Saturday College Football Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions for Army vs. Air Force (November 6)

Saturday College Football Odds, Betting Picks & Predictions for Army vs. Air Force (November 6) article feature image
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Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Air Force Falcons running back Jorden Gidrey (15).

Army vs. Air Force Odds

Army Odds +3
Air Force Odds -3
Moneyline +120 / -145
Over/Under 37.5
Time 11:30 a.m. ET
TV CBS
Odds as of Saturday and via BetMGM.

The Commanders Classic is a marquee event every year in college football, but this year has slightly more significance. Saturday’s matchup between Army and Air Force will occur at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas — the first football game to be played at the home of the Texas Rangers.

The winner gets the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy for the next year.

This game holds even more significant meaning to the Falcons, as they already defeated Navy on Sept. 11. It also would be Air Force’s first win of the trophy since 2016.

Expect a hard-fought battle on Saturday as the Black Knights, who rank first in the country in rushing offense and 15th in rushing defense, face the Falcons, who rank second in rushing offense but are ahead of Army in rush defense at sixth. Whoever wins in the rush column will likely be in the win column, as well.

Army won the meeting last season, but Air Force still leads the all-time series 37-17-1.


Army Black Knights

The Black Knights enjoyed their second bye week of the 2021 season to prepare for this matchup. Not everyone gets a second bye week, but the Black Knights needed one.

Army lost 70-56 to Wake Forest in its last game, ending its 13-game winning streak at Michie Stadium. The streak was the fifth-longest active streak in the nation heading into Week 8, but that wasn’t the only wild stat about the Wake Forest game.

Army scored its third-most points ever against a ranked opponent and racked up 595 total yards, tying the sixth-most, single-game yardage earned for the Academy since 2000. Army’s 140 yards passing yards were its most through the air over the last two years.

Jabari Laws’ three passing touchdowns were the most a Black Knight quarterback has thrown in a single game in over 15 years.

This begs the question, was it Wake Forest? Did Army take a leap in program history? Are the Black Knights an air-raid offense?

The Army offense averages 34.6 points and 400 yards per game — including 87.7 yards through the air, and 312 yards on the ground — through seven games. So no, Army is not an air-raid offense, and they never will be.

The offense has been good, but they remain a run-first, second, third and likely fourth offense. Army ran the ball 70 times for 416 yards — good for 5.9 yards per carry — and five touchdowns against Wake.

I don’t expect the same record-setting offensive performance against Air Force, but there may be more offensive production than people expect.

Just don’t be shocked if it comes from the other sideline.

Against Wake, it seemed like the Deacons could’ve played hot potato for 100 yards and scored on Army every drive, which they nearly did. The Deacons scored a touchdown on eight of their 10 drives. One of their two other drives resulted in a turnover on downs, while the game ended during the other.

Defensively, the Black Knights allow 27.7 points and 332.6 yards. They have been solid against the rush, but if Air Force can find success passing, they may be hoisting the trophy for the first time in five years.

Air Force Falcons

The Falcons were down 20-0 against San Diego State last week. They had a strong comeback effort but fell just short.

So far this season, the Air Force offense is averaging 29.3 points per game and 395.9 yards per game — 77.5 through the air and 318.4 on the ground.

The Falcons only pass 12% of the time, but when they do, it’s been effective, ranking fourth in FBS at 9.8 yards per pass attempt. If they can incorporate that this week, it could change the game entirely against an Army team that allows 9.1 yards per pass play (120th in FBS).

But the Falcons seem to have taken the air out of Air Force recently. Over the last two years, Air Force has led the nation in rushing yards.

Quarterback Haaziq Daniels has started every game during that time, but for the most part, has only facilitated the option. Top skill players being out with injuries have also played a role in the lack of passing.

Fullback Brad Roberts, who ranks 15th in college football with 845 rushing yards, is also expected to have his normal workload this week.

Against the Aztecs, he only recorded seven carries, compared to an average of 31 over the three weeks prior. Nothing has been released to say precisely why, but Roberts and coach Calhoun stated that it was not a new normal.

Defensively, the Falcons are allowing just 16.8 points and 281.3 yards. It goes without saying just how important stopping the run is against Army.


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
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 3 14
Line Yards 71 64
Pass Success 110 25
Pass Blocking** 129 19
Big Play 118 32
Havoc 30 41
Finishing Drives 13 46
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Air Force Offense vs. Army Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 10 40
Line Yards 49 61
Pass Success 114 96
Pass Blocking** 79 80
Big Play 118 115
Havoc 7 75
Finishing Drives 36 110
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 71 9
Coverage 85 32
Middle 8 29 67
SP+ Special Teams 70 111
Plays per Minute 130 124
Rush Rate 89.5% (1) 88.9% (2)

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


Army vs. Air Force Betting Pick

Both offenses have been playing well. Army put up 56 points against a good Wake Forest squad, while Air Force has played in some high-scoring games, putting up 38 points on New Mexico in early October and losing a 49-45 shootout to Utah State in September.

I realize both teams rely heavily on the run and both teams have a stout run defense. But based on how this game has gone previously — rather than the offensive performances both these teams have displayed this year — I think this number is too low.

The total has been widely available at 37, but I wouldn’t take it any higher than 38.

Pick: Over 37 (-110) up to 38 (-115)

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