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Missouri Tigers quarterback Connor Bazelak (8) hands off to running back Tyler Badie (1). (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)
December 8th, 2021
Bowl season is upon us! A wonderful time of cross-conference matchups and the national spotlight on the most random of teams, it is also an opportunity for bettors to find the mismatches that result in victorious winning tickets.
Let’s take a closer look at the Armed Forces Bowl and see if we can settle on a winner between Missouri and Army.
The game between these teams is set for Wednesday, Dec. 22, with a primetime 8 p.m. ET kickoff at TCU’s home stadium in Fort Worth, Texas.
Army is 8-3 straight up on the season and 6-5 against the spread. Missouri is 6-6 straight up, but just 3-9 against the spread.
The spread for the game is Army -3.5, with a total of 59.5 points.
Missouri has been one of the worst teams in the nation against the spread, and a big part of that is its inability to effectively stop the run. The Tigers are allowing 5.3 yards per rush on the season and an abysmal 5.9 yards per rush away from Columbia.
Their opponent rushing yards average is one of the worst in the entire country, with Virginia being the only Power Five team to make a bowl with a worse number.
Despite Missouri's 6-6 record and fourth-place finish in the SEC East, it was just 3-5 in conference play and surrendered 288 points, while only scoring 181.
The Tigers' only conference wins were against the three teams that finished below them in the division, and all had significant weaknesses themselves.
In Army, the Tigers face a team that is downright notorious for running the ball well. This iteration of the Black Knights is 40th in the country in yards per rush, at 4.7, but was significantly better at home, averaging 5.9 yards per rush.
Week 4 PerformanceQB Christian Anderson - Army• 236 rushing yards 2 TDs• 15.7 ypc pic.twitter.com/f9RodZNW3N— NCAAF Nation (@NCAAFNation247) September 28, 2021
Week 4 PerformanceQB Christian Anderson - Army• 236 rushing yards 2 TDs• 15.7 ypc pic.twitter.com/f9RodZNW3N
This won’t be an Army home game, but given this is the Armed Forces Bowl and the likely support Army will receive here, it will certainly feel more like a home matchup.
While Army isn’t the most effective at rushing, relative to all teams in football, it runs the ball the second most times of any team in the country, behind only Air Force.
With nearly 61 rush attempts per game, the Army offense is going to do everything it can to repeatedly take advantage of the Tigers’ biggest weakness.
Army has been a solid bet in non-conference games and bowl games over the years, with its unconventional rushing attack causing problems for opposing defenses and many bettors unwilling to support a team that lacks NFL talent or highly recruited stars.
In this matchup, the Black Knights get to face one of the weakest rush defenses in the entire country. Missouri’s offense will likely be able to keep up for much of the game, but Army may be able to control both pace and possession.
Look for Army to dominate the line of scrimmage and come away with a nice win and cover in a bowl game created to honor them.
Score prediction: Army 37, Missouri 30
Our predictive engine is calling for Army to cover the spread.
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