Army vs. Navy Game Betting Preview & Pick for Dec 9, 2023
Army Black Knights (5-6 SU, 4-6-1 ATS) vs. Navy Midshipmen (5-6 SU, 4-7 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 9, 2023 at 3PM EST
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Point Spread: ARMY -2.5/NAVY +2.5 (Bovada – Home of the best live betting platform on the planet! They offer giant signup bonuses too!)
Money Line: Arm -140/Nav +120
Over/Under Total: 28
The Army Black Knights take on the Navy Midshipmen in the Army-Navy game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on Saturday. One of the sport’s more-enduring rivalries, it’s always going to be an important game, regardless of each team’s respective stature in college football. Both teams enter this spot at 5-6, looking to punctuate their seasons with a big win in this spot. Navy, on a dominant unbeaten run in this matchup from 2002-2015, has seen Army start taking control of this matchup with five wins in the last seven years, including last year. They enter this as small favorites this season, as well.
Breaking it Down
Players should enjoy this new locale, with this game being held at Gillette Stadium for the first time, the site of some big-time football over the years. We see a total that is anemic, at 28 points. That should suggest that this game will be heavy on the defense and the run game, which it will be. Army enters this game with some superior momentum, winning their last three to come into this spot. Navy, meanwhile, had been doing pretty well but sponged a 59-14 beating to SMU in their last game.
Even within Navy’s uneven results, we see one of the best rushing defenses in the country. In the two games before their last, they allowed a combined 6 points to ECU and UAB, also seeing their “D” win the day in other spots in the second half of this season. Running the ball is where Army’s bread is buttered and how this matchup plays out between the Army run-attack and the Navy run-stop will go a long way toward determining a winner in this game. And if Army tries to counter with passes, they’re dealing with a nice Navy pass-rush, in addition to a ball-hawk secondary, led by Rayuan Lane, III. and Dashaun Peele.
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Matchup Issues for Navy
Outside of the unsightly 62-0 loss to LSU, the Army defense hasn’t been bad, dealing with opposing offenses capably for the most part. Navy will see if Tai Lavatai can return, as the quarterback has missed the last four starts. In any event, the offense is sometimes stuck in mud with just over 1000 total aerial yards on the season. They have a deep running-game, as is their wont, but with no real standouts with the possible exception of Alex Tecza, who has 724 yards and five touchdowns. They’re averaging just over 15 points in their last six games, a lot of that taken up by their 31-6 win over a bad UAB team. A lot of the optimism surrounding a stance on Navy is based on their defense. In a game with a total of 28 points, maybe that will be enough. But if this game becomes the slightest bit offensive, you have to wonder how that will shake out for what is a really tough offense to get behind.
It’s not always easy for excellence in rushing defense to translate to this context—a rushing attack like few others. Like Navy, the Army offense eschews the passing game for the most part. But QB Bryson Daily is a slickster, avoiding the rush and scooting around, as he is the team’s leading rusher. Behind him is a large cast, with nine different players having scored a rushing TD. It’s a difficult group to contain, with different wrinkles and X-factors deployed to lend some unpredictability to their approach. They quelled a pretty good Coastal Carolina team in their last game with 365 yards rushing with the production coming from all over the place. We’re seeing an Army team that seems to be getting a little better as the season goes on, is healthier, and is seeing better performances from their field general Daily.
What to Expect on Saturday
Even if those who set this total at 28 prove to be too stingy, this will be a grind. Points will be precious. The defense will shine. Big pass plays will be hard to find. It should follow a certain script, at least in the sense of how these teams typically play each other. I think it’s also reasonable to expect a close game, with neither team in a good enough matchup offensively to create much separation. In cases like this, where it’s hard to make a clear distinction in overall quality between two teams, one has to look at things like momentum and the ability to make big plays.
On one hand, I think a little favor needs to be extended to Navy for their defense, a stout and generally more of a playmaking unit than Army’s defense. I think there’s a bigger gap, however, when it comes to momentum and offensive potential. Army has played some of their best ball in the last month, seeing key players really warm up to the season. Guys like Daily are putting forth big showings, and you’re seeing their run-game take over in spots. Contrarily, we see a less than full-power Navy offense languishing in long stretches and just not showing the same spark.
Take the Favorite
It’s not a pick one can make with the most confidence, in what seems to be a slog where either team has a pretty decent case. That 2.5-point allowance means more here than it might in other games. At any rate, I like what I’ve seen out of Army enough in the last month to think they deserve to rate a better choice in this spot against a Navy team whose best football might be in the rearview this season. I like to Army to win and cover the spread in Foxborough on Saturday. I’ll take the Black Knights.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Army Black Knights minus 2.5 points.