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Air Force vs. Navy Football Prediction with Analysis
For most college football programs, October is when the real season begins as they start to face conference opponents each week from here on out. But for the service academies, it's not about a conference title, it's all about the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which is decided by the outcomes of games Army, Navy and Air Force play against each other. Navy had a 7 year run with the trophy come to an end last year as Air Force took the prize.
Navy is anywhere from a -2.5 to -3 point favorite over Air Force at home this week. The early betting action has been fairly balanced as there were plenty of early takers of the +3 on Air Force balanced out with plenty of those willing to lay the -2.5, as evidenced by one sharp book opening -3, dropping to -2.5 and then moving to -2.5 -114.
Not much to go on for either team here as both beat up on Football Championship Subdivision teams twice, while both stepped up in class once. But if you're looking for something to go on based on the one game against a legitimate opponent, you'd have to give the nod to Navy. Navy played on the road at #10 South Carolina last week and led the game 21-17 early in the 4th quarter. It wasn't pretty, they lost the first down battle 27-15 and gave up 458 total yards, but they were able to average 6 yards per rush, go 9-14 on 3rd down and not turn the ball over or take stupid penalties. Of concern is allowing Marcus Lattimore to run all over them.
Fortunately for Navy, Air Force has problems of it's own stopping the run. In fact, though Navy ranks 101st in the Nation against the run, Air Force isn't far behind at 97th, and Air Force faces the possibility of going into this game without 5 starters from the defense while Navy expects to get 3 linebackers back this week that did not play against South Carolina.
Also note that when Air Force had their one chance to step up in class this year, they failed against a TCU team that most would agree is down a notch. They lost to TCU at home, 35-19 in a game that was 35-9 until 8 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.
Air Force-Navy games are generally close ones and this one will likely be no different. Air Force has had an early bye week to try and get healthy and prepare but we're going to go with Navy and a little revenge here as Navy makes an early case for reclaiming the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. Navy -3
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