ARMY/NAVY GAME PREVIEW (SAT. 12-14)!

CAN NAVY SENIORS SALVAGE A WIN SATURDAY AFTER LOSING 3 IN A ROW TO ARMY?

LAS VEGAS BETTING ODDS:  #23 NAVY (-10 1/2)  vs. ARMY    ~  TOTAL: (40/40 1/2)

ARMY OFFENSE (#72) ~ (312 RUSH/87 PASS)  vs.  NAVY DEFENSE (#33) ~ (110 RUSH/233 PASS allowed)

NAVY OFFENSE (#16)  ~ (361 RUSH/104 PASS) vs. ARMY DEFENSE (#29) ~ (144 RUSH/194 PASS allowed)

First thing’s first, this to me is the greatest Football game played every year. Nothing better than the young men who have signed up to defend our great country than getting a SPOTLIGHT day all to themselves. This is going to be the #120th Installment of the ARMY/NAVY game. The game will be played at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Penn. The weather report isn’t great as Philly is getting Rain the entire day on Friday and it will Rain non stop right up to Kickoff at 3pm/EST. The forecast as of this writing shows the rain stopping exactly at Kickoff. If the Karma Gods are true to form, the rain will stop in time for Kickoff. The temperature will actually be great (55) for a mid December game back East.

Next we get to see a rare occasion of a #1 vs. a #2 and I don’t care what it is when you get a #1 ranking something vs. a #2 ranking something, you got yourself a rare treat. This game will feature the #1 Rushing team (Navy  – 361 Rushing Yards per game) vs. #2 Rushing team (Army – 312 Rushing Yards per game. Neither Defense will be shocked in any way seeing the TRIPLE OPTION being run at them for 85% of the total plays either Offense runs. It’s a huge advantage to be really prepared with knowing the nuances of the Triple Option Attack. These Academies usually don’t have the bigger kids (heavy weight players over 300 pounds) so they use the Triple Option to get the speedy smaller backs (occasionally a big stud Fullback) into spots where a mistake made by opposing Defense can turn into a long gainer or even a long TD.

For many years Navy just completely dominated this Rivalry. In fact from 2002-2015 Navy won every single game. I remember from 2012-2015 I felt like I had to root for Army as I felt terrible for those kids losing so many in the biggest “bragging rights” game all season in College Football. Finally in 2016 Army broke the 14 game losing skid and won 21-17. The Cadets around the world seemingly took the biggest monkey and bad stigma off their backs and could finally rejoice and exhale again. Shockingly, Army won the last two seasons games too (14-13 and 17-10) making it a nice 3 game bragging rights streak for the Black and Gold side. Since most of these articles are done from a “Betting Perspective”, Trends are often talked about. Over half trends are useless but this game will feature one of the most incredible streaks of my 31 year betting career. AMAZING TREND: ARMY/NAVY: Has played 13 straight “UNDER” (the posted Total). Five years go the posted Total was (55.5). It has steadily dropped 3-6 points a year and now is down all way to 40/40 1/2 range. Many folks are just blindly betting the “UNDER” and heck if you even decided to jump this “UNDER” train 5 years ago, you got yourself 5 straight winning tickets.

All of the past five meetings have been decided by a TD or less. The winning team the past 5 seasons has won by (7, 1, 4, 4, and 7 points). This game has the spread at double digits. Army has only won 3 of the past 5, but they are a very profitable (4-0-1) ATS the past 5 years. For the Navy Seniors, they go into Saturday’s game with their last shot at ever beating their rivals, the Cadets. For them, this is the biggest game of their lives. For Army’s Seniors, they have a chance to go out knowing they swept Navy their entire 4 year careers. Now folks that’s a solid a bragging right of any College Athlete in the country, ever.

Army has strangely been one of the biggest and most shocking disappointments in 2019 of all 130 teams. Many, including me had them penned in to be a winning squad again in ’19. They opened their season at Home playing Rice. Because I was back East for a Wedding that same weekend, and my best buddy had a “Bucket List” Wish to go see an Army game at Home, I decided to go to add to my resume of seeing games at different venues. I take great Pride in the Academy’s kids and so it was a fun day to go see a game. Army was (-23) favorites and they never sniffed that high line as they did win, but only 14-7. I left seeing a Team nowhere as talented as last years 11-2 team and 19th ranked. Well as you can see, they now head into this game (5-7). Losing at Hawaii last week cost them a shot at a “Bowl Game” bid. So this game now is their “Bowl Game” for the 2019 season. They lost 6 games this season by single digits. Their wins have come against Rice, UTSA, Morgan State, UMass and Va. Military. Two aren’t ranked and the other 3 are terrible teams. Only Rice Defense (#59) finished ranked in the top half of all Defenses or Offenses. Plain and simple this season was a Disaster for Army. Two weeks ago with a Bowl Game bid still alive, they went out to Hawaii, and got shredded by Hawaii’s Offense. The best thing I can say about Army overall team this year is they were very solid in the Red Zone, scoring 40 TD’s in 51 Red Zone trips. The Defense played pretty well in half their games, and allowed 22 TD’s in 33 Red Zone trips by their opponents. Army averaged 30 points per game on Offense and allowed 22 points per game on Defense.

Now for Navy, this season has been a gigantic success as QB Malcolm Perry (1,500 rushing yards and 19 TD’s). To me he was one of the most Improved players in all of CFB. He may be small, but he can fly and his reads were so much better this season than last season. He propelled this Navy Offense to score 5o points twice, 40 points or more 4x, and 30 points or more 3x. They clicked on all cylinders on Offense in all their games except really in blowout Loss to Notre Dame. They finished season averaging 39 points a game. Under new Defense Play Calling leadership, the Defense rose to #33 overall and really played solid ball all year long and allowed a rock solid 24 points per game. The Offense in the Red Zone scored a CFB #1 (35 Tds in just 41 Red Zone trips/90%). 

Army on the Road this season was just (1-5) straight up and (2-4) ATS. Navy on the Road this season was (3-2) straight up and (3-2) ATS. 

ATS AND TOTALS WATCH:  ARMY: (5-7) ATS and 3 “OVERS” and 9 “UNDERS”.  (NOTE: all 6 Road games went “UNDER” the Total.

ATS AND TOTALS WATCH: NAVY: (8-3) ATS and 7 “OVERS” and 4 “UNDERS”. (NOTE: all 5 Road games went “OVER” the Total.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

First thing to closely watch is what will the weather be? Is it just normal rain or pouring down rain? Neither team is a big passing team with Navy at only 104 and Army at 87, but pouring rain often leads to wet balls and with Option teams, lots of fumbles. Navy has clearly been the far superior team in 2019, and Navy QB Perry is just so much better than the Army QB’s. The Defenses you can almost call a Push. Navy’s wins have been by 38, 22, 11, 32, 3 and 7 points. Their is a slight edge in Kickers with Navy side as they were (9-12) in FG’s with a long of 49 yards. Army used a trio of Kickers and went just (4-7) in FG tries. Neither team likes sending out their FG kicker and will go for it on 4th down often, even on their own side of the field if it’s 4th and one/two yards. I think they key “piece” not being one of the two QB’s in this game is Navy RB J. Carothers (8.5 yards per carry and 13 TD’s) and it will be him who is the deciding edge leading Navy to the Win and ending Army’s 3 game win streak and sending their Middies Seniors off finally with a win over Army.  If you can please watch this game. It’s not just a Football game. It’s a piece of History and a chance to support our greatest young heroes. 

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