With how bad Army has been in college football in recent years, almost surely the winner of the Week 5 NCAA game this year between Navy and Air Force will again claim the Commander-in- Chief’s Trophy. That is awarded to each season’s winner of the series among the teams of the U.S. Military Academy (Army Black Knights), the U.S. Naval Academy (Navy Midshipmen), and U.S. Air Force Academy (Air Force Falcons). Air Force is a 5-point favorite over Navy on college football odds.
Here’s How To Bet on Navy vs Air Force Week 5 Expert Pick & Odds & TV Info
— Navy Athletics (@NavyAthletics) July 12, 2016
Navy vs. Air Force Recent Betting History
Led by record-setting quarterback Keenan Reynolds, Navy was easily the best service academy last year in losing just two games. The Midshipmen easily handled Air Force 33-11. Reynolds ran for 117 of his 183 yards in the first half. Reynolds completed 4 of 10 passes for 117 yards with a touchdown on a wet, windy day. Chris Swain, a 6-foot- 1, 245-pound fullback, had a pair of short-yardage scores for the Midshipmen. It was Navy’s largest margin of victory in the series since 1978. Air Force committed four turnovers, all in Navy territory. AFA’s Karson Roberts, 5 for 12 for 73 yards with an interception, ran for his team’s lone touchdown in the fourth quarter.
In terms of the Commander-in- Chief’s Trophy, The Navy-Air Force game is traditionally played on the first Saturday in October, the Army-Air Force game on the first Saturday in November, and the Army–Navy Game on the second Saturday in December — the final game of college football’s regular season. In the event of a tie, the award is shared, but the previous winner retains possession of the trophy. Navy won it last year, Air Force the year before.
Why Bet on Navy?
Navy has had some amazing players in its history, but no one put up the stats of Reynolds. So the main question is who starts in his place. Tago Smith is the heir apparent, having served capably as the backup for the past two seasons. There has been too small a sample size to predict how Smith will fare as the starter over the course of an entire season, but it’s encouraging to the coaching staff that he has performed well whenever called upon.
Last year, Smith saw action in eight contests where he completed two of his three passes for 30 yards and a touchdown and carried the ball 27 times for 126 yards and a TD. He played the bulk of the fourth quarter at Tulsa, rushing for 27 yards on five carries. Smith also carried the ball four times for 22 yards, including a spectacular eight-yard TD run against SMU. Smith, a senior, came to Navy as a slot back, but was moved to quarterback the week of the Toledo game in 2013 after John Hendrick suffered a season-ending knee injury. Smith had never played quarterback until being switched there by the Navy coaches but was impressive this spring.
Why Bet on Air Force?
Air Force’s best offensive player is running back Jacobi Owens. He led team in rushing last season with 1,096 yards on 205 carries for an average of 78.0 yards per game. He started the first six games last season at tailback, before starting the last eight at fullback due to injuries in the backfield. At the fullback position, he averaged 99.0 yards rushing per game. Owens had a season-best 156 yards on 17 carries with a career-long run of 65 yards at San Diego State in the Mountain West title game. He enters the 2016 season ranked 11th in school history in career rushing with 2,146 yards. Dee Dowis (1986-89) holds the career record with 3,612. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each his sophomore and junior seasons and his nine career 100-yard rushing games are the most among active Falcons.
AFA has two very good defensive players in defensive backs Weston Steelhammer and Roland Ladipo, who were each named to the 2016 Jim Thorpe Award watch list as the nation’s top defensive back. Steelhammer led the Falcons in tackles last season with 80 and interceptions with five. He also had 10.5 tackles for loss for 33 yards and a quarterback sack. Steelhammer has 16.5 career tackles for loss and ranks fifth in school history with 11 career interceptions. Ladipo was a first-team all-Mountain West selection in 2015 in his first year as a starter. Ladipo was second on the team in tackles with 79 and interceptions with three. Ladipo led the conference and ranked 17th nationally in pass breakups with 17.
My Expert Pick
Reynolds has been the one-dimensional offense of Navy for three years. He is going to be hugely missed. Go Air Force on NCAA football odds.