Week 15 of the 2012 college football season features just one game, the final regular season game of the year before the plethora of bowl games begins next weekend. The 113th meeting of the United States Military Academy Black Knights (2-9) and the United States Naval Academy Midshipmen (7-4) from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA takes place this Saturday afternoon (3:00pm ET). Army is 3-8 ATS this season, and the Black Knights have failed to cover in five of their last six games, including a 63-32 loss to Temple in their last game on November 17 as a 3.5 point favorite. Navy is 4-7 ATs this season, and has failed to cover in four of their last five games, including a 21-10 win over Texas St. also on November 17, in which they were favored by 13 points.
The Navy offense ranks 84th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 25.5 points per game and 67th in total offense with 395.9 yards per game. Their strength, as it always is offensively, is the running game which averages 286.4 YPG utilizing the triple option, to rank 6th in the country in rushing offense. Defensively the Midshipmen rank 36th nationally in scoring defense with 23.5 PPG allowed and 54th in total defense with 386.3 YPG allowed.
Army has averaged 25.3 PPG on offense to rank 85th in the nation in scoring, and 437.9 YPG of total offense to rank 41st nationally in that category. As is the case with their rivals from the Naval Academy, Army is a strong running team that utilizes the triple option, ranking 1st in the country in rushing offense with 369.8 YPG on the ground. The Black Knights rank a dismal 112th (out of 120 FBS teams) in the nation in scoring defense with 37 PPG allowed; and rank 91st in the country in total defense with 439.2 YPG allowed.
Navy vs. Army Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Navy Midshipmen -7
@ Army Black Knights +7
Over 56.5 (-110)
Under 56.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Navy vs. Army Pick:
Navy has a 68-32 record ATS in their last 100 road games, but they are 205 ATS in their last 7 games following a bye week and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. Army is 8-20-1 ATS in their last 29 games against winning teams, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall and 1-10 ATS in their last 11 home games against winning teams. The under is 5-0 in Navy’s last 5 December games, 8-1 in their last 9 games against losing teams and 11-3 in their last 14 games overall. The under is 7-0 in Army’s last 7 December games, 11-2 in their last 13 games following a bye week and 20-8 in their last 28 home games. In head-to-head play, the under is 6-0 in the last 6 meetings at Army, 6-0 in the last 6 meetings overall, and the Midshipmen are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings with the Black Knights.
The Black Knights have not defeated their arch rivals since 2001, a whopping ten game winning streak for the Midshipmen. The Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy is at stake for the first time since 2005 in this game as both teams have defeated the Air Force Academy, and the importance of this honor to both teams is significant. Neither team has been a good bet against the spread this season, particularly at the end of the regular season; therefore despite Navy’s superior record and dominance in the series the Midshipmen are not a good bet against the spread here. The play here is the over/under, and the trend in this series and with these teams in general overwhelmingly favors the under. With two triple option-oriented offenses, the clock will keep moving and the score should be relatively low. These teams always compete fiercely and do not give up when playing from behind, so expect that to happen in this game as well. Take the under in what should be a close game in spite of what the records reflect.
PICK = Under 56.5