Army faces Navy on Saturday (12/9/23) in the 124th meeting of one of the most storied rivalries in college football history. Find the latest betting odds for this game and a full matchup preview in this article. In addition, find our Army vs. Navy best bet, which is Navy +3.
Army Black Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen Prediction
While Army and Navy have a storied rivalry, this will be the first meeting between the two programs taking place in Foxborough, Massachusetts. While weather is expected to be a significant factor in some NFL games this week, the forecast in Foxborough calls for clear skies and light wind on Saturday for this meeting between service academy teams.
Army has the opportunity to win the Commander In Chief’s Trophy for the first time since 2020 after upsetting Air Force earlier this season, but I’m looking to back Navy as an underdog of 3 points. The Midshipmen lost 17-6 to Air Force, and I believe these teams’ results against that common opponent are buying us value on the spread.
Navy has the better run defense in this game by a significant margin. The Midshipmen rank third in rushing EPA/play allowed, while the Black Knights rank 108th. Army also ranks bottom ten in rushing success rate allowed, defensive line yards and tackles for loss. Army has had one of the worst run defenses in the country this season, and that’s a problem against Navy, who runs the ball on just under 84% of their plays.
Navy ranks an impressive 38th in points per drive allowed, but they’ve been vulnerable against the pass. That’s hardly an issue in this game, though, as Bryson Daily is completing just 50% of his passes. Daily’s 42.3 PFF passing grade ranks 161st out of 163 qualified FBS passers this season per PFF.
Navy leads the all-time series 62-54-7, but they find themselves as underdogs in this game. While previous matchups may not have a ton of bearing on this year’s meeting, I do like the value of Navy catching the full 3 points as the underdog in a game with a 27.5-point total. Let’s back the Midshipmen to finish with six wins in their first year with Brian Newberry as head coach.
Army vs. Navy Prediction: Navy +3
Army vs. Navy Best Odds
The under in service academy games is a blistering 50-10-2 (83.3%) since 2003, according to our friends at Action Labs, as the teams’ slow pace and triple option offenses lead to low totals. However, this would be the lowest closing total over the last 20 years. It would also be the third-lowest recorded college football total of all time. Are you brave enough to back the over with the books catching onto the highly profitable trend?
Army vs. Navy Key Matchups
We know the deal with service academies – it’s all about the run in their triple option schemes. Let’s break down some of the key matchups in this game with an emphasis on each team’s leading rusher.
Bryson Daily vs. Navy’s Run Defense
Quarterback Bryson Daily has been Army’s leading rusher this season with 188 attempts for 817 yards and seven touchdowns. He hasn’t been highly efficient, with just 4.3 YPC, but he’s been on fire lately with 80+ yards in all three games to close out the season. His best game of the year came in the upset win over Air Force, where he finished with 36 carries for 170 yards and two scores.
Daily faces a tough matchup in this game, as Navy has stifled opposing run games all season. The Midshipmen rank second in rushing EPA/play allowed and have allowed just 125.7 rushing yards per game, which ranks 30th in the country. I don’t expect massive production from Army’s run game on Saturday.
— CBS Sports College Football 🏈 (@CBSSportsCFB) November 4, 2023
Alex Tecza vs. Army’s Run Defense
Navy has had a bit of a revolving door at quarterback this season, but the one constant has been fullback Alex Tecza, who leads the team with 117 rushing attempts for 724 yards and five touchdowns. Regardless of who’s under center for the Midshipmen this week, you can expect a heavy dose of Tecza on the ground.
Army has somewhat surprisingly struggled to defend the run all season. They’ve allowed 188.8 rushing yards per game, which ranks 120th in the country, and they’re ranked 121st in run defense success rate. If Army wants to lift the Commander In Chief’s trophy, they’ll have to find a way to contain Tecza and the rest of the Navy run game.
NAVY!!! Alex Tecza 75 yards to the house! 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Bz9Q1ZWJ3V
— Video from: @TSV__1 (@TSV__1) September 14, 2023