Army vs. Navy Prediction: The Tradition Continues in Philadelphia

Malcolm Perry, Nelson Smith

Getty Navy has one of the best rushing offenses in the country.

For the 120th time, Army and Navy will renew acquaintances in one of the nation’s most historic and traditional football rivalries. The Black Knights have retaken control of this series, winning the last three meetings after losing 14 straight to the Midshipmen from 2002 through 2015. That was the longest winning streak in the history of the rivalry dating back to 1890.

With a win on Saturday, Navy can clinch the Commander-in-Chief Trophy as the best service academy team. The Midshipmen defeated Air Force 34-25 earlier this season. Army has won the title each of the last two seasons.  Army is coming off 52-31 defeat at Hawai’i last Saturday and will finish with a sub-.500 record since 2015. Navy leads the all-time series over Army 60-52-7.

ESPN’s FPI gives Navy a 75.6% chance of winning this game. We break down the line and offer our best bets and analysis for Saturday’s rivalry matchup between the Midshipmen and Black Knights.

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Army vs. Navy Game Details

Date: Saturday, December 13
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia, PA)
Navy -10.5
Total: 40.5

*All lines, odds, and trends are courtesy of Covers & The Action Network

Line Movement

This line opened at Navy -9.5 and has been bet up slightly to Navy -10.5 with the majority of the bets and money coming in on the Midshipmen. This line is correlated with the action and is moving with the market.

Betting Trends

  • Army is 5-7 SU and 5-7 ATS this season
  • Navy is 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS this season
  • Over is 6-5-1 in Army games this season
  • Over is 7-4 in Navy games this season

Analysis & Pick

The under in this game has cashed 13 straight times, but the books have finally adjusted. The average total for the previous 13 matchups was 50, almost 10 full points higher than this year’s total of 40.5. Army and Navy sport the nation’s top two rushing offenses, which should keep the clock moving for the most part, but considering how low this number is, that shouldn’t matter. Navy has scored 91 points in the last two games and we’ve seen both defenses get gashed for big plays this season. It’s a contrarian pick, but this year’s total is an over adjustment to what the true number should be here. Take the over.

PICK: Over 40.5

As strange as this sounds, I think Navy’s improved passing game could be the difference here. Quarterback Malcolm Perry is completing 54.4% of his passes with six touchdowns this season. While those numbers might not be eye-popping, just the semblance of a passing game can keep defenses off balance when facing the Midshipmen because of their proclivity to run the football. If Perry can get into an early groove through the air, it could be a long day for an Army defense that is very suspect against the pass. Navy wins going away and claims the Commander-in-Chief Trophy for the 16th time in program history.

PICK: Navy -10.5

READ NEXTHawai’i vs. Boise State Prediction: Broncos Eye New Year’s Six Bowl

Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith

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