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Risk Management: A gambler’s guide to Air Force, Navy, and Army football

Can Army win you some money again, only this time as a 17-point favorite?

NCAA Football: Colgate at Air Force Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

I am afraid to remind everyone that I was 2-0 on my picks last week because now you may actually believe the advice I give in this series. Let’s be honest, even a blind squirrel finds a nut everyone once in awhile or something like that.

While I was certainly more confident in Army’s ability to cover the 22-point spread (which is why I labeled it a minor risk), I was a little more surprised that the under hit considering the game when into double overtime, but hey, I will take it.

We have some intriguing AAE games this weekend but let’s dissect each one to see if we should put any of our hard earned money on the line.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Air Force at Colorado (AAE Game of the Week)

Saturday, September 14 1:00 ET on PAC12N

Spread: Colorado -4.5

O/U: 58.5

To make things clear right from the start, this is not a game I would touch. Although Air Force took it to Colgate on both sides of the ball opening week, there are just too many unknowns for the Falcons when it comes to throwing down the cash. This is the game where we will really learn what Calhoun is working with for the 2019 season.

While I could see either team pulling out the victory, I do expect to see points scored. Colorado is averaging 43 points per game and managed to put up 52 points against Colorado State in week one. The Falcons put 35 on the board before the end of the first half against Colgate and finished with a 48-7 win. Both teams have shown offensive efficiency and I would expect both to challenge the other’s defense for all four quarters.

I like a 38-30 type game and expect Colorado to find the end zone late in the fourth quarter to secure the victory, but I don’t like it enough to risk my own money.


Colorado -4.5 - Moderate Risk

Over (58.5) - Moderate Risk

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 08 North Carolina at ECU Photo by Greg Thompson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

East Carolina at Navy

Saturday, September 14 3:30 ET on CBSSN

Spread: Navy -7

O/U: 53.5

This is also not a game I am comfortable putting money on although I do expect Navy to pull out the AAC season opener win. If you could find the spread in Navy’s favor by less than 7 points I would consider it, but a full 7 makes me nervous. Vegas Insider shows the game opened at -9 in favor of the Midshipmen and the early bettors jumped on it and it has rightfully shifted in ECU’s direction.

The Pirates are under new leadership in Head Coach Mike Houston who had plenty of success at the FCS level. Navy is in a similar situation as Air Force with just one game under its belt by way of defeating an over-matched Holy Cross squad 45-7. ECU’s defense has improved while its offense still needs some work to be considered a legit threat. I expect the Pirates to have some success in slowing down Navy’s production but I think Navy’s newly adopted aggressive defensive scheme will limit ECU’s offensive production. Sure the Mids will give up some yards and big plays as they are still developing under their new system, but I think it all leads to a push when Navy secures a 7-point win.

Both defenses will do better than expected, especially since the offenses are still finding their way, so I like the under with a 28-21 Navy win.


Navy -7 - Moderate Risk (get your money back with a push)

Under (53.5) - Minor Risk

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 13 Louisiana Tech at UTSA Photo by Daniel Dunn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Army at UTSA

Saturday, September 14 3:30 ET on NFLN

Spread: Army -17

O/U: 45

This may have the most potential in terms of a money play this week as I fully expect Army to take care of UTSA on Saturday. The 2019 Black Knight defense is pretty stout, limiting Rice to 7 points and 7th ranked Michigan to just 14 points through regulation. There is no way I see the Roadrunners putting up more than 14 points against this Army defense.

UTSA lost to Baylor last week 63-14 and I am not even sure the game was that close (they were a 25-point Vegas underdog). The Bears averaged an astounding 9.4 yards per rush and totaled 368 yards on the ground. While Army has yet to put a full offensive game together in 2019 this may be their best shot to do just that. Even if the Black Knights don’t get the offensive production they want, I still see Army scoring at least 31 points in the contest. Basic math says that I am thinking a 31-14 loss as kind of a best case scenario for UTSA here. But read that sentence again, this is what I consider a “best case scenario” for UTSA.

In all likelihood this game won’t finish that nicely for the Roadrunners. Take Army and stay away from the O/U.


Army -17 - Minor Risk

Over (45) - Moderate Risk