Army Black Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen
Date and Time: Saturday, December 9, 2017, 3 p.m. ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Opening College Football Odds: Navy -3
Army vs. Navy TV Coverage: CBS
This year is a lot different than usual for Army. The Black Knights won the Army/Navy game last year for the first time since 2001. They haven't had a winning streak against the Middies since 1996, a victory at Veterans Stadium that capped off a five-year run of dominance for Army.
The last time Army was favored in this game was in 2001. There was a belief that might change this year, but now, the oddsmakers have installed the Midshipmen at -3. That's the smallest spread we've seen in the Army/Navy game at any college football sportsbook since 2002 when Navy was set at just -3.5 (it won that game 58-12, for good measure).
The Black Knights have only been beaten once since September, and that came in their last game of the regular season against North Texas. The Mean Green went on to play in the Conference USA Championship Game, and the 52-49 loss could have easily gone either way.
There is reason for Navy to be encouraged about this game, though. The team went just 6-5, but it played against a significantly more difficult schedule than what Army had to endure. It's true that the Middies have only won once since October 7, that coming against SMU at home on November 11, but we're talking about an outfit that was also ranked after starting out the year at 5-0.
No one player ever makes the Army/Navy game, but Ahmad Bradshaw has a chance to be an exception to that rule.
He's a three-year starter and is the first man who has an opportunity to score a second win against Navy since Ronnie McAda had his three straight wins in this series in 1994-96.
Unlike Navy's triple-option, one that generally relies on the quarterback to do most of the heavy lifting, the Army offense loves to spread the ball around a ton. Darnell Woolfork carried the ball 124 times this season, but there were six men who had at least 40 carries and a total of 10 who averaged at least one carry per game.
Bradshaw, though, led them all this year with 1,472 yards and 11 touchdowns.
We know that Bradshaw isn't going to throw the ball unless he has to. He only completed 12 passes for the entire season, and no one on the team has more than five grabs in 11 games. But that doesn't mean he can't be a huge difference-maker in the penultimate game of his collegiate career.
Army vs. Navy Free Picks
It would make logical sense to bet the under in this game, knowing that the clock always runs quickly for Army and Navy. No one has scored more than 34 points in this series since 2007, and the last 10 meetings have all featured 48 points or fewer on the scoreboard.
That said, this is a game we feel could open up a bit. Army has averaged 31.2 points per game this year, a mark that feels awfully high considering the fact that it hasn't scored 30+ points in the Army/Navy game since 1998.
Still, this is a lot of respect for a team that hasn't played much of a schedule to date. Beating Duke and Air Force was nice, but there aren't a lot of bowl teams that have shown up on this schedule.
The Midshipmen have been challenged by the best teams in the AAC all season long. It's easy to say that they haven't won a lot lately, but they also haven't been beaten by more than 10 at any point this year either, including games against UCF, Memphis and Notre Dame. We'll take our chances with the Middies in what is close to a pick 'em spread.
College Football ATS Pick: Navy -3 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: Navy 30, Army 20