Updated Army vs. Navy Odds & Betting Trends: Over/Under Historically Valuable in Service Academy Games

Updated Army vs. Navy Odds & Betting Trends: Over/Under Historically Valuable in Service Academy Games article feature image

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. (8) scores a touchdown against Navy

  • The over/under for Saturday's Army vs. Navy game opened at 44, and like we see almost every time these two teams played, the Under has taken a significant amount of action throughout the week.
  • The updated bettings odds have the over/under at 41 at most shops (some sportsbooks are as low as 40.5).
  • Betting the under has been extremely profitable when two Service Academies play each other, but should you expect the same thing to told true today in Philadelphia?

There’s a good chance the content of this post won’t come as major news to a lot of you. The narrative of over/under value on matchups between service academy teams is no longer much of a secret in the betting community.

But if you’re new to the game or just want a look at the actual historical numbers, read on.

The three schools we’re talking about — Army, Navy and Air Force — all play with a similarly-styled triple-option offensive attack, meaning the ball remains on the ground most of the time they’re in possession. That obviously means the clock doesn’t stop for most of their possessions, either.

That’s going to have an effect on just about any game these teams play, but especially so when it’s against another member of the group. Who better to stop a triple-option offense than a team that practices against it constantly?

Sure enough, since 2005 (the beginning of our Pro Systems database), service academy games have hit the under to the tune of a 34-9-1 (79.1%) record. Here’s the matchup breakdown:

Under Record in Service Academy Games

  • Army vs. Navy: 13-1-0 (92.9%)
  • Army vs. Air Force: 10-4-1 (71.4%)
  • Navy vs. Air Force: 11-4-0 (73.3%)

As you can see, the Army-Navy matchup has been the best of the bunch, though the other records are more than respectable themselves. You may also be interested to know that the one blemish on the Army-Navy record came back in 2005, so this matchup is currently riding a 13-game under streak.

The question of whether to bet this weekend’s under, however, isn’t necessarily a simple one. As I mentioned above, this narrative is no longer a secret in the betting community, and it’s definitely not a a secret to oddsmakers.

In each of the past four seasons, the Army-Navy total has closed at a smaller number than the season prior, seeing an overall drop from 55.5 in 2014 to just 38.5 last year. Saturday’s number sits at 40.5 at most books, so it could end that streak if we don’t see some more movement — it opened around 44/45 at the earliest books to market.

One thing to be aware of if you are thinking about attacking this total: Navy’s much-improved offense. The Midshipmen rank 11th in the country in yards per play — up from 101st last season.

You can, however, still count on the clock to be moving for much of this game. Army and Navy rank 128th and 130th (last), respectively, in pass attempts per game, and I’ll bet you can guess which school is No. 129.

As of an hour before kickoff on Saturday, this total is drawing a majority of bettors to the over at 64%. The money distribution is showing the same thing: 68% of the loot is on the over.

Obviously, much can change over the course of the three days remaining until this game kicks off, and you can track lines and bet percentages the whole way with The Action Network App.

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