College Football Odds: Will We See Another Upset In Army Vs. Navy?
Pageantry and tradition come to a head this weekend in Foxborough, Mass. In college football’s greatest spectacle, the Army Black Knights (5-6) meet the Navy Midshipmen (5-6) in the 124th edition of the Army-Navy Game. Army is a favorite, and the game carries a -point over/under. Although low scoring is commonplace in this matchup, this year’s is pushing for the lowest college football total ever, set just two weeks ago by Iowa and Nebraska (25.5 points). Both Army and Navy are looking to beat the odds – the underdog has won outright in each of the last two meetings.
Army vs. Navy kicks off Saturday from Gillette Stadium at 3:00 p.m. ET. Though the game isn’t played at a traditional venue, it will be broadcast on CBS. After that, bowl Season is here! Check out the latest college football bowl odds at TheLines.com.
Army Vs. Navy Odds
Compare odds from the best college football betting sites below. Click on the odds in the table to place a bet now.
Army vs. Navy Quick Look
Table key: Power (TheLines aggregate power rating), KFord (KFord Rating), PPD (points per drive scored), PPD/A (points per drive allowed), YPP (yards per play), YPP/A (yards per play allowed), SOR (Strength of record, per ESPN’s FPI)
Army Black Knights Preview
Army brings a three-game win streak into this game after a 2-6 start. They last toppled Coastal Carolina, following up a narrow win against Holy Cross and a massive upset over Air Force. Since Air Force has the win over Navy, Army is playing for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy this Saturday.
Rushing efficiency hasn’t quite been there for the Black Knights this season. They rank 65th in EPA per rush and 11th in rushing yards per game. Part of the blame is to be handed to the change in rules regarding cut blocks, a staple in the triple option offense. Army brought in Nebraska-Kearny (D-II) offensive coordinator Drew Thatcher to revamp the offense and open things up. As a result, they pass on nearly 25% of offensive snaps, a notable increase from just 14% two seasons ago.
Army came out of the gate swinging offensively, finding a new deep threat in Isaiah Alston. Unfortunately, Alston suffered an injury and hasn’t played since Week 4. Despite that, he still leads the team in receiving (266 yards, two TD).
QB Bryson Daily carries the literal load on offense. Still designed to be multiple, Thatcher’s modified option offense features the quarterback far more. Daily out-carries the next three backs, 188-174. In short yardage, the feature back is still 6-foot, 256-pound bruiser Jakobi Buchanan (three touchdowns).
Defensively, Army has struggled to defend the run. They allow a 45.8% success rate on the ground, the 12th-highest mark in the country.
Navy Midshipmen Preview
The 2023 season has been filled with injury and inconsistency for Navy under new head coach Brian Newberry. He, too, had to find a new offensive coordinator to adapt to the changing rules in college football. Newberry brought in Kennesaw State’s Grant Chestnut to conduct the offense. His system was a bit more spread at Kennesaw, and the difference this year to Navy has been minimal; for the most part, the Midshipmen look like they have for a century.
Navy’s most significant hurdle this season has been nailing down a quarterback. Three quarterbacks on the roster have 40+ pass attempts; none were the preseason projected starter. Blake Horvath and Tai Lavatai both grace the injury report, Horvath not having played since Week 6 and Lavatai since Week 8. Xavier Arline returned to the field in Week 13. He went down with an injury in that game after starting 0-for-6 passing. Braxton Woodson replaced him.
Also notable is that three-year starting center Lirion Murtezi suffered an injury in Week 1 and has not played since.
While the offense is a complete mess, Navy’s defense should thrive in this upcoming game. The Midshipmen pitched three shutouts this year thanks partly to an excellent run defense. The lone exception came in Week 0, where Navy was helplessly overmatched against Notre Dame. They’ve held opponents to fewer than 100 rushing yards more times (four) than they’ve allowed 125+ on the ground (three).
Army Vs. Navy Betting Preview
Although Navy can’t bring home college football’s most coveted rivalry trophy, there’s no lack of motivation on either side. Both teams played almost identical schedules (per ESPN’s strength of schedule metric) but with varying results. Although Army has the slightly more efficient rushing attack, Navy’s defense – particularly against the run – has been far superior against similar talent.
The winner of this game almost always dominates the line of scrimmage, particularly when they have the ball. Having both run the triple option for decades, both teams know how to defend it reasonably well. But the other route to victory comes with who successfully implements a wrinkle not yet seen. Both coaching staffs have plays drawn up that they save specifically for this game.
In that regard, the advantage goes to Army. The Black Knights have completely revamped their offensive system, and this is the first time Navy will attempt to defend it. Spreading out the box like Army will try to do stretches perimeter defenders in their run fit. It forces defenders to be highly sound in their tackling when they take angles to cut off the run. Navy ranks 12th-worst in tackling grades this year, per PFF.
Through the poor tackling, Navy has been excellent against the run, even against spread teams. Army has put forward a middling rushing attack themselves; should both teams operate in their expected range, Navy is likely in a better position to sing second this year.
Army Vs. Navy Series History
Navy leads the all-time series, 62-54-7, highlighted by a 14-game win streak from 2002-15. Army’s longest streak without a loss came between 1922-33, when they won eight times and tied twice. The two teams split the last four meetings, and the favorite lost outright in each of the last two.
|Army, 20-17 (OT)
|East Rutherford, NJ
|West Point, NY
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