Home Ship Advantage Helps Navy Over Virginia in Military Bowl

military bowl

Willie Bee

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 8:04 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 8:04 PM GMT

Virginia and Navy both started strong and finished poorly with 6-6 records, and their Dec. 28 Military Bowl matchup is nearly a pick ‘em on the NCAA football odds.

NCAAF Season Record: 41-48-6 (-8.30)

Free NCAAF Pick: Navy +1Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Virginia Cavaliers at Navy Midshipmen

The first question that begs to be asked regarding this year’s Military Bowl is just how much of an advantage will the Navy Midshipmen have playing on their home field in Annapolis against the Virginia Cavaliers? According to SBR’s top sportsbooks, the answer is Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium will provide little if no edge at all when the squads get underway on Dec. 28 at 1:30 PM (ET).

Well, sort of. The game is currently listed as a pick ‘em, some outlets selling Virginia -1, meaning a true neutral site would likely make the Cavaliers 3-4 point favorites. Scoreboard bettors are being offered 55-55½ for the total.

Cavs Seeking 1st Bowl Win In 12 Years

It is the 6th straight bowl trip for Navy and eighth under head coach Ken Niumatalolo, the Midshipmen winning four of their last six postseason matchups and covering the last four. A hot 5-0 start to 2017 campaign fizzled big with six setbacks in the last seven games. Their only win in that stretch was a 43-40 decision vs. SMU that featured all of one pass attempt – which was intercepted – for the Middies. This year’s option attack featured two quarterbacks, Zach Abey and Malcolm Perry, rushing for more than 1,000 yards each and combining to pass for exactly 1,000 yards.

In contrast, Kurt Benkert more than tripled that amount of yards through the air as the senior directed Virginia to a bowl appearance. Like Navy, the Cavaliers slumped badly in the last half of the campaign with five losses in their final six games, covering the NCAA football odds just twice in that stretch. Virginia is making its first bowl trip since losing the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl to Auburn, and the Cavaliers haven’t won a postseason tilt since beating Minnesota in the 2005 Music City Bowl.

Series History, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

This was a fairly regular matchup before the series fizzled out more than 23 years ago. The 40th clash is also the first in a bowl game. Navy holds a 28-11 lead dating to 1889 when neither side listed an official coach, Virginia cutting into that advantage by winning the last five matchups (1990-94). That 5-year stretch came with some notoriously bad Midshipmen sides that made the Cavaliers favorites of at least 20 points in each game.

The long-range forecast mentions a possibility of snow and/or rain for Dec. 28, so get an update before laying your money down. The Midshipmen were a much stronger team when they hosted Pitt in this bowl two years ago, romping to a 44-28 decision. It won’t be that easy this time, but I’m still sailing with them for my free college football pick.

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