Virginia Cavaliers (6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS) vs. Navy Midshipmen (6-6 SU, 5-5-2 ATS)
College Football Bowl Season Military Bowl presented by Northrup Grumman
Date and Time: Thursday, December 28th, 2017 1:30 PM ET
Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium Annapolis, MD
by Keith F., Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UVA PK/ NAVY PK
Over/Under Total: 55
The Military Bowl presented by Northrup Grumman serves as a great post-season excursion for service academies. The Navy Midshipmen will be this years participant and as a result it is a virtual home game for the Mids be that it comes from their own perch. The venue is Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland and the game will be broadcasted live on ESPN on Thursday, December 28th, 2017 at 1:30 PM ET. The match-up pits Navy against Virginia, a selection from the ACC. The Hoos and the Mids have not met in 23 years. However, Virginia has won their last five outings against Navy dating back to 1990.
The two teams enter on identical win-loss records and have nearly been mirror reflections against the spread. Navy has two draws against the spread but like Virginia has been a 50/50 proposition across the board. Navy at one point this season was ranked in the top-25 and favored as a choice to play for the American Athletic Conference championship. Navy did so in 2016 but came up short against Temple. Despite finishing with a .500 record, Navy at one point was predicted by some to actually be the Group of Five representative in a New Years Six Bowl Game. The fact remains Navy was a 48-yard field goal away from beating Army in Americas Game on December 9th but sadly for them, the field goal attempt sailed wide. In doing so, Navy was forced to surrender the Commander-In-Chiefs Trophy. It was the first time Army took control of the trophy in 21 years. Navy comes in on a three-game skid.
Virginia comes in off a loss of their own in the Commonwealth Cup when they hosted the annual rivalry contest in Charlottesville. The Cavs were shutout at home and fell to their cross-state rival by a score of 10-0. The Cavaliers also enter off a three-game losing streak like Navy. Along this span it is worth indicating that the Cavaliers were also tasked with facing both Louisville and an undefeated Miami team on the road. Against the Hurricanes in particular, the Hoos had a great showing and could have potentially orchestrated an upset had they not succumb to a few fatal miscues.
Currently in this market, we have seen an enormous lean on UVA reflected in a 3.5 line move downward from the open of this market. Navy opened as a 3.5-point favorite but now the market has been reduced to a Pick-Em. In Over/Under markets, the number has descended by a point to its current junction of 55. We must highlight that 3.5 is a notorious favorite-friendly number because it is designed to draw action on the underdog. The premise is that if the pooch loses by a field goal they still cover. So far, the public has followed suit and scoffed up the points. Some have chased the Cavaliers all the way down to this toss-up market. We must stress that often after a market moves by a point or two at tops, the value is often diminished on the team getting the steam.
Some sportsbooks will give away the Mids at evens if you spot a point with them. This is likely the most advantageous move be that the juice is nullified. The only risk any taker is exposed to is the possibility of a push if the Mids win by one but nevertheless that is still better than an outright loss. Lest us forget, Navy was spotting over a field goal so chances are that one point will not even be in question. The bottom line is this, the location of this bowl is a great asset to Navy in terms of motivation. This will be imperative after losing the biggest game of the year to their program. Virginias 81st ranked rushing defense will not have an answer for the Midshipmen option offense. The match-up dictates the play. Expect Navys nationally ranked (2nd overall) rushing attack (343 yards per game) to run over, under, and through the Cavaliers defense.
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