Offensive Injuries For Navy Gives Edge To Defensive Army Black Knights

Army Black Knights

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 3:10 PM GMT

There’s only one college football game on tap this week, and it’s the annual rivalry Army-Navy matchup in Baltimore. Will Army be able to break through after 14 consecutive losses to Navy? Ross’ College Football Record at SBR: 48-24 ATS.

Army Black Knights Vs. Navy Midshipmen

Army (6-5) and Navy (9-3) will meet for the 117th time on Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. The opening kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. ET, and it will be televised by CBS. Navy is 60-49-7 all-time against Army and that includes winning 14 straight.

The college football betting odds at BookMaker had Navy opening as a 10-point favorite. Nevertheless, at the time of this writing, the spread has come all the way down to 6. Speaking of BookMaker, it is presently offering new customers 50% cash bonuses on all initial deposits of up to $300.

Navy Offense Sustains Huge Blow

Navy's offense entered last Saturday's American Athletic Championship Game feeling pretty good about itself. After all, the Midshipmen were coming off road blowout wins in their previous 2 games by scores of 66-31 over East Carolina, and 76-31 against SMU. Furthermore, they had scored 42 points or more in 6 of its prior 7 games.

Then their worst nightmare occurred in the first half of last week's defeat to Temple. The Middies lost senior quarterback Will Worth and senior slot-back Tonio Gulley to season-ending injuries. Those 2 players combined for 3,130 total yards and 38 touchdowns this season. Worth is especially a huge loss. After taking over late in the first quarter of the season opener as an injury replacement himself, he rushed for 1,196 yards and ran for 25 touchdowns in 2016. The first-year starter also threw for 1,397 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Sophomore Zack Abey will be under center for Navy on Saturday. Abey did a respectable job after entering last week's game, rushing for 70 yards and throwing for 104 more. But make no mistake: there's a dropoff when going from Worth compared to Abey, who will be making his first career start and happens to come in one of college football's biggest rivalry games.

Army's Defense Key To Victory

Army's defense has been outstanding this season. The Black Knights have held opponents to just 19.1 points and 290.3 yards per game. As a matter of fact, Army surrendered 14 points or less in 7 of 12 games this season. Considering Navy is down to a third-string quarterback and slot-back, it's imperative Army's defense has a dominant performance if it hopes to win this annual rivalry game for the first time since 2001.

Strength Of Schedule

Navy has clearly faced a much tougher schedule compared to Army. Playing in the American Athletic Conference against the likes of Houston, Temple, South Florida, and Temple speaks for itself. Not to mention Navy's 28-27 win over Notre Dame. That's the same Notre Dame team that crushed Army 44-6.

Conversely, Army has defeated just 1 FBS team with a winning record this season, and it came in the season opener against eventual AAC champion Temple. Additionally, 2 of Army's 6 wins came over FCS opponents Morgan State and Lafayette.

Final Take & Pick

This is excellent opportunity for Army to end its 14-game losing streak against Navy. The Black Knights have been a double-digit underdog in 9 of their last 13 games against Navy, and that speaks to the recent disparity between these storied programs. This game has a look of a hard-fought and down to the wire type of contest. It's for that reason I'll have a very small lean toward the underdog.

NCAAF Free Pick: Army +6

Best Line Offered: BookMaker

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