Elevation Final Straw in 'Over' Bet for Utah State at Air Force

Jason Lake

Friday, November 24, 2017 2:12 PM UTC

Friday, Nov. 24, 2017 2:12 PM UTC

Some college football games are blowouts, but Saturday’s tilt between the Utah State Aggies and Air Force Falcons is one of the closest matchups on the Week 13 NCAAF odds board.

Free Pick: Over 57Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Utah State at Air Force

It’s always a good time when one of the academy teams is playing college football. These schools invariably run some form of the triple-option offense – the wishbone and veer variations have been featured prominently over the years. Troy Calhoun piloted this offense with the Air Force Falcons when he was their quarterback in the ‘80s; now he’s running it as their head coach. Unfortunately for Falcons fans, this was a rebuilding year for the program, which takes a 4-7 record SU and ATS into Saturday’s season finale against the Utah State Aggies (6-5 SU and ATS).

The Aggies might not run the triple-option under head coach Matt Wells, but this isn’t your garden-variety offense, either. Wells, also a former USU quarterback, runs a version of the spread that focuses on tempo, and his Aggies are once again bowl-eligible after a down year in 2016. They’re 1-point road dogs on the NCAAF odds board for what should be a very close game, kicking off at 10:15 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.

The Need for Speed

Before we even look at the spread, this game feels like an OVER in the making. The OVER is 8-3 for Utah State this year, and 7-4 for Air Force. Not only do the Falcons rack up tremendous yardage on the ground, they also rank No. 118 out of the 130 FBS teams on defense, according to the Fremeau Efficiency Index stats at Football Outsiders. Saturday’s 57-point total is definitely within range on what should be a lovely night in Colorado Springs. Utah State’s up-tempo offense should make up for some of Air Force’s clock-chewing ground game.

As for that spread, it’s a tight one. ESPN’s Football Power Index projects Air Force to win 52.5 percent of the time, which is pretty close to –1 according to Wizard of Odds. The Simple Rating System at Sports Reference has the Aggies at plus-0.77 SRS and the Falcons at minus-4.77 SRS, and ESPN’s Brad Edwards and Seth Walder have Air Force pegged at plus-0.08 Points Above Expectation at Falcon Stadium, so let’s see ... carry the one ... that’s around Aggies –2.5. M’eh.

Again, we’re more inclined to run with the OVER here, especially on Senior Day. It was the right college football pick the other two times Utah State made the trip to Falcon Stadium, which sits at an elevation of 6,621 feet. That should help the field-goal kickers get us over the hump if need be. Put us down for a small wager, and get us a bucket of prop wash while you’re at it, Cadet.

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