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Baylor vs Air Force Prediction, Odds and College Football Betting Picks for Armed Forces Bowl

The 2022 College Football Bowl Season continues on Thursday with a compelling Armed Forces Bowl matchup between the Baylor Bears and the Air Force Falcons. One could argue that both schools feel short of expectations during the regular season. As such, both teams figure to be hungry to cap off the year on a winning note. The Baylor vs Air Force odds and college football betting picks for this matchup are aligned in favor of the Big 12 Conference representative.

The following game preview provides the college football betting odds, trends and FEI Index ratings before sharing our official Baylor vs Air Force prediction for the Armed Forces Bowl matchup.

Baylor vs Air Force Prediction | College Football Betting Picks

Armed Forces Bowl
Baylor Bears (6-6, 4-5 Big 12) vs. Air Force Falcons (9-3, 5-3 MWC)
Date: Thursday, December 22, 2022
Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
Venue: Amon G. Carter Stadium — Forth Worth, TX
Coverage: ESPN

After winning the Big 12 Championship a year ago, there was a belief that Baylor would once again challenge for conference supremacy in 2022. Unfortunately, those aspirations failed to come to fruition. After a 6-3 start to the campaign, the Bears lost their final three games. The losing streak included a heartbreaking one-point loss to College Football Playoff-bound TCU. Defensive coordinator Ron Roberts was fired at the end of the regular season after a massive drop-off in performance.

A number of sharps liked Air Force to win the Mountain West coming into the year. However, the Falcons would go on to lose three league games by seven points or less. Thus, despite finishing as one of the top statistical teams in the league, Air Force fell short of the conference title game. The Falcons did manage to win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy thanks to beating both Army and Navy. Running back Brad Roberts was the focal point of a rushing attack that led the nation with 312.9 yards per game.

Brad Roberts Baylor vs Air Force prediction odds college football betting picks Armed Forces Bowl game predictions
Credit: Danny Wild – USA TODAY Sports

Baylor vs Air Force College Football Betting Picks and Odds

All college football betting odds for Baylor vs Air Force can be found at BetOnline Sportsbook.

Moneyline: BAY: (-165) | AFA: (+145)
Point Spread: BAY: -3.5 (-110) | AFA: +3.5 (-110)
Total: 43 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

College Football FEI Ratings

The following table shares the Fremeau Efficiency Index rankings for both teams involved in this Armed Forces Bowl matchup. The purpose of the FEI ratings is to represent the per-possession scoring advantage that a team would be expected to have on a neutral field against an average opponent. The rankings for offense and defense are out of 131 total FBS-level teams.

Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) ratings are froFootball Outsiders

TeamOverall FEI (Rk)OFEI (Rk)DFEI (Rk)
Baylor.38 (33).75 (26).14 (48)
Air Force.16 (55).14 (57).15 (45)
  • Bears are 5-1 ATS in their last six non-conference games.
  • Each of the Bears’ last four neutral site games has gone UNDER the total.
  • Bears are 22-4-2 ATS in their last 28 games following an ATS loss.
  • Falcons ae 0-4 ATS in their last four games following an ATS win.
  • Five of the Falcons’ last six games have stayed UNDER the total.
  • The UNDER is 10-0 in the Falcons’ last ten games after finishing with a turnover margin of +3 or better in their previous game.
  • Bears cruised past Boise State 31-12 in the 2016 Cactus Bowl, their last matchup against a Mountain West Conference opponent.

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Baylor vs Air Force Prediction | College Football Betting Picks

In terms of physicality, there’s no disputing the fact that Baylor will have the advantage in this matchup. The Bears’ will have a massive size advantage over Air Force in the trenches on both sides of the ball. While this advantage could prove to be important when it comes to slowing down Brad Roberts and the Falcons’ potent rushing attack, the biggest benefit figures to come when Baylor has the ball on offense.

After leading all of college football in rushing, it’s no surprise that Air Force’s ground game has been a major talking point ahead of the Armed Forces Bowl. However, Baylor quietly had one of the better rushing attacks in the country as well, averaging 188.4 yards per game. Running behind an experienced offensive line, the tandem of Richard Reese and Craig ‘Sqwirl’ Williams combined for nearly 1,500 yards.

It should be noted that Air Force allowed only 98.7 rushing yards per game during the regular season, the seventh-fewest in all of college football. However, Baylor has size along the O-line that is superior to anything the Falcons faced all year in the Mountain West. Given this, it seems likely that the Bears will find success on the ground.

Another thing to keep in mind when handicapping the Baylor vs Air Force odds is the Falcons’ lack of a passing game. While leading the nation in rushing, Air Force also finished dead last in passing with only 64.0 yards per game. Quarterback Haaziq Daniels is a veteran, but this clearly isn’t a team built to play from behind. If the Bears can simply get out to a lead, they will have the upper hand in a big way.

Provided that Baylor QB Blake Shapen can avoid committing costly turnovers, one has to believe that the more physical and well-rounded team will win this matchup. Note too that the point spread has now moved three full points after opening at Baylor -6.5. As such, buying back on the Bears becomes even more appealing.

BAYLOR COVERS will be our official college football betting Baylor vs Air Force prediction for the Armed Forces Bowl.

For what it’s worth, the ESPN Matchup Predictor gives Baylor a 68.1% chance to win this game outright.

Bet: Baylor -3.5 (-110 at BetOnline Sportsbook)

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