The Midshipmen of Navy shoot to extend their recent dominance over their biggest rivals when they play against Army Saturday afternoon in Philadelphia (3 pm ET, CBS). The winner of this game, whether it's the bowl-bound Middies or the disappointing Cadets, will claim the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy, as both have beaten Air Force earlier this season.
In the early betting on this game, most online sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com opened the Middies as favorites of around -9, but quickly dropped that line to -7. Navy has won 10 in a row vs Army and has been a profitable 7-3 ATS in those games.
Hopes were high at West Point coming into this season, with 15 returning starters. Instead, Army lost its first four games, including one to FCS Stony Brook. The Cadets then beat Boston College, but lost their next three. They then knocked off Air Force 41-21, but have lost their last two. Their last time out, two weeks ago, the Knights got blitzed for 63 points in losing to Temple.
On the season Army led the country in rushing at 370 YPG, but defensively gave up 439 total YPG and 238 YPG on the ground.
Navy, meanwhile, had 13 starters back this season from a 5-7 team, and figured to have a decent chance to get back to a bowl. And that's exactly what the Middies have done. Navy started slowly, though, with just one win through its first four games. But since then, the Middies have won six of their last seven games, beating Air Force 28-21 in overtime back in October and falling only at Troy three weeks ago. Last time out, Navy beat Texas State, 21-10.
For the season the Middies averaged 286 YPG rushing, and gave up 161 YPG on the ground.
Navy will play one more game this season, against Arizona State in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco Dec. 29.
Navy has beaten Army 10 times in a row. Last year the Knights came as close as they have in those last 10 games to beating the Middies, rallying from down 14-0 to forge a 21-21 tie in the third quarter before succumbing 27-21.
Navy will be preparing for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (against Arizona State) and will have even more motivation than Army, which slinks into another offseason.
Pick: Navy -7 (courtesy of PickShark.com)
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