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Risk Management: Our Picks for Army vs. Air Force and Navy vs. Cincinnati Football

The Commander-in-Chief’s trophy is up for grabs this week when Air Force visits Army and Navy hits the road as underdogs in Cincinnati

Obama Presents Commander-In-Chief Trophy To US Air Force Academy Football Team Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Army (79.9% win probability per ESPN FPI) vs. Air Force

The Air Force Falcons may be sitting at 3-5 overall, but they are 1-0 in the quest for the Commander in Chief’s Trophy. Saturday, the Falcons travel to West Point in an attempt to complete the CIC sweep hoping to win the trophy for the second time in three years. Winning at Michie Stadium will be no easy task for Air Force as the Black Knights (6-2) are undefeated (3-0) at home and are currently riding a four game win streak. Speaking of streaks, does anyone know the last time Army defeated Air Force in back-to-back seasons? If you guessed 1977-1978, you’d be correct. How crazy is that? Army hasn’t defeated Air Force in two consecutive seasons in forty years. Well, Vegas likes Army’s chances to do just that for the second time ever as they come into the weekend as 6.5 point favorites, their sixth time as favorites this year. As favorites, the Black Knights have covered the spread all but one time in 2018 and I see them accomplishing that feat again this weekend with a solid 7-10 point victory.

The over/under is certainly tricky as everyone expects the option offenses for both teams to contribute to a low scoring affair, yet both teams play in games averaging well above the 42 point O/U that exists throughout Vegas. I don’t think there will be too many points beyond 42 (for example, the Air Force vs. Navy game totaled 42 points exactly), but I do expect the end result to creep north of the 42 mark.

Army (-6.5) - Moderate Risk

Over (42) - Moderate Risk

Pick - Army 27 Air Force 17

Navy (11.6% win probability per ESPN FPI)

The Navy Midshipmen (2-6) are facing their third double digit underdog spread in a row this week when they travel to Cincinnati to take on the 7-1 Bearcats. The Midshipmen have covered only twice this season, but picked up both covers as underdogs and are actually 1-0 ATS when not playing in Annapolis. I know that is a tough stat to really look at confidently enough to make a wager, but I think it is safe to say that service academy teams typically over perform as road underdogs. Couple that concept with Cincinnati’s 1-2 record ATS as a home favorite against FBS competition and you have to like Navy’s chances to keep the game within two scores.

I would 100% stay away from the over/under in this game, but I need to at least give you a pick. I think Navy maintains possession and slows the clock down a little better this week as they continue to improve with Lewis under center. That ball control eats up the clock and ultimately keeps this game at a relatively low total.

***Interesting note worth absolutely nothing - The Temple Owls defeated Navy and Cincinnati by the same score - 24-17.***

Navy (+14) - Minor Risk

Under (49.5) - Moderate Risk

Pick - Cincinnati 28 Navy 21