The Air Force Falcons (5-2, 4th in MWC – Mountain) battle the Army Black Knights (2-5, FBS Independents) in what has become one of the signature matchups for both Armed Forces squads. Air Force expects to beat Army every time that the two teams play, but will Air Force cover the spread?
In rivalry games like this, football handicappers have to keep reading to find the angle.
Air Force Falcons vs. Army Black Knights
When: Saturday, Nov.1, 11:30 am ET
Where: Michie Stadium, West Point, NY
Betting Line: Air Force -3.5
Analysis: Air Force has a very good offense. The Falcons rush for 273.4 yards per game. That’s a terrific per game average on the ground. The yardage on the ground makes up most of the 425.7 yards per game total yardage that Air Force averages. When it comes to scoring Air Force puts up 30 points per contest.
The defense is also playing decently. You don’t go 5 and 2 as Air Force has done unless your defense can make stops once in a while. The Falcons’ opponents average just shy of 400 yards at 399 per game. Air Force allows teams to score only 24.4 points per contest. More impressively regarding Air Force is the fact that the defense held Navy, whom many considered the best of the Armed Forces’ teams going into this season, to only 21 points in a 30 to 21 victory as a 3 point dog.
Army, like Air Force, knows a thing or two about rushing the ball. The Black Knights are one of the top rushing teams in the country at 319.4 yards per game on the ground. That amount of yardage ranks the Black Knights fifth in rushing in all of college football. The problem for Army on offense, though, is that they put so much attention on running the football that they become one-dimensional. Army only throws for 76.7 yards per game and the offense only scores 26 points per.
Army doesn’t play much defense. The Black Knights allow opponents to average 35.9 points and 445.7 yards per game. Yale beat Army by putting up 49 points while Rice scored 41 in a victory and Kent scored 39. To make matters worse, a report surfaced last Saturday that claims Army recruited football players with alcohol and cheerleaders.
That doesn’t make a lot of sense since getting into Army requires you to pretty much have a 4.0 grade point average and be close to near to the top of your class. Really, Army? This isn’t Florida State.
In any case, the trends point to an Army cover. Air Force is 0 and 3 against the spread on the road this season. The Falcons are also 2 and 8 against the spread versus a team with a losing record and 1 and 5 against the spread in their last 6 games following a bye week.
Army may be 2 and 10 in their last 12 home games versus a team with a winning road record and 1 and 4 ATS in their last 5 games versus a team following an ATS loss, but at least Army is 5 and 1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
No matter the trends. Air Force’s straight up victory was better than anything Army has done so far this season. With the possibility of an investigation hanging over the Black Knights this Saturday, Air Force is the play to cover the spread.
Pick: Air Force Falcons