Air Force vs. Nevada Odds & Picks: Friday’s Moneyline Bet to Make (November 19)

Air Force vs. Nevada Odds & Picks: Friday’s Moneyline Bet to Make (November 19) article feature image

Credit: Icon Sportswire, Getty. DeAndre Hughes carries the ball towards the end zone against Army.

  • Updated odds make Air Force 1-point favorites over Nevada on Friday night.
  • The Wolf Pack struggle in run defense, which is a bad recipe against the Falcons' triple option.
  • Darin Gardner delivers his best bet for the game below.

Air Force vs. Nevada Odds

Friday, Nov. 19
9 p.m. ET
Air Force Odds
-115o / -105u
Nevada Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Nevada is coming off a tight 23-21 loss to San Diego State last week, which has all but eliminated the Wolf Pack from contention in the Mountain West title race.

It enters this contest with a 4-2 conference record, and each of the losses came by just two points, a tough pill to swallow for this squad. Still, a 7-3 record is nothing to scoff at, and Nevada still has a realistic chance to win out and get to double-digit wins this season in a bowl game.

Air Force also enters this contest with a 7-3 record, but it will need a lot of help to pass Utah State in the Mountain Division of the conference after the Aggies pulled off a road win against the Falcons earlier in the season.

Just like all of the great service academy teams, Air Force has used a strong ground game and defense to an average point differential of nearly 11 per game on the season.

It's unlikely that we see either of these squads in the conference championship game, but there's no question that both are right there among the best teams in the Mountain West. Who has the edge in this matchup?

Air Force Falcons

Air Force Offense

Any conversation about Air Force's offense has to start with the ground game, which ranks seventh in the nation in terms of Success Rate.

The primary ball-carrier has been fullback Brad Roberts, whose 1,064 yards rank 12th in the nation, with 10 touchdowns to boot. Quarterback Haaziq Daniels has also done a lot of heavy lifting there, chipping in with 644 yards on the ground and nine rushing touchdowns.

The run blocking is the main reason why Air Force's ground game has been elite, as the offensive line ranks 10th there in terms of PFF grade. Individually, Air Force has four of the 11 highest-graded run blockers in the Mountain West.

Daniels has also been able to hit shots through the air, averaging 10.2 yards per attempt on 89 passes this season, with Air Force ranking 33rd in Expected Points Added (EPA) per throw.

The passing game isn't featured in this offense with the Falcons running the ball on 86.5% of plays, but if it hits a completion, there's a good chance it goes for an explosive gain.

Receiver Brandon Lewis has been the main beneficiary of those deep shots, and he's averaging a whopping 28.3 yards per reception for 424 yards on the year.

Air Force Defense

The defense has benefitted by having to defend this triple-option offense in practice every day, which has led to a ranking of sixth in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.

However, it could be argued that this front has been even better in the pass rush, ranking second in the nation in pressure rate. Edge rusher Vince Sanford's 87.0 PFF pass-rushing grade ranks fourth among Mountain West defenders, with teammates Christopher Herrera and Jordan Jackson also ranking in the top 15 in the conference in terms of pressures.

The coverage unit has also been strong, which has led to a ranking of 31st in EPA per pass allowed. Overall, this defense ranks 14th in Success Rate Allowed, and it'll need another strong day from the pass defense to contain Nevada.

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Nevada Wolf Pack

Nevada Offense

There is really only one aspect for opposing defenses to worry about with this offense, considering the run game ranks 129th in both EPA per carry and Stuff Rate.

Nevada's passing game has been its bread and butter, but there is one area in that department where Air Force's defense should have a big edge. This pass rush has been lethal and will get to face a Nevada offensive line that ranks 108th in PFF pass-blocking grade.

Nevada's Carson Strong has been one of the better quarterbacks in college football this season, leading the Mountain West in PFF passing grade and adjusted completion percentage.

Receiver Romeo Doubs is also an NFL Draft prospect that could hear his name called in the top 100 selections this spring, and he's tied for 16th in the nation with 23 explosive receptions.

Overall, Nevada ranks just 58th in EPA per play, but stopping Nevada's elite quarterback-receiver duo will be the key for the Air Force defense.

Nevada Defense

Nevada's defense has been relatively solid overall, but its biggest weakness is an area that should raise a lot of concern against this Air Force offense.

It's really struggled against the run, ranking 113th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 103rd in Stuff Rate, which obviously doesn't lend itself well to stopping a triple-option attack. In that area, the Falcons should dominate in the trenches.

Nevada has a solid pass defense, ranking in the top 20 in EPA per throw and yards per attempt, but that really won't be featured much at all in this matchup.

Over the past month, Nevada has been gashed on the ground by the likes of Hawaii, Fresno State and San Jose State, with all three averaging more than six yards per carry against this front. It's hard to see a scenario where Air Force's potent ground game doesn't keep it rolling here.

Air Force vs. Nevada Matchup Analysis

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

Air Force Offense vs. Nevada Defense
Rush Success7113
Line Yards36110
Pass Success11378
Pass Blocking**9636
Big Play11553
Finishing Drives3249
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Nevada Offense vs. Air Force Defense
Rush Success1196
Line Yards11148
Pass Success445
Pass Blocking**6318
Big Play4919
Finishing Drives7838
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling9100
Middle 8828
SP+ Special Teams9766
Plays per Minute12334
Rush Rate86.5% (3)33.8% (128)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Air Force vs. Nevada Betting Pick

Air Force is the more complete team in this matchup and has a very exploitable edge with its ground game taking on a Nevada front that has really struggled to defend the run.

There hasn't been a ton of movement on this line in the market through the week, with Air Force bouncing around between +1 and +2 at different points.

Personally, I project Air Force as a 2.5-point favorite on the road and expect the Falcons to come out of this matchup with an 8-3 record heading into its final regular-season game, largely due to a big mismatch with its ground game against a weak Nevada front.

Pick: Air Force ML +105

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