead early, it could force the Black Knights to pass something they have not done a lot of in 2018 (94 total pass attempts).
Army Black Knights – Get Creative on Offense
As the Black Knights continue to dominate on the ground this season and the wins keep piling up the ideal game plan is for the team to stick to the running game. While that game plan has worked, the Cougars will also have this same thought as they prepare their defense to shut down the Black Knights offense. That said, for the Black Knights as they prepare for the matchup with the Cougars the team needs to look at being creative out of the start to throw the Cougars defensive game plan off course. Entering this contest the Black Knights have thrown just 94 times over their first 12 contests.
NCAA Betting Trends
Houston Cougars - The Cougars enter this contest with an 8-4 overall record while posting a 6-6 record against the spread. Along with the 6-6 record against the spread the team has struggled on the road this season covering the spread in just two of their six road contests. The team has also covered the spread in just one of their last five contests against teams with a winning record and in just two of their last eight contests in December. On a bright note the Cougars have responded after failing to cover a spread, covering in six of their last seven games following a contest they failed to cover.
Army Black Knights – The Black Knights have put together a brilliant 10-2 overall record on the year while delivering for sports handicappers covering the spread in eight of their 12 contests this season. Along with that success the team has covered the spread in five of their six road contests this season. The success doesn’t stop there as they have covered the spread in six of their last seven against teams with a winning record as well as in three of their last four contests on a neutral site.