One of the better developments was rotating the game between venues and having it as the standalone college football game after conference championships and before bowls. This year’s event starts at 3:00 p.m. ET Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

It is one of the most colorful uniform matchups, as both programs create special uniforms to honor parts of the military. For the 123rd meeting, Army is going with a sandy look inspired by the 1st Armored Division during World War II. The jerseys are light brown with gold.

Navy will wear space-themed uniforms for the game since the Academy has 54 graduates who have been astronauts. The helmet will have the NASA logo on one side and a soldier doing a space walk on the other.

The other unique tradition is each team will stay on the field and gather for their respective alma maters. The winning team gets to sing second.

Overall Game Info & Outlook

  • Navy Midshipmen (4-7) vs. Army Black Knights (5-6)
  • Navy won its last time out at Central Florida 17-14, while Army has won two straight against UConn and UMass in blowout fashion.
  • The game is at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, with forecasts in the lower to mid 40s and partly cloudy skies.
  • The broadcast begins on CBS at 3:00 p.m. ET, with kickoff shortly after.

Navy Midshipmen at Army Black Knights Betting Preview

Navy Midshipmen Preview

It has been a down year for the Naval Academy, which has had ten winning seasons and bowl appearances in the first 14 years under coach Ken Niumatalolo.

The triple option has been a staple of the offense and, coupled with great defense, has been a strength for the program. The defense had a strong season, but the offense hasn’t been up to par.

  • Navy is 7-4 against the spread this year.
  • The Midshipmen are 6-5 on over/unders this year. 
  • Navy is 0-2 as a favorite against the spread. 
  • In both games, Navy was the favorite by at least a touchdown.

Navy is seventh in the country in rushing for 239.5 yards per game. However, the Midshipmen were 104th in scoring 22.4 points per game and 110th in total yardage, with an average of 330.9 yards per game. The ball security standards haven’t been there either, as Navy has eight turnovers.

Defensively, they are fourth in holding teams to 85.8 rushing yards per game and 43rd overall in limiting teams to 356.2 yards per contest.

The downside is a weaker passing defense which is 114th in allowing 270.4 passing yards per game. Defensive scoring limits teams to 24.7 points per game, which ranks 55th. They only have eight takeaways, which is tied for 92nd.

The Midshipmen will need to take care of the ball because they will move it on the ground against Army. That should be enough to get up and down the field, albeit in their slow pacing, to get points on the board. That’s the key if they are going to win the game and sing second.

Army Black Knights Preview

The Black Knights rallied late in the season, winning their last two games and four of their last six, to get on the cusp of bowl eligibility, but it was too-little-too-late, as flipping either a 10-9 loss to Troy and 13-7 loss to Air Force into a win would have launched them to a bowl game. Army has won four bowl games since Jeff Monken took over in 2013.

  • Army is 6-5 against the spread this year.
  • The Black Knights are 7-4 on over/unders this season. 
  • They are 2-3 against the spread as underdogs.
  • Army is 0-2 against the spread as an underdog of 6.5 points or fewer.

The service academies are similar in a lot of ways, including how each team plays offensively, but there are also differences to the vaunted rushing attacks.

The Black Knights are second in rushing for 304.0 yards per game but are 73rd in total offense at 385.5 yards per contest. They are 58th in scoring 29.4 points per game and are tied with eight giveaways.

Defensively they are 38th in holding teams to 23.0 points per game. They’ll have to hope their defense bends but doesn’t break because of their poor splits, particularly for this game.

Army is 115th in allowing teams to rush for 193.6 yards per game. But it is sixth in holding teams to 172.3 yards passing per game, which will matter less in this rivalry. They have ten takeaways, which ranks 59th.

The Black Knights will need to improve their rush defense if they’re going to sing second. Winning the turnover margin is another key to watch.

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Navy Midshipmen at Army Black Knights Odds & Picks

Odds for this Matchup:

Navy Midshipmen-2.5-140O 32 (-110)
Army Black Knights+2.5+120U 32 (-110)

Public betting data shows that 62% of the public is picking Army to cover the spread of +2.5. The underdog is 5-2-1 against the spread in the teams’ last eight meetings.

Though played at a neutral site, the home team –coin flips matter, right?- – is 3-0-1 against the spread in the last four meetings. Another 55% of the public bets are on the over, despite the rivalry going under in 16 straight meetings.

The teams have split who won the last four seasons, and Navy is 2-1-1 against the spread during that time. Since Monken was hired at Army in 2013, Navy is 5-4 in the series and started by winning the first three, followed by Army taking the next three. In the coaching matchup, Army is 5-3-1 against the spread, and, of course, the under has hit in every game.

But the under of 32 points is the lower it has been in the past ten meetings. The next closest was last season, when the teams combined for 30 points to register under 35.5 points.

This very well could go under again, and Navy should be good enough to win and cover -2.5.

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