The annual Navy Midshipmen and Army Black Knights matchup to wrap up the regular season of the college football schedule is on Saturday. I’ve had a winning bet on this game nine of the last ten games in the series, so it would be nice to add another win to make it ten. There has been a power shift between Navy and Army recently. This was previously a lopsided series in favor of Navy. The Midshipmen had success in this series and success out of it against other schools as well. In fact, they won fourteen straight against Army before losing the last two.
Keenan Reynolds graduating had something to do with Army getting a leg up. However, Army have beginning to find a winning formula outside of beating the military schools, just like Navy used to enjoy. The Black Knights were a play or two away from beating Oklahoma. Their other loss was in Week 1 to Duke. So, they were close to going into this game with ten wins in a row. Nevertheless, Army enter with a nick mark of 9-2 and will be playing Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl.
On the other side, it’s been a work-in-progress for Navy who have struggled to get much going. There will be no bowl for Navy this season, as their record of 3-9 isn’t going to hold up. Navy are searching for the next Reynolds to pilot their offense, but he is the type of option quarterback that doesn’t come around often.
He smashed numerous records and it might be a while until they are broken again. Zach Abey will conclude his career at Navy, as he gets his second opportunity at Army in his career. Abey was expected into develop into the next great QB at Navy, though he struggled this season and was moved to wide receiver. He’s back at quarterback for the Army game following a decent performance against Tulane last week.
Tulane, a fellow option team, barely edged out Navy by a score of 29-28 in that one. Along with a 35-7 loss to Air Force earlier this season, Navy were held winless against triple-option opponents in 2018. With one more chance, they can get that win against their rival on Saturday afternoon. Head below for our free Navy vs. Army pick in the only college football game on Saturday.
Navy Midshipmen vs. Army Black Knights NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Army -7(-108)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Navy vs. Army Pick:
Let’s go back to September and the Army and Oklahoma game. As 28.5 underdogs, Army took Oklahoma to overtime in one of the closest calls for Oklahoma all season long. Army was able to exploit a porous Sooners’ rush defense, which played right into their obvious strength. While it was obvious what Army were going to do, the Sooners couldn’t stop what Army was doing.
Quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. ran for 102 yards and a score to control the game. The real standouts of the game was the defense. They held Kyler Murray to just 165 yards passing and 71 yards rushing. There aren’t many teams who can say they held him in check. Alabama may be able to join a small group of teams at the end of the month, though.
The defensive side of the ball has been the difference maker for the Black Knights in 2018. Despite having to play the top-rated offense in college football, Army are 11th with just 301 yards allowed per game. They’ve also given up only 18.7 points per game. Army naturally know the offensive scheme of Navy. Expect the Midshipmen to run into a whole lot of issues moving the football in this game. Navy are 104th in the FBS with 361 yards gained per game.
Offensively Army gets the edge in this matchup. There is an even bigger edge defensively between these two programs. Navy are 100th in the nation with 438 yards per game. They’ve allowed Air Force and Tulane, option teams, to move the ball as well.
The Black Knights held Air Force to just 14 points, while Navy allowed 35 in a 35-7 loss. The Midshipmen must find a way to keep the combo of Hopkins Jr. and Darnell Woolfolk. They will moderately, but I don’t think that’s going to be enough given the tough Army defense they’re going to have to navigate against. Navy will be excited, of course, but will that be enough? This game likely is going to be close for a half, though expect Army to pull away for a 30-17 or thereabouts in the final quarter for their third win in a row over Navy.