For the first time since 2001, Army is favored over Navy. Last year Army beat Navy 14-13 and the Black Knights also won 21-17 as underdogs in 2016. Navy had previously dominated the series, but the Midshipmen will finish this season with a losing record for the first time since 2002. Army also won the Commander-in-Chief Trophy in 2017 for the first time in 21 years. Started in 1972, the trophy is awarded to the service academy that wins the triple-threat match between the Army, Navy and Air Force academies. The 2018 Army-Navy betting line has the ground forces favored by 7 points.
Army beat Air Force 17-14 on Nov. 3, and can now claim back-to-back Commander-in-Chief victories with a win over Navy. The Black Knights also rank No. 22 in the current AP poll, and nearly upset CFP entrant Oklahoma before losing in overtime 28-21 as a 30-point underdog.
Army Black Knights (9-2) vs Navy Midshipmen (3-9)
Saturday, December 8th – – 3:00pm ET
Odds: Army -7 (41)
Army football will wear special uniforms for the Army-Navy betting battle. The Black Knights will honor the WWI soldiers of the 1st Infantry Division 100 years after they helped end the war. The 1st Infantry Division, nicknamed the “Big Red One”, was the first permanent division in the regular Army, the first American division to fight in the first World War, the first to use modern, combined arms operations and the first to defeat the enemy at the Battle of Cantigny.
Prior to 2017, Army had endured losing records in 18 of the 19 seasons prior. But since the start of 2017, Army boasts a record of 27-10. Impressive turnaround under 5th year Army head coach Jeff Monken, who has guided the Black Knights to three consecutive bowl games for the first time in program history.
Navy ranks 11th nationally in total defense giving up just 301.3 yards per game. The Midshipmen also rank 99th on defense allowing an average of 438.3 yards per game.
Army rushes to ball for 303.0 yards per game as the second most productive ground game in the country, while Navy is third at 288.5 rushing yards per game.
The difference for Army’s offense this season is that QB Kelvin Hopkins throws the ball better, which is still only 8.1 times per game but has completed some timely passes when needed at 10.5 yards per pass attempt. That’s 3rd in the country behind Alabama and Oklahoma.
A low-scoring game is common in these match-ups with both teams familiar with the triple-option attack and how to defend it better. Still, Navy’s defense is deficient this season and allows 34.9 points per game. A grinding game the norm, but Army is the stronger team this season and will shut down Navy’s offense, while the same won’t hold try for Navy’s defense against Army’s offense. I’m going to lean in to the Black Knights side in this great football tradition.
NCAAF Army-Navy Betting Free Pick – Army Black Knights -7.0
Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.