America's Football Game - Army vs Navy
Army and Navy will kickoff tomorrow at 3pm in Philly for 119th time, it marks the final regular season NCAA Football game of 2018. It's always a great day, but caps the end of another season, and the end of high volume Saturday action. This years game is fairly lopsided with 9-3 Army being the glaring favorite and looking to defend a two game winning streak against 3-9 Navy.
The always exciting Over/Under play in this game is really what is making the headlines, as of Friday evening the o/u was at 40. That has come down substantially from where it opened at most books, as 77% of the money is on the under. Since 2013 the under is 14-1 when two service academies (Army, Navy, Air Force) play each other. The under is also 12-0 in the past 12 Army-Navy games. Is this the year these two offense make a run at the over? Let's have a look.
Army comes into this game ranked first in the FBS in third-down conversion, that's a huge statistic for an offense that is over 95% run based. This translate to them being very efficient at running and moving the football. Additionally, to most peoples surprise Army QB Kevin Hopkins is averaging 11.05 yards per attempt on the season, that is third in the country behind only Tua and Kyler Murray! Look for Army to pop some big passes when Navy stacks the box on third and short.
Navy has played an impressive schedule and had some main stream covers against Notre Dame and UCF. However, they are really bad at stopping teams on third down as they rank near the bottom of the FBS, allowing teams to convert 47% of the time on third down. Additionally, we see the offense running into the Army brick wall as they only allow opponents to convert on third down 27.2% of the time, that's the best mark in FBS.
No matter which way you skin it, Army is the superior team this year by a wide margin. Our models have them as a 12 point favorite, so we have no problem laying the touchdown. Some great bets to look for is the prop bet for longest touchdown, as this game is certain to see a TD run over 40 yards, it happens every year. Also, if Navy gets up early a live line with Army on the positive side would be a must take.