Army vs Air Force Pick | Black Knights to Keep it Close?

Army vs Air Force Pick | Black Knights to Keep it Close? article feature image

Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images. Pictured: Jeff Monken (Army)

Army vs Air Force Odds

Saturday, Nov. 4
2:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Army Odds
-110o / -110u
Air Force Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Below we have an Army vs Air Force pick, as the Black Knights look to keep it close.

Is there anything more American than backing a service academy under? Well, I'm here to argue that there should be an addition to that theory.

Let's head out to Denver, Colorado, as the Air Force Falcons will host the Army Black Knights. The Falcons will look to remain undefeated, as the Black Knights are looking to build some momentum before their annual matchup with Navy next month.

I think there's a clear side to take in this matchup, so I'm going to dive right into the team breakdown.

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Army Black Knights

I'd assume head coach Jeff Monken envisioned this season going differently. College football is always better when all three service academies are competitive each week.

I'll tell you this much, I know for a fact that Monken will take this game personally. Although it's not difficult to motivate a service academy school, I believe the Knights will be extra juiced for this matchup.

The key for Army will be to be able to win the time of possession battle. It's not going to be easy going against an identical offensive system, but due to the Knights' familiarity with the triple-option, I believe that should give them a huge advantage.

Army's offense has been pretty mediocre thus far this season, but the Knights are 23rd in Line Yards. This offensive line should get plenty of push against a stingy Falcons defensive front.

This snail of an offense will have to garner plenty of long drives in order to keep the explosive Falcons offense off of the field. The Knights are also 53rd in Havoc Allowed, so I think they should be able to stay out of long downs and distances.

Defensively, I would normally be very worried, but I'm going to once again bring up the scheme familiarity. This is the biggest factor in this entire handicap, and it should really help out this struggling defense.

Statistically, it's pretty ugly for the Black Knights. The defensive unit is one of the worst teams in the nation in both Line Yards and Rushing Success Rate, landing in the bottom 15.

But as I mentioned, I wouldn't put too much stock into this since this will be the most prepared they will be for an opposing offense thus far. The Falcons don't throw the ball often at all, but even if they mix in some passes, this Knights defense is 67th in Passing Success Rate.

If this was a typical FBS opponent, I'd be very worried for the Knights in this spot. But I think they will be more than capable of hanging in there due to their ability to control the clock and their defensive familiarity.

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Air Force Falcons

QB Zac Larrier has been fantastic for the Falcons thus far this season, as he's taken advantage of the few passing opportunities that have been handed to him. The Falcons are an impressive ninth in the nation in Passing Success Rate.

There's no questioning the talent of this Falcons team, as they're entering this matchup undefeated. They're well deserving of being the heavy favorite to win this matchup.

Offensively, this team finds itself in the top 20 in every category, which includes Rushing Success Rate and Line Yards. This offensive line has been very impressive, and I see no reason why the Falcons can't be successful here.

However, we saw this Falcons team struggle offensively against another service academy a few weeks ago. I think this matchup could play out in a similar fashion, but I still feel confident this offense will do enough to come out with a victory.

The Falcons are also much more talented on the defensive side of the ball compared to the Knights, and this will be key to limiting Army from controlling the clock. This is going to be a tremendous battle in the trenches, as the Falcons are 23rd in defensive Line Yards.

Overall, I'd be stunned to see Air Force lose this game outright, but I definitely don't feel comfortable laying nearly 19 points against another service academy team.

Army vs Air Force

Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Army and Air Force match up statistically:

Army Offense vs. Air Force Defense
Rush Success7048
Line Yards2323
Pass Success8020
Finishing Drives9977
Quality Drives7411
Air Force Offense vs. Army Defense
Rush Success21115
Line Yards8122
Pass Success967
Finishing Drives2030
Quality Drives10107
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling876
PFF Coverage846
Special Teams SP+10811
Middle 85930
Seconds per Play30.3 (122)33.0 (133)
Rush Rate73.7% (2)92.0% (1)

Army vs Air Force

Betting Pick & Prediction

I alluded to this in my last paragraph, but the clear side in this game is Army. I can't believe Army is nearly a three-touchdown underdog in this spot.

I know the Falcons clearly have superior talent, but I will blindly take any service academy catching over two touchdowns any day of the week. Army should be able to slow down this Falcons offense, and I expect the Knights' offense to find some success in a typical grinder-like fashion.

These are the two slowest teams in the nation, and what's holding me back from taking the under is Air Force's ability to be explosive at times.

I'll happily take Army in this spot and ride with the public.

Pick: Army +18.5 (Play to +17)

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