The tradition continues in D.C., as the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen meet for their yearly clash for the final regular season game of the year. They started playing back in 1890, which resulted in a 24-0 win for Navy. It was the first of many wins for Navy, as they hold a 60-50-7 series advantage over Army. The Midshipmen were on a massive tear since 2002, a 14-game winning streak that extended all the way to 2015.
Army put an end to their fun with a 21-17 win last season. The Black Knights have a solid chance to win two in a row for the first time since 1995-1996. Army won five in a row before Navy started to take a grip and make a comeback. Can the Black Knights reverse the clocks back to the 1990’s and start dominating the series again? They can get a jump on that today.
Army have been playing some of the best football I’ve seen from them in a long time. They may have beat Navy last year, but the Black Knights did not have the team they had this year. Army finished with a record of 8-3, while Navy went 6-5. The tables have turned slightly in 2017. Navy, however, are still the favorites in this matchup.
The Midshipmen are currently 3-point favorites. Despite their records, I expect money to come in on Navy. They are the team that has gone 14-1 in their last fifteen meetings. People have also come to know Navy as a good football team over the last five years. Army? They haven’t caught on just yet. A win today over Navy might give them a nice introduction to the world.
Army and Navy both run the triple-option offense. A lot of action on the ground, with a little of the air game mixed in. It’s old school football. Not much has changed between these two schools in that regard. Head coach Ken Niumatalolo has done a tremendous job putting Navy football on the map. Since taking over in 2008 as the fulltime head coach, Niumatalolo has just one losing season at Navy. It includes four bowl wins as well.
Niumatalolo has always done well in recruiting a quality quarterback to pilot the offense. Keenan Reynolds was the most recent superstar to come through the Naval Academy. Zach Abey hopes to eventually come close to what Reynolds accomplished. Army counters with Ahmad Bradshaw, who has been an absolute menace rushing the ball in the triple-option. Head below for our free Army vs. Navy pick on Saturday afternoon.
Army Black Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen Betting Odds:
vs. Navy -3(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Army vs. Navy Pick:
Army have been a pest to deal with for opposing teams. It wasn’t really the most difficult schedule for the Black Knights, though. Don’t get me wrong, it was an amazing year for them. However, their best win this season came against Duke. Their next best are Temple and Eastern Michigan. I do give them credit for going to Columbus and not getting totally dismantled. They lost to the Buckeyes 38-7 but it could have been worst. Whether that was because Urban Meyer didn’t want to embarrass a service academy, or Army came to play, we’ll give them a nod of approval for covering the spread.
Bradshaw doesn’t have much of a vertical game at quarterback. That goes for almost every triple-option school, but just a little bit of ability to pass the ball helps out immensely. Bradshaw has rushed for 1,472 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. However, his ability to throw the ball is extremely limited. He’s passed for just 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions on the season. Their ability to run the football, of course, is outstanding. They’ve averaged 368.1 yards per game rushing, that’s 1st in college football. Behind them is, you guessed it, the Navy Midshipmen. Navy have averaged 347.5 yards per game. Abey can throw the ball around a bit. He’s thrown 7 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, so there is room for improvement. Nevertheless, for a triple-option quarterback, 7 touchdowns is nothing to sneeze at.
These have notoriously been low-scoring contests. The UNDER has gone a whopping 10-0 in their last ten games, and 13-3 in their last sixteen meetings. They’ve averaged 34.8 points per game combined across their last five games. Yes, these offenses bleed up clock on the road. It’s one reason why they keep playing in these low-scoring contests. The main reason, though, is that Army and Navy have a ton of time to prepare for one another. Additionally, they run identical offenses. Running a scout team for the defenses in practices is easy as they come. They’ve seen everything, their own offense is doing the same thing. It’s hard to go against the UNDER trend here. I always play light in this game, it’s more of a recreational bet. In any event, a 23-20 or 24-17 game looks about right.
PICK: UNDER 46 (-115)