Air Force (@1.47) vs Navy (@2.63)

Our Prediction:

Air Force will win

Air Force – Navy Match Prediction | 05-10-2019 15:30

The Air Force Falcons visit Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland to play the Navy Midshipmen on Saturday. Air Force is 31 on the season following its 41-24 victory over San Jose State. Hammond then led or finished four other Air Force drives that resulted in points. Donnie Hammond III sat out until the third quarter resting a sore ankle and immediately threw a 64-yard touchdown pass.

With Donnie Hammond III under center the Air Force does not have to rely just on running the ball and the addition of a passing threat by the Falcons has added to the difficulty of defending against Air Force. The Falcons have covered the number in 4 of the last 5 versus Navy, while the Midshipmen have failed to cover 5 of the last 6 versus an opponent that plays above .500.

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That is a testament to what they have been able to accomplish in Annapolis. If Navy wants to overtake Army, and by that Air Force to climb back atop the mountain of Military Academies, they have to see marked improvement on multiple fronts. While last year was one to forget, Ken Niumatalolo and staff are no strangers to success. In fact, its the high bar which they have set that makes last season at Navy really stand out.

Navy ended up with the 5th ranked rushing offense in 2018, averaging just over 275 yards per game. Against Air Force, the Mids were only able to muster 129 yards on the ground. In spite of racking up 35 points in a game that showcased two time-consuming ball control offenses, it was on the defensive side of the ball that the Falcons really separated themselves.

However, they do boast one of the nations top pass defenses, allowing an impressive 133.8 yards/game through the air (3rd overall). With 90+ rushes though his first four games, Worthman is only averaging 2.6 yards per rush. With a 1-3 record on the season, the Falcons havent really done much to show that they have a realistic chance of pulling off the upset on Saturday afternoon. However, they have definitely endured an extremely tough schedule to start the year. On the other side of the ball, the Falcons seem to struggle against the run, allowing 198.8 rushing yards per game (105th overall). He has also completed just 19 passes on the season for a total of less than 400 yards and six touchdowns. QB Arion Worthman also likes to rush the ball, although he has struggled a lot so far this season. After tough losses against both Michigan and SDSU, Air Force dropped their third game in a row last weekend against New Mexico. The Falcons offense definitely prefers to establish a strong ground attack, with RB Timothy McVey leading the way with an extremely solid average of 6.6 yards per carry. At first glance, it may seem pretty easy to completely write-off Air Force in the latest installment of this longtime armed forces rivalry game.

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The Navy defense is also still a little bit untested, so they may struggle a bit against an Air Force team that has already faced off against powerhouses like Michigan and SDSU. I would be really surprised if this game didnt stay close for four quarters before one team manages to pull away at the very end. I think the best option in this spot is to side with the battle-tested Falcons, especially since they just have to stay within a touchdown. Although I expect Navy to remain undefeated, especially since they are playing at home, I do think that Air Force is capable of winning this game outright. Again, that isnt the likeliest scenario, but if they can stay within striking distance for long enough, (or even build an early lead) they are talented enough to pull off the upset. In rivalry games between two somewhat comparable teams, (skill-wise) it often turns out to be a real nail-biter that comes down to the final few plays.

I think this is a situation where the game likely stays close, and because of that, I think that taking Air Force and the 7+ points offers decent value. On the other hand, Navys 4-0 record really isnt all that impressive when considering the calibre of opponents they have faced so far FL. The record for Air Force is extremely deceiving, as they have faced two top 20 ranked teams already this season (Michigan and SDSU). The battle for supremacy between these two long-time rivals is always the focal point of the season for both teams. Atlantic, Tulane, Cincinnati, and Tulsa.

The clock wont stop much whileboth running games will try to exert its power over the opposing defenses. Pride is on the line as the two service academies battle for superiority. Air Force, if needed, has much more experience passing the ball than Navy, so that is a wrinkle it could use.

Air Force (1-3) vs. Navy (4-0) Game Preview

But dont try to sell that rationale to an Air Force team that could have won 10 games in 2018 by that same virtue of losses by a single score. The optimist might say the Mids overall record is misleading, seeing as they lost four games by a touchdown or less; two of which were lost on converted two-point conversions.