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College Football Lock for the Army-Navy Game (Dec. 9)

Last year’s Army-Navy game produced the fifth win for Army in the last seven years, leading Navy to fire head coach Ken Niumatalolo immediately after its conclusion. Navy had put together a 14-game winning streak from 2002 to 2015 before that seven-game stretch. All of that said, I’ve got my eye on the Army-Navy total as my college football lock for this game. This wager is one of my favorite bets every year. Let’s dive into this Army-Navy game pick and prediction. If you’re looking for more college football bets, check out our college football betting tools and our guide to betting on football.

College Football Lock of the Week: Best Army-Navy Game Bet

Army-Navy Game Odds

Odds via FanDuel
Army: -146 | Navy: +122
Army -2.5: -122 | Navy +2.5: +100
Over 28.5: -102 | Under 28.5: -120
Expert: Isaiah Sirois
Time:
Saturday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. ET

Army-Navy Game Prediction

It’s the Army-Navy game: you bet the under. Until last season, the under had hit in the Army-Navy game for 16 straight years. It took overtime for these teams to finally end the streak after they tallied just 20 points in regulation last year. The final score of 37 is still profoundly low for a college game and only exceeded the closing number of 32 by five points.

The books are taking action on the total for this season’s game at 27.5, 28 or 28.5 depending on where you look, which is meaningfully less than where it closed last year. But despite the even lower number the books are selling this year, we’re playing the under anyway.

This year’s Army-Navy game will take place in Foxboro’s Gillette Stadium, beginning a four-year rotation of other northeastern cities before the game returns to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. Although New England is known for harsher weather than Philadelphia, Saturday’s forecast calls for less than a 10% chance of precipitation and temperatures in the mid-50s, so we’re not getting any help from the weather as far as the under goes.

The primary reason to target the under is just that these already inefficient and slow-paced triple-option offenses are not good at putting points on the board. Army’s offense ranks 97th in expected points added (EPA) per play. Navy’s offense ranks 126th. Army’s offense ranks 120th in the Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) while Navy’s ranks 131st.

A secondary reason to target the under is that Navy’s defense is pretty good, which is important because the Black Knights aren’t as bad at moving the ball as the Midshipmen. Navy’s defense ranks a respectable 36th in EPA allowed per rush, so with Army’s triple-option offense running 75.7% of the time, the Midshipmen should at least slow them down somewhat.

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FanDuel Sportsbook is pretty much the only place still taking action on the under 28.5 at odds of -120, so that’s where we’re headed for this pick. I locked in the under 28.5 at odds of -118, which is when I posted this to our OddsShopper Premium Discord as well, but the new price isn’t steep enough for me not to play it. The FEI projects this one for 18.4 total points, which isn’t all that surprising when you add in the context that these inefficient offenses are playing at the slowest (Army: 31 seconds per play) and sixth-slowest (Navy: 30 seconds per play) paces in college football, making the under our college football lock of the week.

Army-Navy Game Pick & Prediction: Under 28.5 -120 at FanDuel

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