by Christopher Griffin Jr – Wannamakeabet Staff Writer
The regular season for college football officially comes to an end Saturday as Army (8-3, 5-6 ATS) battles their bitter rival Navy (6-5, 6-5 ATS) for the 118th time at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. The Commander- In- Chief’s – Trophy is on the line as Army is hoping to defeat Navy back to back seasons for the first time since 1996.
The Midshipmen are 3 point favorites despite their 14 game winning streak against the Black Knights coming to an end last season after a 21-17 defeat. The over/under for the game between these two rush heavy offenses is currently slated at 47.
It is the first time in recent memory that Army heads into the game with both the better record and quite possibly the better team on paper. The Cadets had a 6 game winning streak snapped during their last game to the hands of the North Texas Mean Green in a 52- 49 thriller. The Midshipmen started off the season hot winning their first five games, but have lost close games to solid teams such as the likes of undefeated UCF, Memphis, and Notre Dame. All of their losses down the stretch have been by 10 points or fewer.
One can surely expect an up- tempo and fast paced game as both of the academies are the two leading rushing teams in the country. Army is the only school in the NCAA to have over 4,000 rushing yards and are even 3-0 when they pass for 0 yards. Navy is just behind the Black Knights with 347.5 yards per game.
Navy is led by quarterback Zach Abey, who is responsible for 1,322 yards on the ground and 14 rushing touchdowns. The Black Knights are also led by their standout quarterback, Ahmad Bradshaw, who has rushed for 1,472 yards and also has accounted for 11 rushing touchdowns. It is safe to say that this game will be won on the ground and who holds the ball for the majority of the game will bring home the Commander- In- Chief’s Trophy to their respected academy.
The close nature of this bitter rivalry is why Army is the safe bet as a field goal underdog. Army has covered their last 3 games against the Midshipmen and are 5-1 ATS in their last six versus their rival.
In regards to the over/under, which opened at 54 and has plummeted by 7 points to 47, the under may still be the best move unless to O/U continues to decrease before kick off. The last 11 contests between these two have went under. With that being said, the over has hit in 5 of Army’s last 7 games. While, the under has hit 4 times in Navy’s last 6 games. However, Army hasn’t faced a defense quite like Navy’s. Navy held the potent offenses of Notre Dame and Houston just to 24 points in their last two games.
Both of these teams have a lot to play for. Navy is trying to avenge their first lost to their hated rival since 2001. While, Army is both trying to capture the Commander’s- In- Chief- Trophy and beat Navy back to back seasons for the first time since 1996.
These two long rivals will take center stage as they are the only major college football game on this Saturday. So the only thing we can expect is another highly contested game between those evenly matched up opponents. The tempo of play and the lack of a passing game can only mean two things and that is take the points and the under.
The Easy Money Pick: Army (+3)
Final Score prediction: Army:21 Navy:20