Army vs. Navy Opening Odds & Early College Football Picks

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 7:43 PM GMT

Good move a few years ago to move this battle to a stage all on its own. Unfortunately, it has not been much of a rivalry for years and the sportsbooks' college football odds suggest this will continue.

Navy was sent out by 5Dimes as -20.5 point favorite and by the end on Sunday night, almost all books' college football odds had the Midshipmen at -22.5. When last checked, about half the wagering outlets both in Nevada and offshore remained at 22.5, with the rest at 23.

On Monday, the total was also sent out and 54 points was the consensus, but that plummeted to 51.5 faster than the Los Angeles Dodgers backing away (at least for now) from signing closer Aroldis Chapman.

For college football picks, what should you look for, consider and think about, well, keep reading.

 

Side Action No Easy Answer
As a football handicapper, I am paid to do research and arrive at answers that will make bettors like you money. In this process is taking years of experience and formulating opinions that need to be cross-checked, to make as certain as possible I have gone over both sides of a game.

For example, it is easy to believe the Midshipmen will pound the Black Knights. Army started the year the season being competitive, at least against the spread. After rather pathetic loss to Fordham (37-35) as 14-point favorites in season lid-lidfter, the Black Knights covered four in a row against Connecticut, Wake Forest, Eastern Michigan and Penn State, with all but the Demon Deacons contest on the road.

The Army return to West Point and took on Duke and were never in the contest losing 44-3, catching +14 points. This started the downward spiral, with only victory coming against Bucknell (21-14 as 26.5-point favorites) and they arrive in this encounter 1-5 and 0-5-1 ATS.

Navy on the other hand is 9-2 and 8-3 ATS and this is the best Middies squad since they went 10-2 in 2004 under former coach Paul Johnson. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds should be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, leading the nation's No.2 rush offense at 330.1 yards a game. The only losses the Navy incurred were against Super Six bowl participants Notre Dame and Houston.

I thoroughly believe coach Ken Niumatalolo's club is better than the one from 11 years ago, not only because of Reynolds' skills, but because they played in what turned out to be a better than expected AAC league this year and its defense held opposing teams 35 percent below their scoring average.

Here is the rub, Navy has knows they are better than Army and with a spread this large, the only real mystery is the final score, not the SU winner. The Black Knights have covered four of the past six engagements and a final score of 38-10 could just as easily happen as 42-21, with Navy winning. If the Middies want to play focused for four quarters, they cover, if not, they might not.

 

Total Looks Like Better Option
Though we have lost value on the college football odds' sinking total, it might be the safer choice for sports picks and here is why.

Since 2006, the Army has averaged 9.7 points per contest against their chief rival. The Black Knights have moved the ball at times fairly well, but once they reach the Navy 30-yard line, it looks a string of ships laid out end to end in a harbor, with Army trying to reach end zone. With this Midshipmen defense having more speed than its more recent predecessors and extremely familiar with their opponents style of offense, unless they are major breakdowns, hard to imagine Army breaking 14 point barrier.

If the Navy is somewhat disinterested, they might not score much until the second half. Otherwise, if they break to say 21-0 lead, they may coast to 35 points for the contest and keep the Army below 14 points.

Either way, definitely see the total moving to 10-0 UNDER the last decade by the conclusion of this encounter.

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