Expert College Football Picks: Army vs. Navy Betting Odds and Predictions
Army Black Knights at Navy Midshipmen, Saturday December 9, 3 p.m. ET
We are into the little bit of downtime during the college football season before the craziness of bowl season. This Saturday features just one game - the last one of the regular season and one of the most historic in existence. Army and Navy have met 117 times since 1890, including every year since 1930. Navy had been dominant in recent years, winning 14 straight meetings to take a 60-49-7 series lead. Army finally got back on track last year, though, winning 21-17 in Baltimore to stop the bleeding. Navy still has another streak on the line, though, as they have won 10 straight meetings in Philadelphia and will look to make it 11. And there is more - for the first time since 2012 the winner of this game will take the Commander's Trophy, which is awarded to the winner of the three-way mini-tournament between service academies. Air Force won it last year, and Navy won it the year before, but Army has not won it since 1996.
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Army at Navy Betting Storylines
This will blow your mind if you haven't been paying much attention to these teams during the season - and why would you, really? These teams are a perfect 4-0 this season in games in which they have not thrown a single pass. Not one. Army has done it three times, and Navy once. Needless to say, these squads do not believe in offensive balance. To compete these squads have figured out that running the option aggressively overcomes their inherent weaknesses in size and talent, and they have clearly bought in entirely.
Army has the top running offense in the country, averaging 368.1 yards per game. Their 30.5 passing yards ranks just 130th, though. Navy is second on the ground at 347.5 and just two spots better than Army at passing, though their 91.2 yards per game through the air is dramatically better than Army. This game clearly and obviously will come down to how well teams run the ball and which team can disrupt their opponent better. Army ranks 54th nationally in run defense, and Navy is only slightly behind, sitting at 58th. Neither team is awful, but nor is either team dominant enough to significantly stall their opponent. They do have the advantage of practicing against an option offense every day, which most opponents of these two cannot do. But it seems more than likely that both offenses will be able to do what they set out to do.
If you aren't used to watching these teams play, and don't tune in to this game every year, then you will be surprised by how quickly the game is played. The option is about moving quickly, and these teams don't like to waste a lot of time scrambling. Even with the commercials this game will feel like it is over before it starts. That won't have much of an impact on the teams because both teams are used to it. But it is certainly something worth watching for the sake of the spectacle.
Army at Navy Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Navy favored by 3.5. That has since fallen widely to 3, and 2.5 has even been flirted with at times. Action is split very evenly between the two teams, so it seems unlikely that we will see dramatic line shifts without any news. The total opened as high as 50.5 and now sits widely at 46.
Army has won only once in the last six games, but they have covered five of six spreads during that time. They are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games played in December. The Midshipmen are 3-1-2 ATS in their last six against teams with winning records. Thirteen of the last 16 meetings between these squads have gone "under" the total.
Army at Navy Predictions and Picks
There is little mystery to this game. The teams are going to pound it down each other's throat from the outset, and the winner will be the one who can do it slightly better. The gap between the teams isn't significant, and the squads have played close games frequently - five of the last six meetings have been decided by less than a score. Army lost their last game 52-49 but had won six straight before that. Navy, which has just six wins this year to Army's eight, has played a better schedule but is in much worse form, losing five of their last six and their last two overall. Army comes in with more confidence, and that will be the difference here. Army is the pick here against the spread.
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