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Armed Forces Bowl Betting Preview: Air Force Falcons vs. James Madison Dukes

December 23, 2023

The 2023 Armed Forces Bowl will take place on Saturday, December 23rd, and will feature the James Madison Dukes squaring off against the Air Force Falcons in Fort Worth, Texas at Amon G. Carter Stadium with the game kicking off at 3:30 PM ET on Saturday afternoon and will air on ABC.


The James Madison Dukes are still in the transition phase from FCS to FBS, however, they qualified for a bowl as there weren’t enough 6-6 teams to fill all of the bowl games. The Dukes were one of the best non-Power 5 teams this season as they finished with a record of 11-1 and 1st in the East Division of the Sun Belt Conference, however, they weren’t allowed to play in the conference championship game because they are still in the transition phase.


James Madison’s lone loss came in overtime at home against the Appalachian State Mountaineers by a score of 23-26, however, they finished the regular season with a 56-14 win on the road against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. 


The Dukes featured one of the better scoring offenses in the nation as they averaged 35.17 points per game which ranks 18th in college football while also having one of the best scoring defenses as they rank 18th in college football with an average of 18.5 points allowed per game.


The passing offense was the driving force behind the success they had offensively as they averaged 277.92 passing yards per game while Jordan McCloud played a pivotal role in the success of the passing offense as he enters this game having completed 262 of 380 attempts for 3,413 yards with 32 touchdowns and nine interceptions.


The James Madison Dukes will look to win their first bowl game in the history of the program when they face the Air Force Falcons.


The Air Force Falcons finished in 4th place in the Mountain West with a record of 8-4, however, they started the season off 8-0 before going on a four-game losing streak to finish the regular season which included a 19-27 loss on the road against the Boise State Broncos in their season finale.


The offense struggled over their final four games in the regular season as they averaged 15.5 points per game which was a far cry from the 33.63 points per game they were averaging before their losing streak started.


Air Force averaged the 2nd most rushing yards per game this season in college football with an average of 275.75 rushing yards per game. Emmanuel Michel led the team in rushing with 747 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.


The defense for Air Force was one of the better scoring defenses in the nation as they allowed an average of 17.92 points per game which ranked 14th in college football. The Air Force Falcons will look to end their four-game losing streak when they play the James Madison Dukes in the Armed Forces Bowl on Saturday afternoon.


BookMaker has the James Madison Dukes listed as 2.5-point favorites against the Air Force Falcons on Saturday afternoon in the Armed Forces Bowl. This will be the first time in the history of these two programs that they will face each other in college football. The James Madison Dukes are 8-4 ATS overall and 7-4 ATS as a favorite this season while the Air Force Falcons are 5-7 ATS overall and 0-1 ATS as an underdog on the year.


James Madison enters this game with a better record at 11-1 while Air Force is 8-4 this season. The Dukes were also the better team at covering the spread this season as they are 8-4 ATS overall and 7-4 ATS as a favorite while the Falcons are 5-7 ATS overall and 0-1 ATS as an underdog.  


Two good defenses match up and although Air Force lost their last 4 games, they have been here before and will present a unique challenge to James Madison. Slight lean to the Air Force plus the points as Madison loses their coach and QB.


Spooky Express Pick: Air Force Falcons +3