Navy Midshipmen (6-5 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Army Black Knights (4-7 SU, 4-7 ATS)
College Football Week 16
Date and Time: Saturday, December 13, 3:00pm EST
Where: M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, MD
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NAV -15/ARM +15
Over/Under Total: 56
This Saturday at 3:00pm, tune into CBS and check out the 115th version of the annual Army/Navy football game. This masterpiece of a contest dates all the way to the year 1890, a year that we saw Navy win the first ever showdown by a score of 24-0. Since that time, we have seen 112 more showdowns with Navy leading the all time series with a record of 58-49-7 over Army. Coming into this season, Navy has won 12 straight against Army, dating all the way back to 2002. For a few years, Army was a play or two away from winning, but last year in 2013, Navy came in and dominated from the start winning the game 34-7 over the Black Knights. Will Army end the drought, or will Navy make the 2014 showdown win number 13 in a row?
Navy opens up as a 15 point favorite, and the total points for the over/under are set at 56 combined. Against the spread this season, Navy is 5-6 while Army is 4-7. This is one of the most storied rivalries in the history of college football, and we all know in these games, anything can happen. The spread of 15 seems rather larger seeing as how neither team has a great record, but the public is obviously pounding Navy due the success of the last 12 showdowns with Army.
Navy is the heavy favorite, and if you base it on recent history, they are rightfully favored. Navy has played a pretty tough schedule this year and if you look really close at it, they have played quite well. The first week of the season, they lost to Ohio State 34-17, but that was much closer than the final score indicated. Not only did they play a final four team (OSU) tough, they also destroyed a very good Georgia Southern team, and played Notre Dame down to the wire also. This Navy team is very dangerous for one reason.. the triple option. The option offense that Navy runs has them ranked 2nd in all of the FBS in rushing yards, averaging over 355 a game on the ground. The passing game of Navy is non existent. Averaging less than 90 yards a game in the air, the Midshipmen are ranked a terrible 127th in the nation. If they get down late and are forced the throw the ball, well that pretty much spells DOOM for Navy. The key to this game for the Midshipmen is to get that option clicking. If they can make big plays and force Army to play from behind early, I can see Navy putting this game away quite early.
Over the years, Army has begun to value the ground attack as much as Navy has. Army ranks 6th in the nation in rushing yards, averaging over 300 a game on the ground. The running game is not quite as good as Navy and their passing offenses are almost identical. Army is ranked 128th in FBS in passing yards. After looking at Army’s 2014 schedule, it is obvious that they are the underdog in this game. Navy had a pretty respected schedule, while Army has played just one game against a ranked opponent (Stanford), they are still just 4-7 on the season. If Army has any desire to end this losing streak, they must play a complete game on both sides of the ball. Slowing down the Navy running game is first and foremost their goal. Not only that, Army needs to make some plays of their own and let Navy be the team playing from behind. Neither team here is primed to make a comeback once they get behind, so the goal is to play ahead and gain the momentum from the start.
As of Tuesday evening, 58% of the action in Vegas was placed on Navy to cover the 15 points. That is not too staggering of a number. It shows that there are a lot of people out there that like Army enough to keep this game somewhat close, or they do not trust a Navy team that is just 6-5 on the season. Against the spread in this match-up, Army has covered three of the last five games. Not only that, but the last six contests have gone under the posted total. I love watching the Army/Navy game, and I am pulling for Army to finally get a win this year, I just do not see that happening. However, with that said, I like Army to make things interesting in the beginning and keep this game close. I predict a 24-14 win for Navy, but a cover for the Army Black Knights.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK THE ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS +15 AND UNDER THE POSTED TOTAL OF 56 POINTS