CFB Picks 12/14: Army vs. Navy
One of the oldest rivalries in sport takes place on Saturday when Army and Navy face off at Lincoln Financial Field.
Army is the two-time defending Commander-in-Chief Trophy winner, but will be on the outside looking in after suffering a loss to Air Force earlier this season.
Instead, Navy will have a chance to reclaim the prestigious trophy for the first time since 2015 with a win over the Black Knights.
- Army has covered the spread in each of the last four games against AP-ranked teams.
- Army has a 3-1-1 ATS record against Navy at Lincoln Financial Field since 2012.
- The Army/Navy total has gone UNDER in each of the last five meetings between these teams. Stats courtesy of Statschecker.
The Army/Navy rivalry dates back as far as 1890.
Historically, Navy has owned this series with a 60-52-7 competitive edge over Army - including a 14-game winning streak from 2002-15 which is the longest in the rivalry’s history.
However, the Black Knights has taken the advantage back by winning each of the last three matchups and back-to-back Commander-in-Chief’s trophies.
This season, Army began the season on the right foot, winning three of their first four and nearly edging out the once #7 ranked Michigan Wolverines on the road in double overtime, but fell short 24-21.
However, the Black Knights have struggled to finish out, losing six of the last eight games - including five in a row.
Army’s struggles can be attributed to a few different areas, but mainly from the inconsistency at the quarterback position between senior Kelvin Hopkins Jr. and sophomore Jabari Laws.
Hopkins Jr. led the Black Knights to the Command-in-Chief’s trophy last season, but has struggled with turnovers in his senior campaign. Laws filled in during the team’s losing streak and played well at both running and throwing the ball before suffering an injury against Air Force.
Laws is now back to full health for the Black Knights, but I’d expect a two quarterback system between both experienced dual threat quarterbacks.
Meanwhile, #23 Navy (9-2) has had a successful season and locked up a spot in the Liberty Bowl against Kansas State.
The Midshipman ended the season on a high note with a two-game winning streak, defeating #25 SMU 35-28 and outlasting Houston on the road 56-41.
Navy has the 11th best scoring offense in the FBS, led by senior quarterback Malcolm Perry who ranks sixth in the nation with 1,500 rushing yards and nine touchdowns this season.
The senior has also thrown the ball well, completing 43-of-79 for 1,027 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
My pick is the Army Black Knights to cover the spread (+10), and I’m taking Under Total of 40.5 points.
The final result of the Army/Navy game has been decided by more than 10 points just once in the last eight meetings.
Although Army has struggled this season, the experience on the Black Knights roster should be enough to keep this game close throughout.
For anyone new to this rivalry, there will be a heavy dose of the triple-option for both sides.
Navy ranks best in the FBS in rushing yards per game (360.8 rypg), and Army sits right behind in second with a 311.7 rypg average. Expect a constantly running clock that will work in favor of the under.
Neither team has scored over 21 points since 2013, and my expectation is that trend will continue on Saturday which should comfortably result in the UNDER total of 40.5 points.