Posted on: December 10, 2022, 10:48h.
Last updated on: December 10, 2022, 10:48h.
One of the fiercest rivalries in college football gets renewed on Saturday when Army squares off against Navy in Philadelphia.
The service academies meet up at Lincoln Financial Field for the 123rd time in a series that dates back to 1890. Both sides have had their share of struggles this season. Neither will make a bowl appearance, but both have played better of late.
Navy (4-7) last played on Nov. 19, but the Midshipmen pulled out a 17-14 win over a ranked Central Florida team that made the American Athletic Conference championship last weekend.
Army, meanwhile, enters their season finale as winners of two straight, including a 44-7 win at UMass on Nov. 26.
Oddsmakers have Navy as the slight favorite and set the total points at either 32 or 32.5, a very low number – especially since the weather is supposed to be mild for December with partly cloudy skies, temperatures in the mid-40s, and winds around 15 miles per hour.
More on that later.
Army-Navy is set to kick off at 3 pm ET. CBS will broadcast the game, which is the final game of college football’s regular season.
Battle of Similar Styles
If you watch Army and Navy, don’t expect an aerial battle. The Midshipmen average nearly 331 yards of offense each game, with 239.5 coming on the ground.
Army is even more run-focused. Of its 385.5 yards per game, only about 81 have come from its passing game. Twice this season, a Navy quarterback did not complete a pass in a game. Army did that three times.
The run-oriented offense is really a necessity for both Army and Navy – as well as the Air Force Academy – since the academies have height and weight standards that hinder recruiting larger players. Army has only one player on its team listed at more than 300 pounds. Navy has five.
And neither team features a single dominant back, as they both utilize the triple-option offense. Navy has six players who have rushed for at least 221 yards, and the Black Knights have seven who have amassed 219 or more.
Sophomore running back Daba Fofana has emerged as the Midshipmen’s leading back. He’s racked up 749 yards and six touchdowns, and 247 of those yards have come in Navy’s last two games.
For Army, the primary threat is senior quarterback Tyhier Taylor. He’s rushed for 601 yards and 12 scores, and like Fofana, Taylor has come on strong at the end of the season. He’s run for 271 yards and six TDs in the Black Knights’ last three games, including 101 yards and three scores on just 11 carries in the win over UMass two weeks ago.
An ‘Under’whelming Trend
Oddsmakers don’t believe Army and Navy will be a high-scoring affair, setting the total at a nearly historic low. According to ESPN Stats & Info, only the Iowa-Minnesota game from this season featured a lower over/under – 31.5 points – of any game offered in the last 20 years.
The Kentucky-Iowa Music City Bowl matchup on Dec. 31 may go lower as several of UK’s top offensive players will not be dressing for the game.
But back to the game at hand, the under has hit in each of the last 16 years. As the Superbook Sportsbook noted on Twitter earlier this week, if you bet $110 on the under in 2006 and rolled over the winnings each year on the under ever since, you would have won more than $3.4 million.
If you bet $110 on the under in the 2006 Army/Navy game and continued to rollover the winnings on the under in their next 15 meetings, you would have won OVER $3.4 MILLION! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/zTRpDk6xFi
— SuperBook Sports (@SuperBookSports) December 6, 2022
The low over-under may seem deceptive, especially since Army has scored at least 34 points in each of its wins. However, both teams’ games against Air Force this season show that there is some logic in the low number. The Falcons beat Navy 13-10 and Army 13-7.
With their similar styles, neither team will have a decided advantage over the other. So, it’s likely Saturday’s game will be a low-scoring affair.