Liberty Bowl Prediction: Mountaineers vs. Black Knights Odds
Looking for West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Army Black Knights free picks? The Liberty Bowl sees the Mountaineers taking on the Black Knights on Thursday, December 31st at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee. Cappers Picks provides complimentary handicapping picks all NCAA football season long so stay tuned for more FREE college football predictions like this West Virginia Mountaineers-Army Black Knights bowl game free pick.
College Football Handicapping: 2020 Liberty Bowl
(5-4) West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Army Black Knights (9-2)
Date: Thursday, December 31, 2020
Time: 4:00 pm EST
Venue: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee
NCAA Football Spread: Mountaineers -8.0
NCAA Betting Total: 43.0
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Keeping with the spirit of 2020, we saw the Tennessee Volunteers decline an invitation to play the West Virginia Mountaineers due to COVID-related challenges. In comes the Army Black Knights who are eager to show they deserved to get an original invitation instead of a replacement invitation.
Army is coming off a 9-2 regular season and were very outspoken about being shut out of the initial bowl invitations. The Black Knights agreed as a team to stay on campus and prepare for replacement invitation just for this eventuality.
West Virginia Mountaineers
After giving up only 33 points in the three games preceding Iowa State, the Mountaineers’ defense gave up an uncharacteristic 42 points to the Cyclones in their last game out. The currently 6th rated yards a game defense (308.6/game) was torched for 483 yards.
The normally stout run defense (132.6/game) gave up 236 yards in the matchup. The Mountaineers need to hope that the Iowa State game was an outlier and use this time to focus on the triple option attack in order to be ready for Army’s rushing attack.
West Virginia is going to need to rely on QB Jarret Doege as the Mountaineers only average 122.5 rush yards/game. Jarret has been dependable this year with a 13:3 TD:Int ratio. While he was benched during the Iowa State game, don’t expect a change at the QB position for the Liberty Bowl.
Jarret is still the best option for this offense and has to get out of his recent slump as he has not thrown a TD pass in two of his last three games.
Army Black Knights
The Army Black Knights come into Memphis with the 2nd ranked defense (yards/game) and the 5th rushing offense in the country. Statistically, that’s all the great teams need to have a 9-2 record. However, the Black Knights only faced the 107th (out of 127th) ranked schedule in the NCAA (per Teamrankings). West Virginia is a step up in competition.
QB Tyhier Tyler is expected to play in spite of leaving in the first half of the Air Force game after a hit to the head.
If Tyhier does not start, QB Christian Anderson is capable enough to fill in. You should not expect much of a value drop in Army’s 5th ranked rushing offense if Tyhier isn’t ready to go.
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
- Mountaineers are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 bowl games as favorite.
- Mountaineers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- Black Knights are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 against the Big 12.
- Black Knights are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games as underdog.
Free Liberty Bowl NCAA Football Pick
Army’s weak strength of schedule inflates both their offensive and defensive numbers and that concerns me. Their rankings on both sides of the ball would not be as high if they played a tougher schedule but I also do not believe that the bottom would drop out either.
Furthermore, the Black Knights were completely overlooked by all bowls and have been very candid about how they feel. They are extremely determined to show they should not have been overlooked.
Meanwhile, West Virginia has not found any consistency throughout the COVID-battled season and are currently in an offensive funk. The Mountaineers are a little one-dimensional with the pass as they only run an average of 35 times per game. Army’s pass defense is capable enough to slow down the Mountaineers and their rush offense can shorten the game.
West Virginia needs to have some success balancing their attack and I don’t think that will happen in this bowl game.
4* Free NCAA Betting Pick: Army +8.0
I believe there is too much weight given to the difference in the teams’ strength of schedule. Army has enough to make this under a touchdown. If West Virginia can’t get some success in the air, Army could win this outright. West Virginia is on upset alert. Take Army +8.0 and maybe sprinkle the moneyline.
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