Army vs. Navy prediction: College football odds, pick, best bets
Army vs. Navy is among college footballs best traditions.
Played on the last Saturday before bowl season, the Black Knights and the Midshipmen play on a neutral field to decide who earns the Commander-in-Chiefs Trophy.
This year, the game will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., home of the New England Patriots.
This matchup brings more intrigue than usual.
Air Force looked like it would roll to consecutive Commander-in-Chiefs Trophies, sitting at 8-0 and ranked No. 17, entering a Week 10 game against Army.
Somehow, the Knights smashed the Falcons, winning 23-3 after snapping off 17 points in the first quarter. Bryson Daily broke a 62-yard touchdown run on the games opening drive, and Army never looked back.
Army vs. Navy prediction
(3 p.m. ET.)
That loss broke something in Air Forces will, as the Falcons went on to lose their final three regular-season games to finish a lackluster 8-4.
But that doesnt matter Saturday.
What does matter is that Army can claim the Commander-in-Chiefs Trophy outright for the fourth time in the past seven seasons with a win.
If Navy picks up the win as short dogs, the title will be shared among the three teams and Air Force will retain the trophy for another season.
So, with all that said, lets get into the good stuff: Our best bet for Army vs Navy and the final regular-season game of the 2023 college football season.
Army vs Navy odds
Before betting on Army-Navy or any bowl matchup, I highly recommend checking out Collin Wilson and Stuckey on the Big Bets on Campus Podcast.
Heres this weeks edition from Tuesday:
To summarize some of the points made by Stuck:
Over the past two decades, Unders in Service Academy games are 50-10-2. Before last years double-overtime game, the Under had hit in 15 straight Army-Navy games.
But the market has finally adjusted.
24 of the past 30 Army-Navy games have gone over 27.5 with 3 landing right on 27. Market has finally fully adjusted after all of these years
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) December 6, 2023Now that the total is much lower than usual the past five Army-Navy game totals have closed between 32 and 42 Unders are no longer free in this game.
Here are the scores from the past five Army-Navy games:
- 2022: 20-17 Army (Over 32.5)
- 2021: 17-13 Navy (Under 36)
- 2020: 15-0 Army (Under 36)
- 2019: 31-7 Navy (Under 42)
- 2018: 17-10 Army (Under 38.5)
If the market had adjusted correctly, the Over would be 3-2 in these five contests.
So, I think its finally time to buy back on the Over. Stuckey projects the total at 33, giving us a six-point edge over the market.
3Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey presents players with replicas of Paul Revere bowls to welcome them to the state for the Army-Navy game during a news conference at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. on Nov. 29. AP## Army vs. Navy prediction, scheme changes
There are avenues to offense for both squads.
A big part of this handicap is that both squads have moved away from the triple-option attack. These games always stay Under because Service Academies are pros at defending the scheme all these guys do is play against it in practice.
That’s not the case anymore.
Jeff Monkens Knights have moved to a more hybrid-basedattack, tossing in more inside-zone concepts.
However, most of Army’s success has come off-tackle, with 1,500 of the Knights 2,400 rushing yards coming outside the tackle box, and theyve posted a high Rush Success Rate through the A and B gaps.
To be fair, Navys rush defense is elite. Still, the Mids wont be defending against the same old Army triple-option attack, potentially throwing a wrench in the game plan.
And if Army can drop more than 20 points and 250 yards of offense on Air Forces elite defense, the Knights can drop a similar total on Navy.
3Army quarterback Bryson Daily rushes against Air Force. Getty ImagesQuarterback Bryson Daily has been terrific, racking up more than 1,600 total yards with 13 scores.
He and the Knights enter this game on a heater, winning three straight behind better ball security from QB1 Dailys had zero turnover-worthy plays in five wins but nine in six losses.
Plus, if Armys offensive line fails to et a push against Navys front seven, the Knights can generate some big play-action passing plays against a Mids defense that ranks 75th in Pass Explosiveness allowed.
Daily has completed 29 of his 52 play-action attempts this season for 9.1 yards per attempt on a 10.2 average target depth. Hes picked up four touchdowns on three big-time throws.
AIR RAID ARMY!!! Bryson Daily Isaiah Alston 70 yard TD! pic.twitter.com/CJ6tkBFih9
— Video from: @TSV__1 (@TSV__1) September 9, 2023Navy ranks 111th among FBS teams in yards per play-action pass allowed (9.1), so the Mids arent immune to these plays.
Meanwhile, Navy head coach Brian Newberry hired former Kennesaw State offensive coordinator Grant Chestnut in the offseason and he brought some new looks and wrinkles to the Mids. Under Chestnut, they run more traditional rush concepts like Power, pull lead and man-blocking schemes.
Navy hasnt found much success. Still, the Mids now have new looks that a porous Army rush defense (114th in Rush Success Rate allowed, 108th in EPA per Rush allowed) must now prepare for.
3Navy quarterback Tai Lavatai is tackled by a defender. APOf more importance, the Mids have created chunk rushing plays, ranking top-30 nationally in Rush Explosiveness.
Thats huge against an Army defense that ranks 116th nationally in Rush Explosiveness allowed, directly tied to poor tackling, as the Knights rank 116th in Pro Football Focuss Tackling grades and 86th in blocked plus missed tackle rate (10.4 perrcent).
With that in mind, watch out for Alex Tecza. Navys lead back has 15 missed tackles forced, more than 350 yards after contact and 15 rushes of 10-plus yards on the year, including nine of 15-plus yards.
NAVY!!! Alex Tecza 75 yards to the house! pic.twitter.com/Bz9Q1ZWJ3V
— Video from: @TSV__1 (@TSV__1) September 14, 2023I think both defenses will be caught off guard for the first time in years, which could lead to a surprisingly high-scoring game.
Army vs. Navy pick
This is not your fathers Army-Navy game.
The market has finally adjusted, and the total is lower than ever.
These squads no longer call triple-option every play, so these defenses can no longer rest on their laurels.
For the first time since 207, Army-Navy went Over in 2022.
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With new offenses and a lower total, this rivalry game should go Over for the second straight year who wouldve thought?!
For what its worth, the total has already dropped five points from the opener as the public continues to hammer Service Academy Unders despite the market adjustment.
I wouldnt be surprised to see more money come in on the Under as we get closer to kickoff, so if you want to wait for an even lower number, feel free.
Army vs. Navy best bet
Over 28 | Play to 29.5 (-110, PointsBet)
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