Air Force Vs. Baylor: Predictions, Picks, Odds For Armed Forces Bowl (12/22/22)

While it has been sometime since the Army/Navy game when we got to witness the triple option attack, it is now back and better than ever when Baylor takes on Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl. It will be interesting to see how Baylor fares against the triple option as this is head coach Dave Aranda’s first time going against it at Baylor. Can Baylor limit the ground game and pull out the win?

Air Force Vs. Baylor Odds

Oddsmakers tend to think so as they opened the Baylor Bears as a -5.5 favorite. Bettors tend to think otherwise, taking Air Force to as low as +4 in some shops. This is a battle of two contrasting styles, featuring the patented triple option attack against Baylor’s massive power five size advantage on the interior to try and bust it up.

As for the total, this is expected to be an ugly one as oddsmakers opened the total at 47.5. Bettors have been quick to pounce on the under, taking it to as low as 44.5. Not only will this heavily feature a dose of the ground game on both ends, but the weather conditions will also not be ideal either. As of writing, we are to expect the weather to feature winds as high as 30 mph and a freezing temp of below 20 degrees. Both factors contributing to a run heavy script.

Air Force Vs. Baylor Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Under 45

With that said, I will take the under at no lower than the key number of 45 as this is going to be an ugly slugfest on both ends. While more dynamic than years past, Air Force still typically abuses the triple option and will look to drain the clock as much as possible. Our under is in prime position due to game script, especially if the weather holds up that will limit the amount of passing opportunities to exploit each other’s weak secondaries.

The weather especially plays in Air Force’s hands as it will negate the passing ability of Baylor. While not elite by any means with a slightly above average rank in Pass Success Rate, their secondary can take a breather as they have been thrown over the top by opposing offenses all season.

With the pass attack being the second option, Baylor will be forced to lean towards the run which has been successful for the Bears this season. Baylor ranks 21st in Off Rush Success Rate behind the play of running back Richard Reese who has run for 962 yards and 14 touchdowns this season.

It will be interesting to see if Baylor can find consistent success on the ground against the Air Force rush defense, a unit that ranks 49th in Def Rush Success. While average at limiting ground success, they rank slightly above average at limiting Explosiveness which bodes well for our under ticket. Keeping a consistently draining clock with conservative small gains on the ground.

Air Force Vs. Baylor Key Matchups

Will Baylor be able to stop the triple option? Can either team find success defending the redzone?

Air Force triple option vs Baylor rush defense

As previously mentioned, this will be Dave Aranda’s first time defending the triple option during his time at Baylor. While it’s never easy to scheme against this offense, Baylor can negate their running ability with a massive size advantage in the interior.

Blowing up the middle to take away the first option and allowing their linebackers to focus on options two and three will go a long way in limiting the triple option success. They will need to shut it down quickly to avoid Air Force in exploiting Baylor’s 73rd ranked rush defense.

Finishing Drives

The key metric to watch will be either team’s ability to Finish Drives. Both offenses come into this one with sizable advantages against each other’s defense, ranking well ahead in the ability to put points on the board past the 40 yard line.

With weather potentially limiting the playbook, this bodes well for the defenses ability to anchor down as the field behind them shrinks. If either unit can find Def Finishing Drive Success, then we gain a massive edge in our under ticket as forcing the opposing offense to go the length of the field is a tough ask in this matchup.

Verdict

Take the under at no lower than the key number of 45 in what will be a defensive slugfest.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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