College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Florida Atlantic vs. Air Force: Trust The Falcons’ Offense

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Florida Atlantic vs. Air Force: Trust The Falcons’ Offense article feature image
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Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Haaziq Daniels.

  • Florida Atlantic travels to Air Force to face off against the Falcons' triple-option attack.
  • The Owls crushed Fordham last week, while Air Force lost a heartbreaker vs. Utah State.
  • Darin Gardner breaks it all down and makes his pick for the game.

Florida Atlantic vs. Air Force Odds

Florida Atlantic Odds +3.5 (-110)
Air Force Odds -3.5 (-110)
Moneyline +160 / -190
Over/Under 52 (-115 / -105)
Time 8:00 p.m. ET
TV FS2
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Air Force will be looking to get back on track in Week 4 after it came out on the wrong side of a shootout last week against Utah State.

Air Force actually held a 45-34 lead at one point in the fourth quarter, but it was all Utah State from there, as the Aggies pulled out a 49-45 win. That marked the first loss of the Falcons’ season, and they will need a win here at home to stay above .500 going into the heart of its conference schedule.

Meanwhile, Florida Atlantic has bounced back after a big loss to Florida in Week 1 and has rattled off back-to-back wins over Georgia Southern and Fordham.

After two victories against weak opponents, a road trip across the country to Colorado Springs will provide a much bigger test for the Owls.

Can FAU keep it rolling in Week 4, or will Air Force be able to capitalize on a tough travel spot for the visitors?


Florida Atlantic vs. Air Force Betting Preview

Saturday, Sept. 25
8:00 p.m. ET
FS2

Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic Offense

FAU’s offense was often tough to watch in 2020, but it has shown signs of life early on this season.

The highlight for this group was the Georgia Southern game, when former Miami quarterback N’Kosi Perry had a big day through the air. Perry threw for 332 yards on 12.3 per attempt with four touchdowns, all of which earned him a 90.4 PFF passing grade as FAU rolled over a Georgia Southern team that has really struggled early on.

Perry hasn’t been nearly as good in his other two games, though, with PFF passing grades of 57.8 against Florida and 64.0 against Fordham last week.

Last week’s performance against an FCS defense was more concerning, as Perry averaged just 6.2 yards per attempt. It’s still early and Perry has shown flashes, but he still has a lot to prove after his early-season performance and disappointing career at Miami.

The offensive line hasn’t been tested since Florida against two weak opponents, but its performance against the Gators’ pass rush was alarming. It allowed four sacks and a whopping 22 pressures, per PFF, and Georgia Southern managed to get home three times as well.

It’s tough to be too critical of this unit so far, considering the massive talent mismatch it had against the Gators, but it’s something to monitor for the Owls offense.


Florida Atlantic Defense

The defense was absolutely the strength of this team last season, and it looks like it will continue to be in 2021. The coverage unit has performed very well early on, highlighted by holding Florida to just 4.4 yards per pass attempt in Week 1 and picking off Emory Jones twice.

The other two games haven’t given much opportunity to analyze this secondary, though, because it played an option offense in Georgia Southern and an FCS offense in Fordham. It shut those two down, as it should have.

On the ground, FAU has played well in its last two games but was chasing Florida all over the field in the season opener. The Gators racked up 400 rushing yards on the Owls on 8.7 yards per carry and a 62% Success Rate on the ground.

Florida hit 13 explosive runs in total, which was aided by quarterback Anthony Richardson’s seven carries for 160 yards, plus big days on the ground from running back Malik Davis and fellow quarterback Jones as well.


Air Force Falcons

Air Force Offense

Air Force is coming off a very impressive day on offense against Utah State, where it put up 45 on the scoreboard despite the loss.

The Falcons lit up the Aggies on the ground with their triple-option attack, averaging 6.7 yards per carry and chipping in 182 passing yards on just six completions, as almost every connection in the passing game went for an explosive play.

Quarterback Haaziq Daniels added 95 yards on the ground in addition to his 182 passing yards, and the backfield duo of Brad Roberts and Emmanuel Michel each put up more than 100 yards on the ground as well.

The offensive line had a lot of pieces to replace after 2020, but the newcomers have played well early on. To date, Air Force ranks 12th nationally in PFF’s run-blocking grade.

The run game’s season-long performance is being dragged down by a typical service academy slugfest in Week 2 in which yards were hard to come by on both sides.

But considering Air Force’s 2020 performance, combined with its other two games, the offense should continue to be productive for the remainder of 2021.


Air Force Defense

Air Force returned a very important group of defensive players who opted out of the 2020 season, which gave reason for optimism for this group going into the year.

That group included the 2019 team leader in tackles in linebacker Demonte Meeks, PFF’s highest-graded pass rusher on the team in Lakota Wills, and a starting cornerback in Tre Bugg.

Meeks and Bugg have made their presences felt immediately in this season, as Bugg ranks second among all Mountain West corners in PFF grade, and Meeks ranks first in sacks and second in tackles on the team.

The defense got off to a very hot start when it allowed 68 total yards (not a typo) to Navy, giving up a total of six first downs in the entire contest.

However, it came back down to Earth in a hurry against Utah State. Air Force actually held the Aggies to a low Success Rate, but explosive plays were an issue, as Utah State hit 10 of them through the air en route to 7.1 yards per play and 49 points.

The run defense had no issues, but the secondary allowed 10 explosive passes and nine yards per attempt. Air Force still had a 95% postgame win expectancy in the game, per College Football Data, but the defense ultimately caused the first loss of Air Force’s season.

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Florida Atlantic vs. Air Force Matchup Analysis

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

Florida Atlantic Offense vs. Air Force Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 52 4
Line Yards 47 27
Pass Success 39 72
Pass Blocking** 105 18
Big Play 56 83
Havoc 68 57
Finishing Drives 81 123
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Air Force Offense vs. Florida Atlantic Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success 107 61
Line Yards 107 69
Pass Success 88 24
Pass Blocking** 104 107
Big Play 101 63
Havoc 26 55
Finishing Drives 64 41
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 120 4
PFF Coverage 3 48
Middle 8 2 4
SP+ Special Teams 96 107
Plays per Minute 43 116
Rush Rate 54.6% (66) 87.5% (2)

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


When Florida Atlantic has the ball, Air Force should be just fine defending the run game, but the back end doesn’t inspire as much confidence. This FAU pass game has question marks as well, though, so Air Force should have a much better performance in the secondary this week than it did in Week 3.

Air Force also ranks fourth in pressure rate early on in the season and may be able to cause Havoc against an FAU offensive line that has shown holes at times.

On the other side, FAU’s run defense will be the key against Air Force’s option attack. The Falcons are still capable of going to the air and can hit very explosive plays with that strategy but obviously still relies heavily on the run game.

The Owls had a really good performance against a triple-option team in Georgia Southern in Week 2, but that offense doesn’t seem to be in the same zip code as Air Force so far in 2021.

It’s hard to defend the run any worse than FAU did against Florida, though, so Air Force could continue to have success on the ground here.


Florida Atlantic vs. Air Force Betting Pick

Air Force opened at the current line of -4.5, but early steam pushed the Falcons up to -6 at one point before coming back to the original number on Tuesday.

It now sits at -4 in most spots, which shows an edge on my projection of just over a touchdown in favor of the Falcons.

This Air Force offense is much more trustworthy than its opponent’s, and it looks better equipped to consistently move the chains than a Florida Atlantic offense that still has question marks.

Pick: Air Force -4

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