Army vs. Navy: Series Trend Points to 'Under' as the College Football Pick

Willie Bee

Tuesday, December 8, 2015 7:41 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015 7:41 PM GMT

Favored by more than three touchdowns on the college football odds, the Navy Midshipmen take aim at their 14th-straight win in the rivalry against the Army Black Knights.

So, you thought college football's regular season was over, did you? It's true, the bowl season is upon us, but first there is one more regular season game to be played at the FBS level when the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen go head-to-head for the 115th time in the great rivalry.

Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is the site for the 3 PM (ET) kickoff that CBS will broadcast. It might be worth tuning in just to check out the helmets Navy will wear, each one hand-painted with depictions of seven different style ships in the US Naval fleet.

The college football odds suggest that might be the most exciting part of the contest; the Midshipmen were released as 20½ point favorites at BetOnline, that spread now up to 22 at that sports book with some shops kicking it up to 23 as of Tuesday afternoon. College football bettors interested in playing the total are looking at 51½ to 52 depending where they play.

This series dates all the way back to 1890 when Navy posted a 24-0 shutout over Army on its own field in West Point. Army evened the rivalry one year later in Annapolis, and though there were several short streaks by one side or the other, the series remained pretty tight until 2001 when the Black Knights held a 49-46-7 advantage.

Navy has won all 13 matchups since then, though the squads have split against the spread the last 10 years. The Midshipmen ran their streak to 13 wins a year ago in Baltimore, but failed to cover the 16½ point spread in the 17-10 decision that fell well short of a 55½ point total, the 9th-straight 'under' winner in the rivalry.

 

Knights Should Have Top 2 QB's On Field Saturday
It's been a long season for Jeff Monken and Army (2-9 straight up, 4-6-1 against the spread), the Black Knights destined to sit at home to watch bowl games for a fifth consecutive campaign. They did at least get off to a good start at the window by covering four of their first five contests, but the closest the Black Knights have come since then was a push on a 7 point line in a 38-31 defeat at Rice in October.

Monken's running attack has been tough to stop, Army eighth nationally averaging 254 yards a contest on the ground. But that hasn't translated into many points (22.5 ppg, 106th), and the Knights are near the bottom of the country in turnover margin (-8).

Army will be taking the field for the first time in three weeks, and that extra rest has allowed the Black Knights to heal a few key injuries. Both of their top two quarterbacks, A.J. Schurr and Ahmad Bradshaw, missed the loss to Rutgers before Thanksgiving and are listed as probable for this week, as is safety Rhyan England who is third on the team in tackles.

 

Don't Expect Navy To Make Mistakes
Ken Niumatalolo also has the Navy (9-2 SU, 8-3 ATS) ground game in high gear, the Midshipmen second only to Georgia Southern running for 330 yards per game. But unlike Army, Navy has been able to score (27.5 ppg, 17th) and are third in the country with 14 more takeaways that giveaways, the Midshipmen's seven total turnovers ranking as the fewest.

The only two defeats came at Notre Dame and Houston, Navy missing out on an AAC Championship Game in the loss to the Cougars two weeks ago. A win Saturday would give the Midshipmen their first 10-win season since 2009, and they'll have a chance to earn the program's first 11-win campaign in a little more than two weeks when Navy hosts Pittsburgh in the Military Bowl.

We should have pretty good weather for the mid-afternoon kickoff in Philly, the thermometer in the low-60s under partly cloudy skies. For my free college football pick, the 'under' run in the series is just too hard to ignore.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 52 at TheGreek

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2830522, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1096,93,19,92,238], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

comment here