3* Air Force +10 over BYU
This is the time of year where you can take some of the guesswork out of handicapping. Early season handicapping requires lots of assumptions. You dig into each team, make judgment calls on their talent and so on and so forth. By this time in the year however, you have some facts to deal with. Enough Games have been played that you are no longer making assumptions. The teams are what they are. This is particularly helpful in a Game like this where the teams have played six common opponents.
As it is, when looking at this Game and utilizing season to date stats, one would have to give Air Force a good look. They are #3 in the entire nation in turnover margin and boast a yards per point differential of almost +8 to the good. Meaning good defensive numbers and good offensive numbers. BYU no pushover for sure, with very good offensive numbers but a mediocre 15.5 on defense, making them +3 using ypp season to date. Comparing the two, Air Force is favored on a neutral field.
Now, yards per point numbers can be meaningless in college football, if you’re looking at two teams that play a different strength of Schedule. But in this case, we have two teams who have played a very similar Schedule. Furthermore, we can break this down based on common opponents, as there are 6, and when we do so, the results are interesting to say the least.
In the six Games against common opponents, Air Force has an offensive yards per point number of 12.8 and a whopping 22 defensively. BYU meanwhile, equally as impressive on offense with a 12.0, but defensively they weigh in with a 16. Good, but not great and not as good as Air Force. ONCe again using common opponent stats, Air Force shows up as the better team.
If you go through each teams Schedule and look at Games against common opponents one by one it will become evident that Air Force played better against those teams. Perhaps no Game illustrates that more than TCU where Air Force lost by a field goal 20-17 and BYU was blown out 38-7.
Air Force hasn’t given up more than 23 points in any one Game this year while also showing they can out points on the board with the best of them. The numbers suggest they are every bit as good or better than BYU and they have a revenge motive to boot as BYU has won 5 in a row in this series. That means not one player on the Air Force squad has ever beaten BYU and for many, this will be their last chance.
The feeling here is that the number on this Game is a tad too high. This Game will likely be close heading into the 4th quarter with the outcome still in doubt. Getting 10 points in that scenario is right where we want to be. We’ll even make a small play on the money line here as a straight up Air Force win shouldn’t surprise anyone.
3* Air Force +10
1* Air Force +310 or better on the money line
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