The Army vs. Navy game is arguably the most historically significant sporting event in the history of our nation and the rivalry will be played for the 119th time on Saturday on CBS. Ranked No. 22, Army will be looking to make history of its own against its arch-rivals, with a win giving them the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever. Kickoff from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, home of the NFL’s Eagles, is set for 3 p.m. ET. Kelvin Hopkins Jr. will lead the Black Knights at quarterback, and his team is favored by a touchdown in the latest Army vs. Navy odds over Zach Abey and the Midshipmen. The Over-Under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, has dropped steadily to 39.5 after opening at 42. But before you lock in your selections, be sure to check out the top Army vs. Navy game picks from SportsLine’s Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every FBS college football game 10,000 times, and those who have followed it have seen massive returns. Over the past three years, this proprietary computer model has generated a jaw-dropping $4,210 profit for $100 bettors on its top-rated point-spread picks.
The model made some huge calls during Championship Week, including nailing Ohio State (-16.5) against Northwestern and Oklahoma (-9.5) against Texas. And when it comes to all top-rated picks, the model has been red-hot, entering the 2018 college football bowl season on a blistering 45-25 run. Anybody who has followed it is way, way up.
The model has simulated every possible play for Army vs. Navy (stream live on fuboTV) 10,000 times. We can tell you it is leaning toward the over, but it has also locked in a strong against the spread pick that you can bank on well over 50 percent of the time. You can only see it at SportsLine.
The model knows that one huge advantage for Army will be the Black Knights’ play on both sides of the ball on third down.
Both teams run offenses designed to control the football, but Army’s excellence defending on third downs could throw a wrench into Navy’s plans. The Black Knights rank third in the nation, allowing conversions on just 27.2 percent of third-down chances, and a three-and-out might as well be a turnover if you’re a ground-and-pound offense like Navy’s or Army’s.
Army’s ability to extend drives on third down is just as important. The Black Knights lead the nation by converting an astonishing 57.1 percent of their third-down attempts, while Navy is 65th with a 39.2 percent conversion rate. Army is 6-3 against the spread this season and has a point differential of plus-11.2.
But just because Army can move the ball doesn’t mean it can cover a touchdown spread.
Even though Army will retain the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy in a tie, the Black Knights have never won it in back-to-back years (Air Force won the trophy in 2016). As if this game needed any extra incentive, that should help make sure Navy is sharp.
Despite their lack of victories this season, the Midshipmen are still averaging 289 yards rushing per game and have found an explosive playmaker in Zach Abey. He’s accounted for six total touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving and one passing) in the last three weeks.
Navy has covered the spread in three straight games against Tulane, Tulsa, and Central Florida. They’re 4-3 against the spread as underdogs.