College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Wyoming vs. Air Force (Friday, January 28)
Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images. Pictured: Wyoming basketball mascot Pistol Pete.
Wyoming vs. Air Force Odds
-112o / -108u
|Air Force Odds|
-112o / -108u
Looking to get to .500 in conference play, the Air Force Falcons will host the third-best team in the Mountain West, the Wyoming Cowboys.
The Falcons are currently 3-4 in Mountain West play. However, their wins have come against three of the bottom four teams in the Mountain West. Their most recent win came on the road as they defeated San Jose State 63-53.
Getting past Wyoming won’t be as easy, though. The Cowboys are 15-3 on the season and 4-1 in the conference, coming off their first Mountain West loss against conference leading Boise State. Against the Broncos, Wyoming held a two-point lead with fewer than three minutes to go but untimely fell short, losing 65-62.
Wyoming has been one of the best teams in the conference on both ends of the floor. Can they bounce back from the loss to Boise State and hold off the home dog Falcons?
Wyoming is 10-11 all-time against the Falcons in games played at Clune Arena. While the Cowboys are 5-2 on the road this season, all of their losses have come on the road or a neutral court. Air Force is also 4-1 against the spread (ATS) as a home dog.
The Cowboys were on a six-game winning streak before falling to Boise State. But even with that loss, Wyoming is still a team with tournament potential.
Wyoming ranks second in the Mountain West & 51st nationally in scoring offense, averaging 75.7 points per game. Graham Ike leads the offense and the Mountain West with 20.5 points per game. Ike also ranks fourth in the Mountain West with 8.9 rebounds per game.
Three other Cowboys, Hunter Maldonado, Drake Jeffries, and Xavier DuSell, are averaging in double digits alongside Ike. Maldonado also leads the team in both assists and steals too.
As a team, Wyoming has been great from beyond the arc. They shoot 37% from deep, ranking 105th nationally and second in the conference. The Cowboys are even better inside the arc, ranking fifth nationally, hitting two-point shots at 57.7%.
The Cowboys get to the line more than most teams as they are 23rd in Division 1 with 21.6 free throw attempts per game. But they haven’t been great from the charity stripe, converting on just 70.8% of their attempts.
Wyoming allows opposing teams to average 65.6 points per game. They have also been great at defending the three, one of the few areas where Air Force has had success and depends on immensely. Wyoming is limiting opposing teams to just 28.1% from beyond the arc, and 42.1% of the Falcons’ points come from three-point shots.
On offense, the Falcons rank 299th in Offensive Efficiency and average 59.7 points per game, one of the 20 lowest scoring averages in college basketball.
This is mainly due to Air Force’s style of play. The Falcons are one of the slowest-paced teams in college basketball. Air Force ranks 346th in Adjusted Tempo and 354th in Average Possession Length on offense.
Air Force shoots 36.5% from beyond the arc, 35th nationally, as they have a potent three-point attack. However, they are a mediocre free throw shooting team and rank 347th nationally with a Turnover Rate of 23.3%.
A.J. Walker leads Air Force with 15.6 points per game, and he is the only Falcons player averaging in double digits. He is also hitting 48.7% from the floor and 40.2% from three. He is a great player and the driving force of this Falcons offense, but it shouldn’t be too hard for the Cowboys to limit one player.
The Falcons defense has been solid, ranking 130th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, while limiting opposing teams to just 61.3 points per game. However, I don’t think it will be enough to slow down one of the most potent offenses in the Mountain West.
Wyoming vs. Air Force Betting Pick
Wyoming doesn’t have many weaknesses as a team, but they have struggled with offensive rebounding and free-throw shooting. Unfortunately, I don’t think Air Force will make headway in either of those areas.
The Falcons rank 288th in the nation in Defensive Second-Chance Conversion rate while also being 238th in fouls per game, averaging 17.8 per contest. Wyoming should come in motivated to bounce back after a last-second loss to Boise, and because of that, I’m backing the Cowboys.
Wyoming opened as a 7.5 point favorite but has quickly jumped up to -8.5, which is when I bet them. I would back the Cowboys as high as a 10-point favorite.