Armed Forces Bowl Spread: Houston vs. Army Prediction

Payton Matthews | Updated Dec 13, 2018

kelvin hopkins jr army

The Dec. 22 Armed Forces Bowl from Fort Worth seems to have a perfect matchup for its purposes between in-state school Houston and the only U.S. service academy to be in a 2018 bowl game in Army.

December 22, 2018, 3:30 PM ET
Amon G. Carter Stadium
Pointspread +6.5 +105
Moneyline +210
Over / Under o +56


Betting Action


Pointspread -6.5 -125
Moneyline -260
Over / Under u +56


Betting Action


The Armed Forces Bowl, which like most bowls has had a few names over the years, originated in 2003. It’s the fifth appearance in the game for Houston, tied for the most of any school. The Cougars are 2-2, last playing in the bowl following the 2014 season and beating Pittsburgh 35-34.

Betting Analysis

Being as this is called the Armed Forces Bowl, the goal is to land one of the three football-playing U.S. service academies. Air Force and Navy both had losing records in 2018, so that left Army as the easy choice. It’s the third trip to the game for the Black Knights, who are 1-1. Last year, they knocked off San Diego State 42-35 as a 6.5-point underdog.

It was a wild ending as Darnell Woolfolk brought Army to within 35-34 with 18 seconds left, but Army opted to go for 2 and the win – that was PAT good. Game over, right? Nope, Army would score with no time left on an Elijah Riley 29-yard fumble return.

Army is currently an independent but was in Conference USA for a while and played Houston seven times as conference foes, last in 2004. The Cougars lead the series 5-2.

Houston Cougars

Houston finished tied for first in Conference USA’s West Division but lost out on playing in the C-USA title game because it lost the regular-season finale to Memphis, which earned a spot in the title game. The Cougars had one of the nation’s most electric dual-threat quarterbacks in junior D’Eriq King, but he suffered a season-ending injury in the second-to-last game. Considerable loss as King threw for 2,982 yards and 36 touchdowns while rushing for 674 yards and 14 scores.

The new starter is freshman Clayton Tune, who isn’t mobile. In addition, Houston has lost one of the country’s top defensive players in tackle Ed Oliver. He had a bit of a checkered season but is skipping this game to focus on the NFL Draft. He’ll be a Top 10, maybe Top 5, pick.

Army Black Knights

It wouldn’t be accurate to call this potentially the greatest season in Army history, because decades ago it used to be a powerhouse. However, the program has never won 12 games in a season or three straight bowl games, which are both on the line here. Army also won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, beating both Air Force and Navy.

The Black Knights nearly pulled the upset of the season, losing at national semifinalist Oklahoma 28-21 in overtime back on Sept. 22. Per usual, Army almost never throws the ball (94 passes attempted) and is among the national rushing leaders with its option offence putting up 296.3 rushing yards per game.

Cougars vs. Black Knights Prediction