It’s here. The must-watch and standalone Army-Navy matchup takes place at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA today. And there's plenty on the line this season.
Army has won or retained the Commander In Chief’s Trophy in four of the last six seasons. However, the Midshipmen would love nothing more than to play spoiler and will have a good shot to do just that, with the college football odds marking them as only 2.5-point underdogs.
But all that is secondary — we know what this matchup is about. The greatest trend in sports betting! Which is, of course, service academy Unders. Do we finally have a total that is too low, even for this historic betting trend?
I break it all down with free college football picks for Army vs. Navy on Saturday, December 9.
Army vs Navy best odds
Army vs Navy picks and predictions
For those new to the game, when service academy programs face off, the Under is 44-9 dating back to 2006. That’s a crazy 83% cash rate.
While betting trends blindly is dumb, some trends still hold value as a jumping-off point for your research, and the service academy Unders still falls into that category.
The secret is out about this trend and oddsmakers have adjusted. As recently as 2019, the Army-Navy matchup was playing with totals in the 40s. This year’s matchup hit the board at 32.5 and has been bet down to a staggeringly low 28.5.
But the thing is, this adjusted total doesn’t necessarily mean the Over is a lock. I did a deep dive on this betting trend that has been so successful earlier this year, and here’s the basic rundown. These Unders have cashed at such a high rate because all of the service academy programs run some form of a triple-option offense. That essentially means they very rarely throw the football.
If these teams are always running the rock, the clock is always moving. And with the new rules in college football where the clock doesn’t stop after a first down, time will pass by even more quickly.
On top of that, since both teams run the triple option, there aren’t many teams in the country more well-equipped to defend the triple option. So, be prepared for a lot of three-yard runs.
The Army-Navy matchup specifically feels like the one that started it all. These two rivals had played to the Under in 16 consecutive meetings before last year, which went Over the total of 32 with 37 points scored. That said, that game was tied 10-10 at the end of regulation.
While the total for this season’s matchup is a jarringly low 28.5, Army and Navy have played below this number in regulation in four of the last six meetings, seeing an average of 26.2 points per game in those matchups.
All that said, with totals this low, we are getting to the point where the Over is going to start making a comeback in these service academy games.
But I just can’t bring myself to bet the Over when I have seen how these games have been played over the last three years or so. I bet the Under 32.5 at open, and while I would not recommend much more than a pizza money bet on it, let’s go with the Under 28.5. That said, if this drops to 27.5, that's my limit and creates a very nice middling opportunity for those who jumped on the opening number.
My best bet: Under 28.5 (-120 at FanDuel)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
Army vs Navy same-game parlay
Our same-game parlay kicks off with my best bet, which for Army-Navy is Under 28.5. While I am expecting yet another low-scoring service academy game, I like the Black Knights to do slightly more scoring and come out on top to claim the Commander In Chief’s Trophy outright.
Army has rushed the ball more efficiently than Navy this season, ranking 59th in rushing success rate compared to 103rd for the Midshipmen. Army also has the more impressive victories, notching wins against Coastal Carolina, Air Force, and UTSA. Navy’s best win came against a 5-7 North Texas team.
If the Black Knights do get the victory, it’s probably thanks to a big game from quarterback Bryson Daily. He’s scored seven rushing touchdowns this season, so let’s close this SGP with him to find the end zone one more time.
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Army vs Navy spread and Over/Under analysis
Army opened this rivalry game as 2.5-point favorites, which is being played at a neutral site at Gillette Stadium. As noted above, Army has proven the more capable team against tougher competition this season.
Navy doesn’t have a win against a bowl-eligible team this season. In fact, their four FBS wins have come against teams with a combined record of 14-36. The Midshipmen’s defense, which ranks 32nd in success rate vs. the rush, will keep them in this game, and these service academy games are always a little screwy. Hell, Army upset Air Force as 18.5-point underdogs earlier this year. But Army will be the more driven and battle-tested team, and that will pay off in another close game. I would lean toward the Black Knights at less than a field goal.
Meanwhile, the total has plummeted since hitting the board nearly two weeks ago. It opened at 32.5, but that number did not last long. Since then, it has dropped to 30.5 and then to 28. But now, even some 27.5s are starting to pop up, which is insane. If you do think this is the spot for the Over, you can find a great number now.
Army vs Navy betting trend to know
The Under had cashed in 16 consecutive Army-Navy games prior to last season. Find more college football betting trends for Army vs Navy.
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Army vs Navy game info
|Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
|Saturday, December 9, 2023
|3:00 p.m. ET
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