Anyone who has ever bet on a service academy football game will tell you that it is not for the faint of heart.

Not many points are scored. There won’t be many flashy pieces. With the non-stop triple option runs, cameramen are often confused trying to track who is carrying the ball. It will be beautifully ugly, the way football was designed.

But the duel between the No. 22 Air Force (-10.5) and Navy on Saturday in Annapolis left anyone who had bet on the Midshipmen reeling.

For starters, the senior was suddenly able to leave on Saturday after Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun announced his starting quarterback Zac Larrier would be out for “weeks.” That proved crucial, as the Falcons were able to outscore the Mids 288 yards to 124 yards — including a 94-yard touchdown pass to Dane Kinamon.

Navy made things even harder for themselves (and bettors) by throwing a pick-six with 3:51 to play, going down 17-0 and missing a chance to beat the spread.

Still, and despite Calhoun’s subterfuge, Navy had a chance to create an epic backdoor coverage by getting the ball right back and methodically moving downfield. All bettors needed was a touchdown and an extra point to achieve this. The Navy, never before put out of action by the Air Force, had every reason to help them.

The Mids did just that, gaining 78 yards on 15 plays, easily their most impressive drive of the day. It ended with a beautiful 10-yard pass from Eli Heidenreich in the end zone with 50 seconds left. Cover was not only at hand for the Navy. It had complete control over it.

And for some inexplicable reason, Navy went for a two-point conversion, which failed miserably as it was down 17-6 and extremely unlikely to get the ball back again.

There are a lot of stupid ways to lose a bet, but my goodness, this one is going to be annoying for a while. We hope that every Navy bettor protects themselves by also taking the lower limit, which is the biggest lock possible in the sport.

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