The Air Force Falcons (9-3) and Baylor Bears (6-6) meet up in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on Thursday in a matchup featuring two teams that love to run the ball and control the clock. These two teams haven’t played each other since 1977, and Baylor owns a 3-0 record all-time against Air Force.
The kickoff is pegged for 7:30 p.m. EST inside Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. Baylor is a 3.5-point favorite, and the over/under total is 43 points.
What to Know – Baylor Bears
Baylor stumbles into the bowl game after losing its final three contests of the season, all to ranked opponents. The Bears finished the regular season tied for fifth in the Big 12 Conference. Dave Aranda is in his third season as head coach of the Bears.
Offensively, the Bears score 33.6 points per game and average 429.2 yards of total offense. The defense for Baylor surrenders 26.6 points and 370.3 yards of total offense to opposing teams.
The Bears churned out 2,329 yards on the ground during the regular season, tallying 194.0 yards per game rushing. Richard Reese was the leader of the run game, carrying the ball 190 times for 962 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Baylor was 7-5 against the spread and 4-2 ATS over its final six games of the season. The Bears are 7-1 ATS in their previous eight games played in the month of December.
What to Know – Air Force Falcons
For the first time since 2016, the Air Force is the holder of the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, awarded each season to the winner of college football’s series between teams of the U.S. Military. The Falcons wrapped up the regular season on a four-game winning streak, finishing second in their division in the Mountain West Conference. Air Force is coached by Troy Calhoun, who is in his 16th season leading the program.
Air Force averages 27.7 points per game behind an offense that collected 398.7 yards of offense, including 330.9 yards rushing. The Falcons’ defense held opponents to 13.3 points and 256.4 yards of total offense.
A punishing triple-option attack is the Falcons’ main objective offensively, and they perfected the old-school style this year. Brad Roberts ran the ball 308 times for 1,612 yards and 15 touchdowns, while John Lee Eldridge III added 701 yards and four scores.
The Falcons were an even 6-6 ATS in 2022 and failed to cover their only contest played at a neutral site. Air Force is also strong ATS in recent December games, sporting a 5-1 record.
The Pick is In
Expect a low-scoring contest between these two foes as a focus on controlling the clock will be on display. Aranda is known for coaching great defenses, but the Bears took a step back in 2022. Having to play for a triple-option attack is no easy task either, so we’ll take the points and a motivated Falcons team.
The Pick: Air Force Falcons +3.5