Navy vs. Air Force Odds, Picks: How Will Triple Option Offenses Perform?

Navy vs. Air Force Odds, Picks: How Will Triple Option Offenses Perform? article feature image

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Navy vs. Air Force Odds

Saturday, Oct. 1
12 p.m. ET
Navy Odds
-110o / -110u
Air Force Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Midshipmen travel to Colorado Springs on Saturday to take on the Air Force Falcons in the first leg of the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy.

It will mark the 55th meeting between the two programs, with Air Force leading the all-time series, 32-22.

There's a lot of history at play regarding this trophy, but there's more to it than just being the battle of the service academies.

That's specifically true when we talk about these two programs. Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo and Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun are two of the longest-tenured and active most-winning coaches in college football. Against each other, they are exactly 7-7.

Niumatalolo is the eighth longest-tenured head coach and ranks 22nd among active coaches in career wins. Meanwhile, Calhoun is sixth and 19th, respectively.

Niumatalolo also ranks as the all-time winningest coach against Air Force. During his tenure, he is 17-11 overall in Commander-in-Chief's Trophy games.

Navy leads the academies in Commander-in-Chief's Trophy wins during his tenure, as the Midshipmen have claimed the trophy six times. Air Force has won four, and Army has won three.

Last year, Air Force earned the first road win in the series since 2012, taking down Navy in Annapolis, 23-3. Ultimately, however, the battle for the trophy ended in a tie after Air Force beat Navy, Army beat Air Force and Navy beat Army.

Navy Midshipmen

Daniel Davies, a senior kicker for the Midshipmen, had never attempted a field goal or a PAT before last week's game against ECU. He made both PATs he attempted, along with three field goals, including one that sent the game to overtime and one to secure the win.

He was named the AAC's Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday for his performance.

Across the nation, college kickers have been a thorn in the side of gamblers this year, which isn't a massive change from what we've seen in the past.

Having someone who can be this dependable — specifically in his first attempts and in clutch situations — is enormous for Navy. Again, I expect him to be a vital component of the offense this week.

Two other key factors I believe will be huge for the Midshipmen are the strength of their schedule and their ability to stop the Falcons' machine of a rush offense.

Navy's first three opponents are 9-3 so far on the season — even its FCS opponent Delaware is one of the top 10 FCS programs in the country.

Navy ranks fifth in rush defense, giving up less than 110 rushing yards in all three games this season. This will be one of the toughest challenges of the season for the Air Force run game, which didn't fare well against its first call to action on the road at Wyoming.

Air Force Falcons

The Air Force offense has been incredible, averaging 433 yards and 37.8 points per contest. Its only problem is that the entire offense depends on its ability to run the ball, as it averages 412 rushing yards per game.

Quarterback Haaziq Daniels has just 11 pass completions on the season, but when the Falcons do complete a pass, it is more often than not an explosive play, as they are averaging 24.83 yards per completion.

The issue is the inconsistency. When the running game isn't working, Air Force can't turn to the passing game and have any level of consistent success.

The Falcons' success on third and fourth downs — ranking seventh nationally in third-down conversions and ninth in fourth-down conversions — is also a result of their success in the run game.

When they struggled offensively against Wyoming, they converted just 6-of-13 third-down attempts.

Defensively, the Falcons continue to be among the best. They are currently allowing just 16 points and 287 yards per contest, both of which rank inside the top-25 nationally.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this game stay well below the total, with a rock fight ensuing.

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Navy vs. Air Force Matchup Analysis

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

Navy Offense vs. Air Force Defense
Rush Success10492
Line Yards6890
Pass Success124129
Pass Blocking**11984
Finishing Drives128111
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Air Force Offense vs. Navy Defense
Rush Success24
Line Yards317
Pass Success9794
Pass Blocking**8459
Finishing Drives279
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling8091
PFF Coverage10769
SP+ Special Teams4044
Seconds per Play27.5 (87)32.0 (129)
Rush Rate84.2% (3)89.8% (1)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Navy vs. Air Force Betting Pick

This matchup should genuinely be a battle of strength vs. strength, as I previously mentioned. Air Force has one of the best rush offenses in the country, and is pitted against Navy — a top-five run defense in the country.

But after watching both of these teams a few times and knowing how hard points can come by in service academy matchups, it feels like you have to take the 14 here.

Air Force was shut down in the run game against Wyoming, and everything else fell apart around it. If Navy can come close to a defensive showing like Wyoming — and in all honesty, I think it can do even better — I think this game stays well within 14.

Pick: Navy +14 or better

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