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Cheez-It Bowl Picks & Odds: Air Force Favored By Field Goal Against Washington State

Air Force on offense
Air Force closed the season with seven straight wins. Can they make it eight in a row with a victory in the Cheez-It Bowl against Washington State? Photo by U.S. Air Force Trevor Cokely (Wiki Commons)
  • Washington State (6-6) and Air Force (10-2) meet in the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona
  • The Cougars were 4-8 ATS this season and the Falcons were 7-5
  • Mike Leach needs a victory to avoid his fourth losing season as head coach of Washington State

Nothing in life is guaranteed but few things are as certain as this bowl game being better in 2019 than it was in 2018. Last year, TCU beat Cal 10-7 in overtime in a game that featured nine interceptions. It shouldn’t be tough for Washington State and Air Force to match that level of entertainment. Air Force vs Washington State odds currently make the Falcons a three-point favorite.

Cheez-It Bowl Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Washington State Cougars +3 (-115) +125 O 67.5 (-110)
Air Force Falcons -3 (-105) -145 U 67.5 (-110)

Odds taken Dec. 17th

The Cougars need a win for head coach Mike Leach or he’ll have his fourth losing season in eight years at Washington State. Despite finishing the regular season 4-8 against the spread, I think they not only cover but win the game straight up for two key reasons.

QB Anthony Gordon is an Elite Talent

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman and if you heard on all the sports talk shows he was second in this stat and second in that stat, it’s because Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon was first. He finished with 5,228 passing yards which, when you do the math, is 70 more per game than Burrow.

Gordon is a rising NFL draft prospect for very good reason. He completed 72% of his passes and yes it was in the PAC-12 where defense is frowned upon these days but still, the numbers are eye-popping. When you consider Air Force only completed 21 total sacks all season, I’d expect Gordon to be standing in the pocket finding his array of talented receivers early and often in this one.

Air Force Schedule Lacks Substance

Getting to ten wins is always nice especially for a program like Air Force. That said, there is little substance to the victories on their resume. In fact Air Force makes Clemson look like they ran a gauntlet of tough opponents by comparison. The Falcons had exactly one win against a Power 5 opponent in the regular season – five win and bowl ineligible Colorado and even that game went to overtime.

It’s always important to dive deeper into the numbers than simply looking at the Falcons ten wins and the Cougars six wins and write this one off. In particular its on offense where you see the glaring difference between the two teams. Washington State was the seventh-most efficient team with the ball while Air Force barely cracked the top 25. In a bowl game with a high total where points are expected to be scored, I’ll trust the elite offense.

Trust Washington State to Win Straight Up

You’re betting this game for a reason to watch and you might as well go all in. You’re getting plus-money to wager on a Power 5 school with a top 10 offense against a non-Power 5 team that beat nobody better than Colorado this year. Don’t overthink this and worry about parlays or line movement, take the +125 while it’s available and get ready to cheer Mike Leach to his seventh win of the season.

Pick: Washington State Moneyline (+125)

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