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How and what to watch for Liberty Bowl: West Virginia vs. Army

The Black Knights finally, and deservedly, get to go to a bowl game. What can they do in Memphis to show they never should have been left behind?

NCAA Football: Air Force at Army Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday the 9-2 Army Black Knights will be looking to get to 10 wins for the third time in the last four years when they take on the 5-4 West Virginia Mountaineers in the Liberty Bowl.

If there’s any concrete evidence to show that the bowl system needs an overhaul, it’s that Army was on the outside looking in when selections were first made. But Tennessee was forced to opt-out of an appearance in Memphis, giving the Black Knights a chance to get double-digit wins. Obviously this is a run-first team, only averaging 43 yards passing each game. Jeff Monken’s crew is lethal on the ground, rushing for more than 280 yards each week. Those stats come as a benefit of a relatively easy schedule, and they’ll be put to the test this week against a WVU team that can stop the run, allowing just 121 rush yards on average.

The Mountaineers have faced a much more challenging Big 12 slate, but also haven’t been nearly as successful as Army. Their offense is solid, putting up about 26 points per game, but the Army defense is allowing just 14 points per contest, limiting opponents to just 270 total yards. Neal Brown’s team really shines on defense, though. They limit opposing offenses to only 297 yards each week, which is even better considering they’re in a conference known for its high-powered offenses.

Game Time/TV Channel/Streaming

You can watch West Virginia vs. Army in the Liberty Bowl on Thursday, December 31 at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can stream it via WatchESPN or the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.

Point Spread, Totals, Odds, Trends

Point spread: West Virginia (-7) vs. Army
Point Total: 41.5
Money line: WVU (-286), Army (+225)

  • WVU isn’t playing great around this time of year, losing all of their last eight games played in December.
  • Army is kind to those who bet on them, going 4-2 ATS in their last six games.
  • As you can imagine with a ball-control offense and good defense, the total has gone under in eight of Army’s last 12 games.

The Best Bet

A West Virginia team that’s likely checked out over an Army team with something to prove? One that can pound the ball as well as any team in America? One that one the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy already, and has a chance to finish with 10 wins?


Pick: Army +7

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