Army vs. Navy Live History: A College Football Rivalry for the Ages
The 123rd Army vs. Navy game will take place at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on December 10. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET on CBS and we’re here to break down trends from the Army vs. Navy betting history.
One of the most historic rivalries in college athletics has flipped the script over the past half-decade. The Army Black Knights have taken four of the last six matchups after losing for almost a decade straight against their hated rival, the Navy Midshipmen.
As they do every year, the Army-Navy game will take place in a standalone week, with the rest of the country preparing for bowl games or conference championships. Not only does this game have a lot of history dating back to their first matchup in 1890, when the Navy won 24-0, but it’s also one of the most bet-on games of the season since it’s the only college matchup of the day.
Army vs. Navy Betting History: A Rivalry Like None Other
Last year, only the Ohio State-Michigan game saw more action at Caesars Sportsbook during the regular season, and Army-Navy trumped the NBA, college basketball, NHL, and UFC in terms of the total money bet that day.
Currently, you can find Army as two-point favorites at Caesars, but the total (Over/Under) is where much of the wagering focus will be. A very profitable Under betting trend is on quite a run for this matchup.
Under Bettors Rewarded in Service Academy Matchups
Since 2005, the Under is an unbelievable 43-9-1 in games between service academies for an 82.1% win rate.
The total has gone Under in the last 14 Army-Navy games. Heck, the Under is 21-5 in this matchup dating back to 1995. Sportsbooks in Maryland are finally catching on, however, as the total has decreased in each of the past four seasons by a significant margin.
In 2014, the listed total for this game closed at 55 points, and last season the number was hanging around 38.5 at kickoff. There is no real number for this season’s game yet, but based on how sportsbooks wised up quickly last season, you can expect the total to stay right around where it was last year.
This game was not always a low-scoring matchup with these teams averaging a total of 55 total points scored from 2000 to 2005. The Over hit in each of the six games played. Fast-forward to the present day where both Navy and Army run the triple-option offense, which means a lot of running and a clock that’s consistently ticking. Both teams averaged just 10 passes per game, decreasing the potential for big chunk plays while shrinking the overall number of plays as well.
These teams run the triple-option offense and defend against it every day in practice. This makes it easier to stop an offense designed to eat away the clock. You have the perfect recipe for an Under when you mix a running clock with two stagnant units.
Army vs. Navy History Against the Spread (ATS)
Although Army has come alive in this series as of late, Navy has dominated this game in the 21st century. Since 2000, Navy has won 17 of the 22 matchups, including a 14-game winning streak from 2002-2015.
Still, this has historically been a very competitive rivalry, with Navy leading the series 62-53-7, and even with Army’s struggles over the last two decades against their rival, they are 7-3 ATS in the previous 10 matchups with Navy. Even during the losing streak, Army was losing by an average of 20 points per game, but they still were able to claw their way to a 6-8 record ATS during that nightmarish streak.
Over the last 26 matchups, however, we see just how much Army has struggled in the modern era as they are 7-19 overall in this game and only 11-15 ATS. A lot of the damage was done during the 14-game losing streak for Army, as they are 7-5 outside of that. Luckily for the Black Knights, they have stopped the bleeding a little bit, winning four of the last six, and they even shut out the Midshipmen in 2020 for the first time since 1969.
What About This Year’s Navy vs. Army Game?
Not only does winning this game give you bragging rights for an entire year, but Army and Navy are both stuck at four wins right now. Depending on the outcomes of their games before the final showdown, these teams could also be playing for bowl eligibility.
Army currently sits at 4-6 on the season with a 5-5 record ATS while Navy is 4-7, coming off an upset win over UCF, but they have also been a covering machine, going 7-4 ATS this season, including covers in four of their last six games. Neither team has been great and they are both dealing with injuries to their starting quarterbacks, so this year sounds like another perfect one to take a peak at the Under.
Even though the Over has been the more profitable side for Army and Navy this season, they do not always play triple-option attacks. The lines are not out quite yet as we still have a few weeks before kickoff, but as mentioned before, you can find some action on Army giving two points.
This game has so much history as these are two of the oldest programs in the country, but it is also rich in its betting history with profitable trends and one side dominating this series. Even though both teams are down this season, this should be another exciting matchup between two of the biggest rivals in North American sports.