College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks for Army vs. Navy: 6 Bets for Saturday’s Game

College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks for Army vs. Navy: 6 Bets for Saturday’s Game article feature image

Benjamin Solomon/Getty Images. Pictured: Navy-Marine Corps Stadium in Annapolis, MD.

Army vs. Navy Odds

Saturday, Dec. 11
3 p.m. ET
Army Odds
-110o / -110u
Navy Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

One of the greatest spectacles in all of sports will take place on Saturday when the United States Military Academy takes on the United States Naval Academy in “America’s Game.” With all the great rivalries in college football, Army-Navy is one of the best and certainly worthy of the yearly stand-alone treatment.

After going 20 years without taking home the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, awarded to the season’s winner between the three service academies, Army will retain the trophy for the fourth time in the last five years.

If Army beats Navy on Saturday, it will win the trophy outright for the second year in a row. If Navy wins, then Army and Air Force will share the trophy. It would be the first shared year since 1993.

Both of these teams play an identical triple-option offense that has been a staple at the service academies. They averaged a total of 16 pass attempts per game combined this year, the two fewest pass rates in the country. However, that similar style has yielded very different results this season.

The Black Knights finished the season 8-3, bookending the year with four-game winning streaks to start and finish the season. They finished ranked 25th in Rushing Success Rate and were second in the country with 301.7 rushing yards per game. Army’s 43 rushing touchdowns were the most in the nation.

For Navy, its success was much more fleeting this year. The Midshipmen managed just a 3-8 record this year, a disappointing result after going 3-7 last year. Despite being a team that almost exclusively runs the ball, Navy ranked just 107th in the country in Rushing Success Rate.

Navy was held under 200 rushing yards on five occasions this year, including a dreadful performance against Air Force in which it managed just 36 rushing yards and 68 total yards in a 23-3 loss. The Midshipman ran for only two first downs the entire game.

The beauty of a rivalry game, especially this one, is you can typically throw out the records and the numbers. This will be the 122nd edition of America’s Game, with Navy leading the all-time series, 61-53-7. This game has had an average margin of victory of just 2.8 points.

In the last 10 years, this game has been decided by more than a touchdown just three times, including last year’s 15-0 Army win.

These teams have never been played at MetLife Stadium before, but this game has been previously played four times in East Rutherford, New Jersey, with Navy going 3-1.

Army should have every advantage in this matchup and is in a great position to win its fourth Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in five years. But you can be sure Navy will put up a fight in what is always the perfect way to cap off the college football regular season.

Nothing that happened prior to this weekend matters to these two teams and the cadets. The only thing that matters is who sings second.

Mike Ianniello

How We're Betting Army vs. Navy

Under 35
Under 34.5
Over 34
Over 34.5
Army -7
Army Team Total Over 21
Specific bet recommendations come from the sportsbook offering preferred odds as of writing. Always shop for the best price using our NCAAF Odds page, which automatically surfaces the best lines for every game.

Under 35

By Mike Ianniello

There are very few things in this world you can count on consistently. Death, taxes, and Service Academy unders. America’s Game between Army and Navy is one of the best rivalries in all of the sports, and also one of the most reliable betting principles.

Since 2005, the under in games between Army, Navy and Air Force have gone 40-9-1. That’s an 80% win rate. The under is 2-0 this season, with Army-Air Force finishing at 35 points, in overtime, and Air Force-Navy finishing with 26 points.

The under between Army and Navy has cashed in 15 straight seasons. Let me repeat that: The under is 15-0 between these two teams in the last 15 years.

Need I say more?

Don’t listen to any numbers or stats this week. Ignore them all because they don’t matter. Those stats are all against teams that are not these two Service Academies. This is the ultimate throw-out-the-records rivalry.

When Army played Air Force earlier this year, it managed just 108 rushing yards. When Navy played Air Force, it had just 36 rushing yards and 68 total yards.

All these teams do is run the ball and keep the clock moving, and they know better than anybody how to defend the option. This game last year saw just 279 yards combined between the two, with Army winning 15-0. There is no reason to think this year will be any different.

Look, eventually, this game is probably going to go over the total again. But if you love this country and you believe in anything, you bet the under in a service academy game.

In fact, if you bet the over here, I will report you to the FBI for treason.

These service academies are literally part of the Department of Defense. It is right there in the title. Bet on the defense. Go Defense, Beat Offense!

Pick: Under 35

Under 34.5

By Shawn Burns

Army and Navy take center stage this weekend at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This is the greatest rivalry in all of sports and a game that illustrates all that is right with college football.

Both Army and Navy are top-five in the country in rushing yards per game, and they both run similar run-first offensive systems.

This will be a fast-flowing game with long possessions. Both teams are elite in controlling the clock, and due to their familiarity with each other, explosive plays will be at a minimum.

Army ranks 11th in the country in rushing defense and Navy is 38th, and both are well equipped to defend the triple option.

Neither team played last week, which gives both coaching staffs even more time to scout and search for game tendencies.

When service academies match up, you can always expect low-scoring games. Since 2005, the under has hit 81% of the time and the Army-Navy series has gone under an incredible 15 straight times.

There is a high chance for rain and windy conditions, which will affect the few passing opportunities attempted between these teams. This year’s total is extremely low at 34.5 points, and it won’t take much for this game to go over. But I’m not about to go against a trend that has hit 15 consecutive times.

Expect another game dominated by both defenses.

Pick: Under 34.5

Over 34

By Kody Malstrom

I told myself I was going to take the over as soon as it hit 34.5. I chickened out. Taking a service academy over is a recipe for disaster, so I stayed away — until I saw a 34 dangling in the market. Now I'm invested. Great.

Currently on a 15-game under streak, we are bound to hit an over eventually, especially since the total keeps getting lower.

The style of play is no different, as both teams rely on the run-heavy triple-option offense. That’s not friendly to the over with time constantly ticking off the clock and defenses familiar with this style of play forcing in three-and-outs.

Yet, this year seems different.

For example, Army sneakily had one of the best offensive performances in the nation this year. Averaging nearly 400 yards per game, this is one of the most efficient rushing offenses in seasons past. It ended the season with 4.7 yards per rush as a team and a total of 43 touchdowns on the ground.

Not only were the Black Knights your typical run-heavy service academy team, but they also have been “airing it out” this season. That’s really unlocked scoring potential, catching defenses in a lull with only stopping the run on their minds.

When they decided to pass, Army averaged 12.1 yards per pass for a total of 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Nothing crazy, but that versatility will come in handy to sneak some points on the board for such a low total.

In what I assume will be Army in a rout, I will be hoping Navy can contribute to the total as well.

In what is the most prestigious game of the regular season, I will proudly take the over and look to take Army’s team total and spread as well.

Pick: Over 34

Over 34.5

By Kyle Remillard

The Army-Navy rivalry has a strong reputation to be a low-scoring game since both programs run the ball on 86% of offensive snaps. The fact that the last 15 matchups have gone under the total speaks to that belief.

But sportsbooks have adjusted to that common knowledge and have lowered the total in this game to a historically low total of just 34.5.

For reference, if that total was used in the last 15 matchups between these two, the over would have hit in eight of the 15 games.

Army’s offense has been dominant this season, averaging 35 points and nearly 400 yards of total offense this season. It averages 4.7 yards per carry, which ranks 40th in the country.

But in the rare occurrence that Army throws the ball, it’s been the most explosive attack in the country, averaging 12.0 yards per pass attempt. The passing element proved to be the difference when Army defeated Air Force this season, as the Black Knights threw for 214 yards and averaged 16.5 yards per attempt.

Army should be able to produce enough big plays against a Navy defense that has allowed 30 points per game.

Navy’s offense averaged just 20 points per game and 3.9 yards per carry this season. But the offense faced the sixth-toughest strength of schedule this season, according to PFF.

Including this game against Army, the Midshipmen faced 11 opponents that have the potential to be playing in bowl games. This is the last game of the season for them, and with nothing to lose, we could be in store for plenty of trick plays.

I’m taking the over because of the overreaction from sportsbooks in what is the lowest total of the season.

Pick: Over 34.5

Army -7

By BJ Cunningham

There are four very important metrics to look at when handicapping service academy teams:

  • Power Success Rate (how effective teams are converting third or fourth downs from two or fewer yards to go)
  • Offensive Line Yards (how many yards are attributed to the offensive line)
  • Stuff Rate (how many runs are stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage)
  • Rushing Success Rate.

Offensively this season, Army ranks eighth in Power Success Rate, eighth in Stuff Rate Allowed, 44th in Offensive Line Yards, and 26th in Rushing Success Rate.

Navy, defensively, is top-20 in Stuff Rate and Defensive Line Yards but is outside the top 50 in Rushing Success Rate Allowed. Additionally, the Midshipmen also rank 106th in rushing explosiveness allowed, so don’t be surprised if Army breaks off a couple of big runs since it’s 47th in rushing explosiveness.

Navy’s offense has been awful this season, ranking 107th in Rushing Success Rate and 84th in Offensive Line Yards, while Army is top-50 in those four main metrics defensively.

The weather is going to be pretty bad with rain and over 15 mph winds, so we may see fewer than five pass attempts.

I have Army projected at -15.1, so I love the Black Knights to cover against their bitter rival.

Pick: Army -7

Army Team Total Over 21

By Collin Wilson

These trends with the number of unders in service academy games are eventually going to go on a heavy over streak. Why? Because this under streak started when oddsmakers were posting totals in the 50s.

Oddsmakers have learned to pull out of a spreadsheet calculation and sharpen the total in these head-to-head matchups.

There are way too many factors indicating each team will run their offense and each team will score. Army and Navy are not only top-12 in fourth-down attempts, but they are also top-12 in conversion percentage.

Each team is top-25 in Offense Stuff Rate, controlling the line of scrimmage. Navy ranks 35th in Finishing Drives, while Army sits second in the nation in Finishing Drives. The Black Knights also average 4.4 points every time they cross the 40-yard line.

Yes, these teams are dead last in tempo, but this series still produces 10-to-12 possessions per team with great starting field position.

Last year’s 15-0 game was the worst-case scenario: 25 offensive possessions and only four red-zone trips.

Army’s offensive line with Christian Anderson under center and a dozen running backs will put points on the board.

The Navy offense flipped a switch with that narrow loss to Cincinnati, racking up a win over Tulsa, and scoring 73 points in the last two games against Temple and East Carolina, a bowl team.

Key numbers in this range are 34 and 37. The market has seen heavy over tickets at 34 even with sloppy conditions forecasted. I’d take the over.

The total is dependent on the number of offensive possessions. In this series, typically, there are double-digit possessions, but both offenses are remarkably improved in the trench. We get 25 possessions last year and not the 14 we saw in 2017. Scoring will happen.

While I love the over, love the Army team total even more.

The Navy defense gave up 23 points to Air Force earlier this season and has collectively gotten worse in AAC play. It ranks bottom-15 in Passing Downs Success Rate and outside the top 90 in tackling and Defensive Finishing Drives.

This Navy defense has allowed 33 red-zone scores this season, with 26 of them being touchdowns.

Army’s team total is set at 21 points, so give me five drives past the 40-yard line with that 4.4 point average per scoring attempt and we sail over.

Navy is outside the top 100 in Havoc Allowed, so don’t count out the Black Knights to get a defensive touchdown to help out.

Pick: Army Team Total Over 21

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