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The Air Force Falcons will be looking to improve on last year's results when they tip off the season against the South Dakota Coyotes in nonconference action from Sioux Falls, S.D., on Thursday afternoon. The Falcons, who have not had a winning record in 10 years, placed 10th in the Mountain West Conference at 3-17 a season ago. The Coyotes (14-11), who have had five consecutive winning seasons, have yet to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament. South Dakota finished second in the Summit League at 11-4 in 2020-21.

The game from Sanford Pentagon at Heritage Court is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. ET. South Dakota averaged 76 points per game last season, while Air Force averaged 58.7. The Coyotes are 7.5-point favorites in the latest Air Force vs. South Dakota odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over-under for total points scored is set at 130.5. Before locking in any South Dakota vs. Air Force picks, make sure you check out the college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past five years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of $2,200 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Air Force vs. South Dakota and just locked in its coveted CBB picks and predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are the college basketball lines and trends for South Dakota vs. Air Force:

  • Air Force vs. South Dakota spread: South Dakota -7.5
  • Air Force vs. South Dakota over-under: 130.5 points 
  • Air Force vs. South Dakota money line: Air Force +285, South Dakota -360
  • AFA: The Falcons are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games as underdogs
  • SD: The Coyotes are 2-5 ATS in their last seven Thursday games
Featured Game | South Dakota Coyotes vs. Air Force Falcons

Why South Dakota can cover

Guard Kruz Perrott-Hunt, a 6-3 junior, is among the returning starters for the Coyotes. Perrott-Hunt played in 25 games in 2020-21, averaging 27.6 minutes, seven points and 2.8 rebounds per game. He also dished out 2.2 assists and grabbed 13 steals on the year. He had a career-high 16 points against Omaha on Jan. 29, and had eight double-figure scoring games.

Also expected to help power the Coyotes is senior guard Mason Archambault, who started the Coyotes' exhibition game against Simpson. Archambault scored 11 points in a 98-47 win. Last season, he averaged five points, 1.4 rebounds and one steal per game. He connected on 45.5 percent of his shots from the floor, including 39.2 percent from 3-point range, and hit on 88.2 percent of his free throws.

Why Air Force can cover 

The Falcons are opening their season on the road for the second year in a row. They defeated Cal State Northridge 66-51 in last year's opener at Las Vegas. Air Force returns just two starters and four other players who saw action in 2020-21. All-Mountain West third-team senior guard A.J. Walker is the team's top returner. Walker led the Falcons in scoring at 15.3 points per game as well as averaged three rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals. His top scoring performance was a 33-point effort in a 69-63 loss to Fresno State on Feb. 11.

Also back is junior forward Nikc Jackson, who averaged 8.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. He fared well from the floor, hitting on 50.3 percent of his shots. He had a number of shining moments last season, including scoring 18 points in 18 minutes and knocking down a career-high 3-pointers against UNLV.

How to make Air Force vs. South Dakota picks

SportsLine's model is leaning over on the point total. In fact, it says Air Force's A.J. Walker will score 20 points, nearly five points better than his season average from a year ago. The model has also generated an against-the-spread pick that cashes in nearly 70 percent of simulations. You can only get the model's Air Force vs. South Dakota prediction at SportsLine

So who wins Air Force vs. South Dakota? And which side of the spread hits in nearly 70 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Air Force vs. South Dakota spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up $2,200 on its college basketball picks the last five years, and find out.