Army vs Troy Odds, Picks: Avoid the Spread in This Affair

Army vs Troy Odds, Picks: Avoid the Spread in This Affair article feature image

Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Cameron Jones (10) and his Army Black Knights teammates.

Army vs Troy Odds

Saturday, Nov. 12
3:30 p.m. ET
NFL Network
Army Odds
-110o / -110u
Troy Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Army heads to Troy to take on their fourth Sun Belt opponent. The Black Knights are fresh off of a defeat at the hands of Air Force in which they relinquished the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. They’ll need to win out to make a bowl game.

Troy is sitting pretty with a 7-2 record; they ride a six-game winning streak that has seen them take a firm grasp of the top of the Sun Belt West standings.

This will be Army’s fourth game away from home; they are 0-3 so far in games not played in scenic Michie Stadium on the Hudson River. They’ll have to take that record against Troy’s unblemished 4-0 home mark.

Should you back the home favorites here, and lay the 9 points? Can either team be trusted to cover a spread over a touchdown in a game that promises to be slow and low-scoring? Or can we find another play? Let’s look at the matchup.

Army Black Knights

2022 has been a disappointing season for head coach Jeff Monken and his Army Black Knights. The defense has been poor all year, and numerous injuries have slowed down the triple option offense.

But they can salvage the season with a bowl trip, which they will need to win out to achieve; that recipe would include a win over Navy, and we know how much winning that rivalry game can heal all wounds.

The offense has been struggling with injuries. When healthy, Monken used a two-quarterback rotation of Cade Ballard, the better passer, with Tyhier Tyler, the better runner and a veteran leader. Ballard hasn’t played in weeks with an injury, and Tyler returned from his own injury and was ineffective against Air Force.

The Knights have very little in the way of a perimeter rushing attack without slotback Tyrell Robinson, who has not played since Week 6.

They rely on their fullbacks and quarterbacks to run the ball, and this attack was shut down by Air Force. Army was held to under 100 yards rushing for the first time in Monken’s nine seasons at the helm in West Point.

Defensively, the Knights have been vulnerable all season. It’s tough to have a quality defense at a service academy, but this year’s stop unit is particularly poor. They rank 106th in defensive SP+ and have given up an average of 31 points to the three Sun Belt teams they have already faced.

They are solid at preventing explosive plays, ranking 25th and stopping long rushes and 50th in preventing such passes. But you can move the ball at will on Army, as they are in the bottom 100 of FBS in both rushing and passing success rate, and they create very little Havoc (129th).

There are a few crumbs of good news for Army’s defense in this matchup. Firstly, Troy’s offense isn’t very good at all.

Secondly, defensive end Andre Carter returned from injury last week, and he showed why he is projected as a first-round pick in an excellent performance on the edge. He could be a factor against a Troy team that calls a lot of pass plays, despite not being very good at it.

Lastly, Army’s defense has been solid at “bend-don’t-break” defense. In Parker Fleming’s ECKEL metric, Army is 26th in points allowed per ECKEL (scoring opportunity).

Troy’s offense is only 80th in the country in points scored per ECKEL. Turn a few drives into field goals instead of touchdowns, and you can keep the game closer.

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Troy Trojans

The Trojans are enjoying an incredible season in 2022.

They have the inside track to win the Sun Belt West for the first time in their new digs — remember, they slid over from the deeper East division this offseason in the conference’s expansion.

Troy’s foundation is built on an excellent defense. They rank 12th overall in SP+ on that side of the ball. They haven’t allowed a team to score 20 points since WKU did it on Oct. 1.

They are stronger against the pass than the rush, but they will be able to commit more numbers to stopping the run against an Army team that cannot pass the ball. Troy ranks 14th in Early Downs EPA, and will be able to get a slumping Army offense into third-and-long situations that it can not convert.

Troy’s offense has not been very good this season. They have alternated at quarterback between Gunnar Watson and Jarret Doege, sometimes due to injury but also due to ineffective play. Watson was the only one to take snaps in the last game, a 24-17 comeback win against Louisiana.

The good news is that their defense has been so stout, and Army’s defense is so porous that Troy won’t need to score frequently to get a win.

Even Troy will be able to create some scoring opportunities against a defense that is 119th in EPA/Pass and 121st in EPA/Rush.

Army vs Troy Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Army and Troy match up statistically:

Army Offense vs. Troy Defense
Rush Success2283
Line Yards846
Pass Success12540
Pass Blocking**12662
Finishing Drives2822
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Troy Offense vs. Army Defense
Rush Success111130
Line Yards62129
Pass Success65110
Pass Blocking**2689
Finishing Drives11979
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling74100
PFF Coverage7310
SP+ Special Teams6318
Seconds per Play30.1 (127)27.8 (95)
Rush Rate84.6% (2)50.4% (85)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Army vs Troy Betting Pick

I expect Troy to play this close to the vest, stack the box against the misfiring triple-option offense and win a low-scoring game.

Army doesn’t have the perimeter weapons to attack defenses the way they like, and their quarterback rotation is unstable right now.

While a better offense might expose Army’s struggling defense, Troy won’t light up the scoreboard. But they will do enough to win in a game where both teams play at a deliberate pace.

I would take Troy to cover at a more favorable number, but let’s avoid the spread and take the under. Even a score of Troy winning, say, 21-13 gets us under the number by a comfortable margin.

Pick: Under 46.5 ⋅ Play to 45

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