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Army

vs.

Navy

College Football

Free Pick

12/9/17

Navy and Army have gone in opposite directions the last two years and that all led to a 21-17 Army win last season breaking Navy’s 14-game win streak. Army comes into this one with an 8-3 record, which is two wins better than Navy. Still, the Midshipmen were -3.5 point favorites a week before the game at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Navy had dominated this matchup since 2002, but things have changed with the teams being more evenly matched in recent seasons. Navy started out strong with a 5-0 record, but things changed once AAC play started and it finished 4-4 in the conference. The Midshipmen come in having lost five of their last six games, although none of them by more than 10 points or against a team with a losing record.

Army has had an easier schedule and that’s the main reason it has a better record, but it’s still been a great season. In like opponents, Army lost 21-17 at Tulane and Navy beat them 23-21 at home. Army beat Temple 31-28 at home and Navy lost 34-26 on the road. Against Air Force, Army won 21-0 on the road and Navy won 48-45 at home. All signs point to this being another tight matchup, similar to how the last two went with both teams winning 21-17.

The major difference between these squads is that Army has much better defensive numbers, allowing just over 20 points per game, while Navy has allowed close to 30. That’s partly due to schedule, but the Black Knights did keep Air Force scoreless, which was extremely impressive. That may be reason enough to consider Army, especially with the spread at just over a field goal.

Offensively, both teams have run the triple option with success per usual, although Army having a good offense is a bit new. The Black Knights are averaging 6.2 yards per carry as a team led by quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, who is at 1,472 yards and 11 touchdowns. Darnell Woolfolk has been the top tail back with 668 yards and 11 touchdowns, while a slew of other guys have done the rest. Because of the defense and running game, Bradshaw has only attempted 39 passes this season, completing just 12 of them. If he attempts more than five in this game, it’d be a surprise.

Zach Abey has been forced to pass a bit more for Navy and that’s because its defense has given up so many points. Abey has seven passing touchdowns on 70 pass attempts. But as long as the Midshipmen don’t get behind, he probably won’t pass much either in this game. Abey has run for 1,322 yards and 14 touchdowns this season with Malcolm Perry the top tail back at 818 yards and eight touchdowns. As a team, they’re averaging 5.5 yards per carry and that’s likely lower than Army’s because of a tougher schedule.

 

All signs point to another lower scoring game that’s extremely close between these teams at Lincoln Financial. The Black Knights don’t have any relevant trends, while the Midshipmen are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four following an ATS loss. The under is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings between these schools with Army 5-1 ATS in the last six.

Our Pick - Army +3.5

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