Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard
Sports Betting Commercial Content. 21+. Provided by Action Network, official betting partner of The Inquirer.

Army vs. Navy prediction: Bet on lengthy Under streak to finally end

After 16 straight Unders, look for service academy rivals to hurdle a low total when their annual matchup returns to Philadelphia

The 121st edition of the annual Army-Navy game will be played Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field. It will be the 90th time that Philadelphia has hosted the rivalry matchup between service academies. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The 121st edition of the annual Army-Navy game will be played Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field. It will be the 90th time that Philadelphia has hosted the rivalry matchup between service academies. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)Read moreElsa / Getty Images

Forget about just college football or the broader sports spectrum. The Army-Navy game that annually concludes college football’s regular season is one of the greatest and most anticipated of all American traditions — period.

It’s a tradition that’s particularly special for Philadelphians, as 89 of the 120 all-time meetings between rival service academies have been contested in the City of Brotherly Love.

On Saturday, Army vs. Navy returns to Lincoln Financial Field for the 14th time since 2003, but the first since 2019.

What can we expect from this year’s clash between squads that sport losing records? A whole lot of pageantry, a whole lot of national pride and — if history is any indication — not a whole lot of scoring.

To that latter point: The last 16 Army-Navy battles have stayed Under the total. Of course, streaks don’t last forever — at least that’s the theme of our Army vs. Navy prediction.

Note: Odds updated as of 11:15 a.m. ET on Dec. 8.

Army vs. Navy Prediction

  1. Over 32.5 points (at FanDuel)

Army vs. Navy Prediction: Analysis

Call us contrarian. Call us clueless. Call us flat-out crazy.

When you fade a trend that has lasted for nearly two decades, all of those comments are warranted.

But here’s the thing about this Army vs. Navy prediction: Oddsmakers know that we know how low scoring the last 16 of these matchups have been. And they’ve posted this insanely low total accordingly.

We just happen to strongly believe this year’s total has dropped too low.

Let’s start with the weather — it’s not expected to be a factor, with temperatures in the mid-40s, dry conditions and moderate wind.

» READ MORE: Georgia is favored to win the College Football Playoff. Is there value elsewhere?

On the gridiron, we’ve got two defenses that each give up more than 355 yards per game (Navy at 356.2, Army at 365.9) and at least 23 points per game (Navy at 23 on the nose, Army at 24.7).

The biggest discrepancy defensively? Navy ranks fourth in the nation against the run (85.8 yards per game allowed) while Army is 115th (193.6 ypg).

Bad news for the Black Knights, right? After all, Navy’s offense rumbles for 239.5 yards per game.

Ah, but the Midshipmen’s rushing defense might not be as good as the stats suggest. See, Navy competes in Conference USA, which this year featured six teams that rushed for more than 1,800 yards.

The Midshipmen (2,685) were one of those teams, ranking second in rushing. However, the defense faced each of the league’s bottom-seven rushing teams but only one that was ranked in the top four.

That one was Central Florida, which led the American Athletic with 3,069 rushing yards. Navy stymied UCF in a 17-14 win, allowing just 84 yards on the ground.

But in its only other true test against a powerful rushing team, the Middies surrendered 202 yards to fellow service academy Air Force in a 13-10 road loss. They also gave up 180 yards in a 38-20 home loss to Houston, which only had the seventh-best rushing attack in the 11-team American Athletic.

So we think Army’s offense, which is second in the country in rushing at 304 yards per game, will have success moving the ball. Just as we’re confident Navy will gash the Black Knights’ leaky rushing defense.

» READ MORE: More than just a kicker: Midshipmen’s co-captain prepares for his final Army-Navy game

Also worth noting: The Midshipmen had allowed 20 or more points in eight of their previous nine games before upsetting UCF in their most recent contest. And the offense has put up 20 or more in six of the last nine.

Meanwhile, Army scored 78 points in its last two games (UConn and UMass) and has tallied at least 34 points in six of its last 10.

Yes, like Navy, the Black Knights also had a low-scoring game against Air Force (13-7 loss). In fact, the total points scored in the Navy-Air Force and Army-Air Force games (43) is just 10.5 points more than the Army-Navy total.

So why not play the Under? Again, it’s about the number: 32.5, by far the lowest Army-Navy total in modern history.

For one thing, last year’s game nearly beat it (17-13 Midshipmen win). In fact, during their 16-year Under streak, Army and Navy have combined for 33 or more points nine times. And they’ve gotten within a touchdown (27 points or more) in 14 of the 16 meetings.

Do we expect a 27-24 “shootout” Saturday? Of course not. But we definitely expect to be in range of 32.5 heading into the fourth quarter. Then all it would take is one or two busted runs to snap one of college football’s wildest betting trends.

So close your eyes, swallow hard, embrace the contrarian and play Army vs. Navy Over the total at FanDuel.

Army vs. Navy odds (via FanDuel)

  1. Point spread: Army (+2.5, -108) vs. Navy (-2.5, -112)

  2. Moneyline: Army (+118) vs. Navy (-142)

  3. Total: 32.5 points

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.