Army (10-2), with quarterback Kelvin Hopkins at the controls of its run-based triple-option, are 4.5-point betting favorites against the Houston Cougars (8-4) with a 60.5-point total in the Armed Forces Bowl at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth on Saturday at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Army is only 8-20 against the spread in its last 28 games against teams from the American, as well as 1-5 against the spread (ATS) in its last six games as a favorite of 3.5 to 6.5 points at kickoff. However, the Black Knights lead the country in time of possession and the linchpin of Houston’s resistance to the run, nose tackle Ed Oliver, is sitting out to get ready for the NFL draft.
Houston, which is 1-4 ATS in its last five games according to the OddsShark College Football Database, appears to be counting on a freshman quarterback, Clayton Tune, in a game where a handful of empty possessions will be magnified. The total has gone UNDER in seven of Army’s last nine games against American Athletic Conference teams.
Elsewhere on the second weekend of the college football bowl season:
MEMPHIS (8-5) vs. WAKE FOREST (6-6)
The Memphis Tigers are 3.5-point favorites against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons with a 73-point total in the Birmingham Bowl at Legion Field in Birmingham. Memphis, which has the No. 3 offense in the country built around a run-pass threat of Brady White and Patrick Taylor, will be trying to continue a streak of being 5-0 ATS in its last five games as a favorite.
Wake Forest’s season-long defensive issues are a concern, but it is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games against teams from the American, as well as 7-1 ATS at online betting sites in its last eight games in December. The total has gone OVER in five of Memphis’ last six games.
BUFFALO (10-3) vs. TROY (9-3)
The Buffalo Bulls are 1.5-point favorites against the Troy Trojans with a 49.5-point total in the Dollar General Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama. Buffalo, 5-1 ATS in its last six games as a favorite, will need to negate a strong Troy pass rush to boost quarterback Tyree Jackson.
The Sun Belt Conference representative is 5-1 in the last six editions of this game and the Trojans are close to home, as well as 8-0 SU in their last eight games after a loss, so how bettors feel about underdog Troy comes down to gauging the capabilities of an offense that’s counting on sophomore quarterback Sawyer Smith having his receiving corps healthy again.
The total has gone UNDER in three of Troy’s last four games, with an average combined score of 37.0 points.
LOUISIANA TECH (7-5) vs. HAWAII (8-5)
In Saturday’s final bowl matchup, the Hawaii Rainbow are one-point favorites on the Hawaii Bowl odds against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs with a 61-point total at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. There is a decided disparity in experience that augurs poorly for Hawaii, which is not only playing in its first bowl in eight seasons, but is also 0-15-1 ATS in its last 16 games as a favorite
Louisiana Tech has won its last four bowls and is 6-1 ATS in its last seven games as a road underdog, which both seem promising signs as quarterback J’Mar Smith faces a Hawaii defense that is among the bottom 30 in the country playing the run and the pass. The total has gone UNDER in four of Hawaii’s last five home games, with an average combined score of 58.2 points.
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