Navy Midshipmen vs Army Black Knights (12/10 @ 3:00 PM EST)
Spread: Navy -2
Money Line: Navy -124 / Army +108
Overview and Betting Info
The Navy Midshipmen (4-7) will face off against the Army Black Knights (5-6) to renew their rivalry for the 123rd time in Philadelphia on Saturday. Navy leads the overall series 62-53-7 and won last season’s matchup, but Army has won four of the previous six. These two teams have only exceeded 33 total points once since 2013.
Navy is 7-4 against the spread this season, including going 5-0 on the road. They have now covered three straight games. The Midshipmen have gone over the total six times, including five in their last seven games.
Army is 6-5 against the spread this year and has covered their last five games. They have gone over the total seven times.
Navy has lost four of their last six games but are coming off an impressive 17-14 win against UCF. The offense averages 330.9 yards and 22.4 points per game, thanks mainly to a run game that averages 239.5 yards (7th in FBS). Their passing offense only averages 91.4 yards per game, and they will have Xavier Arline starting again Saturday. He has played well since starter Tai Lavatai’s season-ending injury. Arline only has 60 yards passing, but his 274 rushing yards and four combined touchdowns helped Navy close the season strong against two ranked teams. Look for Maasai Maynor to see some snaps on passing downs, as they seem to trust him more when throwing the ball.
Navy’s dominant run game is led by fullback Daba Fofana who leads the team with 175 carries for 749 yards and six touchdowns. He has been fantastic over the last two weeks against Notre Dame and UCF, combining for 247 yards and averaging an impressive seven yards per game. He is joined by receiver Maquel Haywood who is second on the team with 69 carries for 451 yards (6.5 yards per carry). He’s been electric, but his carries have dropped in November as Navy has turned more to fullback Anton Hall Jr. Hall has seen an uptick in carries and can be a bruising back, but he has also lost three fumbles. Navy’s offense is running the ball over 90% of play calls, so expect to see a lot of players register carries but look for these three to highlight the Midshipmen attack.
The Navy defense allows 356 yards and 24.7 points per game, putting them in the top three of the AAC. They have been fantastic against the run, allowing only 85.6 rushing yards per game (4th in FBS). Navy’s defense has been getting better in the last month, holding opponents to 20 or fewer points in three of their previous four games. They are led by linebacker John Marshall who leads the team in tackles (88) and sacks (10.5). He’s coming off a monster game against UCF, where he had four sacks, a forced fumble, and ten tackles. Look for fellow linebacker Nicholas Straw (12 PD, 1 INT) and defensive end Jacob Busic (6 sacks, 3 FF) to join Marshall as the focal point for this defense against a dangerous Army run attack.
Army Black Knights
The Black Knights have won their previous two games, scoring a combined 78 points. It was an impressive breakout from an offense that averages 385.5 yards and 29.4 points per game. They are led by a talented dual-threat in Tyhier Tyler. The quarterback only has 301 passing yards and two touchdowns, but he has managed 601 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. Despite his stellar play, Army also uses Cade Ballard (335 pass yards, 2 TDs) and Jemel Jones (250 pass yards, 326 rush yards, 8 total TDs). It gives this offense several different looks and ensures they have fresh legs at the position. When Army does drop back to pass, look for Isaiah Alston (269 yards, 1 TD) and running back Ay’Jaun Marshall (208 yards, 6 2 TD) to be featured.
Like Navy, Army relies on their impressive run game averaging 304.4 yards per game (2nd in FBS). Their leading rusher is Tyler, but behind him is running back Jakobi Buchanan, who has 335 yards and six touchdowns of his own. He leads the backfield in carries, but watch for Ay’Jaun Marshall and Braheam Murphy to see plenty of action. They’ll be up against a top-ten run defense in the country, which makes this the matchup to watch Saturday.
The Army defense is allowing 365.8 yards and 23 points per game. They’ve been impressive over their last five games, allowing just 14.2 points per game during that span. Their run defense will be the critical area to watch, as they currently allow 193.5 yards per game. They are led by linebacker Leo Lowin who has a team-high 84 tackles and three sacks to go along with two interceptions. He’s a playmaker that will be relied upon to help contain the Navy run game. If they can force Navy to pass, watch out for defensive back Marquel Broughton, who leads the team with 5 pass deflections and three interceptions.
Free Pick: Navy -2
While Army has been the more explosive team, the run will decide this game. Both teams have impressive run games, but they defend them very differently. The Black Knights allow almost 200 rush yards per game, while the Midshipmen allow just 85. That’s a massive advantage for Navy and will likely lead to Army needing to attempt more passes. If they do pass, The Midshipmen have impressive pass rushers that should make life difficult for all of the Army quarterbacks. We also love how well Navy played to close the season against two ranked teams. Though they lose one to Notre Dame, it shows that this Navy team is ready for the spotlight on Saturday. We expect it to be close (as this game usually is), but we think the Navy’s run attack and defense will put them over the top. We’re giving up the two points to sail with Navy on Saturday.