Army vs. Navy College Football Picks

Steve Merril

Friday, December 13, 2013 8:37 PM GMT

Army and Navy will closeout the 2013 college football regular season when they play for the 114th time on Saturday. This game will be played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

The current pointspread has Navy listed as a 13-point favorite over Army with a posted total of 54 to 54.5 depending on what sportsbook you shop at.

This series has been dominated by Navy over the last decade as the Midshipmen have won 11 straight meetings. Navy also holds a 57-49-7 all-time series lead over Army.

Army comes into this game at 3-8 SU and 4-7 ATS. The Black Knights have some uncertainty at the quarterback position as starter Angel Santiago was replaced by A.J. Schurr in the second half in their last game against Hawaii and led the team on 5 touchdown drives. Head coach Rich Ellerson has been quiet about who will start this game. He simply said: “That’s why I close practice.”

The Black Knights own the #1 rushing attack in the country based on their 329 yards per game. They run the ball 80.1% of the time and they average 60.6 rushes per game while gaining 5.4 yards per rush. Army has no passing game whatsoever as they only average 5.8 yards per pass attempt.

Navy’s defense has not been that good this season. The Midshipmen are giving up 29.7 points and 428 yards of offense per game. They’ve been vulnerable against the run as well as they are giving up 192 yards per game on the ground with opponents averaging 4.7 yards per rush. The Midshipmen have played an extremely weak schedule so it’s not like those poor defensive numbers have come against good teams.

Army’s defense has been poor as well. The Black Knights are allowing 33.3 points and 428.7 yards of offense per game. Army gives up an ugly 6.7 yards per play which ranks them #115 in the country.They are also poor against the run as opponents average 203.8 yards per game on the ground while gaining 5.2 yards per rush.

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The Midshipmen also have a powerful running game that runs the ball 81.2% of the time. Navy averages 319 rushing yards per game which ranks them #3 in the country. They average 58.8 rushes per game while gaining 5.4 yards per rush attempt.

Both teams can run the ball and neither team defends the run well at all. That’s a typical match-up between the service academies, and it makes these games difficult to handicap based on their statistical profiles. So we have to look at the intangibles in order to find an edge, and there are a few that favor Army in this game.

Navy has already won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy so the result of this game has no bearing on that coveted accomplishment. Navy is also bowl bound as they’ve already accepted an invitation to play Middle TennesseeState in the Armed Forces Bowl in Texas, a hot bed recruiting state for Navy.

Army head coach Rich Ellerson may be coaching his last game as rumors have circulated that he will be let go after this game. Ellerson is well-liked by his players, and an upset win over Navy in this game would be the best way his players could honor him. The Black Knights also have an unknown commodity to Navy in QB Schurr as they have no film on him except the second half of the Hawaii game. The team scored 35 points with Schurr under center and he actually completed 5 passes for 122 yards.

In rivalry games like this, we can just toss the records out. Navy is the better team on paper with the better statistics. But the intangibles greatly favor Army, and with an 11-year losing streak hanging over their heads, we’ll take the big points with the Black Knights as they play this game with purpose for themselves and their coach. Add Army to your college football picks.

Play ARMY (+).