Game: Missouri Tigers vs. Army Black Knights
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Odds: Tigers +6.5, Black Knights -6.5
One huge factor in tonight’s Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is the Army triple-option offense against the Missouri run defense. The Black Knights run the option to near perfection and have the nation’s second-best rushing attack to prove it. Head coach Jeff Monken’s team averages a whopping 286.4 yards per game on the ground.
That run offense will most certainly be a factor in tonight’s game, especially against the SEC’s Tigers. At first glance, one might think “SEC vs. a service academy” but that might be wrong. The Tigers’ run defense was absolutely awful in the mighty SEC. Missouri allowed over 229 yards rushing per game. It’s a wonder that the Tigers were able to win six games with a defense that bad. The Tigers rank 124th out of 130 FBS teams in run defense. Now, they have to face a triple-option attack that everyone struggles with.
The Tigers also struggle playing away from home this season. Missouri was 5-2 in its home stadium but just 1-4 on the road. The Tigers haven’t done well against the spread either. This season, the Tigers are 3-9 ATS. In their last 15 games, Missouri is just 3-12 ATS. Plus, in the month of December, the Tigers haven’t been able to cover a spread in their last seven attempts.
Army, on the other hand, has had some serious success thanks to an offense that controls the clock. The Black Knights and their triple-option control the football for nearly 36 minutes per game. Army ranks second in the country in time of possession among all FBS schools. Because of that, the clock tends to run more often shortening games. It’s hard to score a ton of points in games like that. Not surprisingly, the Under has trended in Army games.
The Under has cashed a winning ticket in four of the last five and seven of the last nine Army games. It’s been somewhat of a trend for Missouri too. When the Tigers have gone into a game as the underdog, the Under has hit in four of the last five Missouri games. In Missouri’s last 15 games overall, the Over has hit 10 times.
Army has won 15 of its last 17 games in which the Black Knights have been the favorite. One of the two losses was in its last game against Navy. Army was held to just 124 rushing yards and lost 17-13 in the ultimate rivalry game. In their previous three games which were all wins, the Black Knights ran for 220, 377, and 428 yards.
Missouri’s run defense has had games where they gave up 294, 275, 283, 258, and a whopping 458. That was to Tennessee in a 62-24 loss to the Volunteers. The Tigers run defense has gotten better recording two games under 100 yards in November before giving up 163 to Arkansas in the regular-season finale. The Tigers lost that game 31-14.