The Army Black Knights have not beaten the Navy Midshipmen since 2001. If West Point is to finally get a victory over Annapolis in this fabled college football rivalry, it must be able to finish drives and hit the big plays that have not been made over the past 11 seasons. That’s the “easy to say but hard to do” formula for Army as it prepares to meet Navy yet again.
Army Black Knights vs Navy Midshipmen
Saturday, December 14th – 3:30 PM ET
Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
Odds: Navy -10.5
Why The Black Knights Can Cover The Spread:
Their losses to Navy haven’t generally been close, at least not in recent years. It’s not as though Army is getting blown to smithereens by Navy each and every season, or even in most seasons. Over the past five seasons, Army has generally stayed close to Navy deep into the third quarter or even the fourth as well. The Black Knights have put themselves in a position to either win or – at the very least – stay within one score of the Midshipmen. However, just when Army is about to complete a big touchdown drive, the Black Knights have generally stumbled. They allow a sack inside the Navy 35. They fumble inside the Navy 15. They fail on fourth down inside the red zone. Just two or three plays have separated Army from Navy in most of the past few games. If the Black Knights can just avoid that really big mistake and instead make a huge play, they can very easily and cover the spread.
One should also point out that this game on Saturday in Philadelphia is expected to be met with snowfall. The conditions could take away the ability of Navy to run its triple-option offense as smoothly and as comfortably as it would like. The weather could really be an equalizer for Army in this game – Navy is a faster and more explosive team, so the presence of snow on the field could make life rough for the Midshipmen.
Why The Midshipmen Can Cover The Spread:
They have the better team. Navy is once again going to a bowl game this season, meaning that since 2003, the Midshipmen have made a bowl in every year except for 2011. This is and has been one of the greatest and most successful periods in Navy football history. Coach Ken Niumatalolo has continued what Paul Johnson started in 2003. This is the proven team, whereas Army is frequently the team that has the potential to do big things but fails in crunch time. Navy certainly deserves a bettor’s trust.
As for the snowy conditions that are expected in Philadelphia, if there is a great accumulation of the white stuff, Navy’s offense knows where it is going, while Army’s defense doesn’t. The presence of snow on the field might actually enable Navy to flourish due to the fact that it has a more productive and balanced offense than Army by most statistical measurements.
This game comes down to the matchup between Army’s offense and Navy’s defense. The feeling here is that the snow will slow down Navy enough for Army to cover the spread. Bet Navy to win the game outright, though, by a touchdown.
Pick: Army +10.5