Free Pick: Navy vs. Army Betting Analysis
Navy Midshipmen (3-9 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Army Knights (9-2 SU, 6-4-1 ATS)
NCAA Football Week 15
Date/Time: Saturday December 8th, 2018. 3:00PM (EST)
Where: Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia, P.A.
Point Spread:NAVY +7/ARMY -7
Over/Under Total: 41
The historic and prestigious rendering of the Army-Navy Game will be rekindled this weekend for the 119th time when the Navy Midshipmen travel to Lincoln Financial Field for a meeting with the Army Knights. The Knights are enjoying an impressive season at 9-2 SU and are on the verge of just their 3rd 10 win season in school history. On Saturday, Army will be 7 point favorites as they seek their 3rd straight victory over the Midshipmen and 2nd straight claim at the outright Commander in Chief Trophy that includes all 3 teams in the U.S. Military Academy.
Navy Head Coach Ken Niumatalolo’s tenure in jeopardy
For more than a decade, Ken Niumatalolo has been the man in charge on the Navy sidelines, but that tenure is in serious jeopardy ahead of this weekend’s showdown with Army. The reason is simple, Navy has continued to regress for the 3rd consecutive season and is currently at the lowest point in the Niumatalolo era at 3-9 SU. The Midshipmen lost 7 games in a row this season and have currently lost 8 of their last 9 games. The only victory during that period was a 37-29 victory against Tulsa.
Needless to say, Niumatalolo and this Navy football team need a win to keep the staff intact. Even with a victory, I am not sure if it would save Niumatalolo’s job. However, the Midshipmen have owned this rivalry for the more substantial part of the modern era which includes victories in 14 of the last 16 meetings. Despite the records and direction of each program, both schools nearly mirror the other in style of play with this rugged triple-option attack. Therefore, Navy can swing the pendulum back in their favor with strong defense along with a few pivotal plays on the offensive side of the football.
Army-Navy Total 41 – Lowest of the season for Navy
I mentioned above that Navy just needs a few pivotal plays on the offensive side of the football to spur the upset and that is because the projected scoring is extremely low this Saturday with a total posted at just 41 points. The total is the lowest mark of the year for the Midshipmen and the 2nd lowest total of the season for the Knights. Without question, Army has shown the most consistency on offense this year with quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr and running back Darnell Woolfolk. The two standouts have combined for 1,600 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns to lead the Knights to their 9-2 record.
Still despite Army’s ground success, the Knights are still not a fast striking offense. Just like Navy, both of these teams use misdirection options to counter their talent/size deficits. As a result, scoring can be difficult especially when you have two teams utilizing the exact same strategy which is bound to chew up a lot of game time clock. If you look back at the last 6 meetings, every meeting has been decided by 41 points or less. On average during those 6 meetings, the total points scored were just 33 points. Therefore, the “under” remains a promising play ahead of this Saturday’s game once again especially when you consider Navy’s struggles to score points this season.
Knights defense will be the difference
I believe the under is going to be an excellent play this week primarily because Army’s defense is vastly underrated. The Knights defense has given up just 106 yards per game on the ground this season which is the 12th best mark in the FBS. I expect the Knights will continue to stand strong against this Navy rushing attack and win the overwhelming majority of their possessions this Saturday. Obviously, the Midshipmen will be relentless in their ground efforts, but Army has the toughness to stand strong against the run for all 60 minutes. I am expecting a 24-10 type game with the Knights controlling things primarily with the help of the defense!
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Army -7
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