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Army vs. Navy

Betting Line: Navy -8 o/u 53.5

12/9/10

 

You thought college football season was over, didn't you? Not quite yet! We still have the Army v Navy game before Bowl season starts. These two service academies have played every year uninterrupted since 1930. The first meeting was a big 24-0 win for Navy all the way back in 1890. Needless to say this is one of the most enduring and respected rivalries in all of college football. The Midshipmen lead the all time series 54-49-7. Last years meeting saw Navy win 17-3. Both teams enter this game with a Bowl already scheduled in the following weeks. Let's take a look at who will come out on top!

This game opened Navy -7 and early action has pushed that number to Navy -8. This isn't surprising as they boast a better record at 8-4 and have fared very well in this game. Navy is averaging 31.0 PPG while giving up 22.8 PPG. Army is putting up 28.5 PPG and allowing 24.6 PPG. Both teams have rushing attacks with the Black Knights averaging 260.3 yards per game compared to 302.5 for the Midshipmen.

The Midshipmen are winners of 3 of their last 4 over Arkansas State, Central Michigan, East Carolina and Notre Dame. Army comes into this game with a 2-2 record in their last 4 and a 6-5 record overall. Their last win came against a weak MAC team in Kent State. Neither team has any significant injuries heading into this event. They have similar ATS records with Navy coming in at 6-4 compared to 5-5 for Army.

Navy's offense is led by the prolific QB Ricky Dobbs. The 6-1 senior has put together an excellent campaign in 2010 capped by a 3 TD effort against Notre Dame. He also had 3 TDs against Duke. On the year he owns 1,194 passing yards and 10 TDs to go along with 806 yards and 13 TDs. Dobbs had a 41 yard run against Wake Forest. That combined with 4 total TDs helped his team grab a narrow 28-27 road victory. Junior RB Alexander Teich is also a key cog of the offense. He rushed for 210 yards against Notre Dame and 157 against East Carolina. 

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The Black Knight's have a young offense led by sophomore QB Trent Steelman. He had a big game in Army's win over Duke as he passed for 2 TDs and rushed for another. He looked great in defeat against Temple with 189 total yards and a whopping 5 TDs. Throw in fellow sophomore FB Jared Hassin and Army can really pound the ball. Hassin has 4 100+ rushing yard games in the past 6 games. One of his best efforts of 2001 came when he rushed for 158 yards on 14 carries against VMI. While Army can certainly run we shouldn't expect them to abandon the pass. The same can be said for Navy.

The Army defense has been hot and cold. We expect Ricky Dobbs to give them trouble. Dobbs presents a very unique pass/run threat that this defense isn't used to playing against. They did a good job getting pressure on opposing QBs early in the year, but haven't been able to do so in the last 4 games. Containing Dobbs has to be the top priority for this defense. They also must make an effort to do their part in winning the turnover war. The Black Knights are 5-1 when they get more turnovers than their opponent.

The Navy defense has done an excellent job stopping the run in the latter part of the season. This will be their first real test since giving up 292 rushing yards against Air Force in week 4. Army's offense is a bit inexperienced so we can expect Navy to try forcing them into passing situations. This could be a double edged sword as the young Steelman has had a bit of success passing this year.

By this time of year, the lines tend to be much more accurate. Such is the case here. We have one method we use to come up with a predicted final score. That method has Navy winning, 30-23, which is right on the opening number and also happens to be right on the total of 53. So, you could say the oddsmakers did a good job with this one. That's what happens when there's only one game to worry about.

So, no edge as far as comparing our number to theirs. But we're going to lean towards Navy here. Navy has played better, against a stronger schedule. They beat Notre Dame, whereas Army was outplayed. They lost to Air Force 14-6 while Army was beaten by 20 points. They have beaten Army by a combined score of 89-6 the last three times they have played. It's tempting to side with the dog in a game like this, but we're simply going to go with the better team here. Nothing strong, but Navy -8
 

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