Navy vs. Air Force Betting Odds & Picks: Another Service Academy Under?
Tommy Gilligan, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Malcolm Perry
- Games between Air Force and Navy tend to go Under the betting total. The over/under for Saturday's Service Academy showdown is posted at 46.
- Are either of our experts picking the total?
- Let's dive into our Air Force-Navy betting guide, which includes up-to-date odds, picks and predictions.
Navy vs. Air Force Betting Odds & Picks
- Spread: Air Force -3.5
- Over/Under: 46
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: CBS Sports Network
- Location: Annapolis, Maryland
Air Force at Navy Line Movement
I don’t know that I’ve ever begun a market breakdown with the total, but service academy games play by different rules. The “secret” of betting unders in such games has certainly made its way to the public, as we’re seeing 66% of bettors on this under. Despite that, though, most books (at least ones that opened after mid-day Monday) haven’t made a significant move on the total.
After dropping the number to a low-mark of 44.5, sportsbooks have brought it right back up to its opener. It currently sits at 46 across most of the market.
As far as the spread is concerned, big bettors and public bettors have been in agreement, and the line movement has reflected that. Sixty-seven percent of bets accounting for 85% of dollars have hit Air Force, which has moved from an opener of -2 to -3.5. — Danny Donahue
Collin Wilson: Will the Service Academy Under Trend Hold True?
Air Force leads the series, 30-21, but the road team has not won this game since 2012. Last year’s 35-7 victory by Air Force was the exception to the rule that these two teams usually play tight games.
Navy rushed the ball for just 129 yards on 39 carries in that game and quarterback Malcolm Perry was not able to get the passing game going.
Air Force has yet to allow a rushing play for 20 yards or more this season, which may force Navy into passing the ball on standard downs as a change of pace.The biggest difference for Navy this season is the existence of a front seven on defense. The Midshipmen are fourth in line yards, 17th in opportunity rate and 118th in power success. Navy has been able to stop the run consistently, but so far this season opponents are converting 3rd or 4th down with 2 yards or less to gain. The Air Force offense should take advantage, but drives that take 10 or more plays and 7 minutes off the clock are expected.
Service Academy Unders are generally bangers, but Circa Sports opened 52 and took nothing but under money before resistance showed at 44.5. While the total has been properly adjusted, this upgraded Navy defense has been stout through 2019. The Midshipmen rank first in the nation in red zone touchdown scoring, which should be the difference in getting the cover.
Pick: Navy +3.5
Stuckey: Keep an eye out for a key number
These two teams are obviously mirrors. Two service academy schools that run the triple option. Each defense is very familiar with what the other wants to do as they get to practice against the unique offensive scheme every day of the season and also play two games a year against the other service academy schools.
This game will be decided in the trenches, where Air Force has an advantage on both sides of the ball.
This experienced Air Force offensive line is one of the best in the entire country. Per Football Outsiders, the Falcons front ranks inside the top-two nationally in both Standard Down Line Yards (a run blocking measurement) and Passing Downs Sack Rate.
That first number is obviously exponentially more important for a triple-option team. And while Navy has been rock solid in that same category at No. 21, Air Force has been better.
But if Navy does try to pass (which it’s doing more of this year with the implementation of some Run ‘n’ Shoot), the Midshipmen rank 129th out of 130 teams in Sack Rate.
Air Force has the better offensive line.
Air Force ranks 20th in the nation in Standard Down Line Yards and Navy ranks ninth. Navy has also been better in Stuff Rate, which measures the percentage of times an opposing back is stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage. So, advantage Navy? Not so fast.
Navy has only faced three opponents, two of which were East Carolina and Holy Cross. I can’t read too much into the splits for such a limited sample size with two of the three games against poor teams.
Meanwhile, Air Force has played a tougher schedule as a result of a win at Colorado and a loss at ranked Boise State. In both games, their defensive line got plenty of penetration throughout the game. So, while both teams ranks in the top 30 in yards per rush allowed (Air Force 3.0, Navy 3.1), I think Air Force’s numbers hold more merit.
This is an Air Force defense that finished in the top 10 last year in Standard Down Line Yards. It did lose a few bodies up front from last year’s team that held opponents to 3.5 yards per carry (16th nationally) but I still give stud DT Justin Jackson and the Air Force linebackers the nod over a rather inexperienced Navy defensive front.
Navy fullback Nelson Smith left its last game with an injury and his status is crucial to this game. He is such an integral part of Navy’s triple-option offense as everything is predicated on the effectiveness of the fullback dive. Without Smith, the Navy offense is significantly worse off.
Head coach Ken Niumatalolo has a policy of not giving any info out on injuries so we won’t know much but his potential absence could only help Air Force.
I know the home team has dominated this series in recent years and Navy wants to avenge an embarrassing blowout loss at Air Force from last season but I think the Falcons break that trend this year.
I played them at -2 and like them at a field goal or less. It gets a little more dicey at -3.5, so I would wait on a 3 to pop. If one never does before kick, I’d look to buy the hook on the cheap or just wait for a 3 or better live.
The Pick: Air Force -3 or better