The Army-Navy Game: A Betting Tradition

Football Dec 12, 2020

The 121st annual Army-Navy game has been moved from neutral site Philadelphia to West Point, New York.  This marks the first time since 1943 that this proud college tradition will take place on the campus at one of the United States service academies.

Ironically, the stadium where this year's game will be played on Saturday is but a few yards away from the lush green field where the very first military rivalry game took place in 1893.

This is one of the most intriguing match-ups in many years, for a variety of reasons.

Navy has dominated this match-up over the past two decades.  However, Army looks to be the much better team in 2020.

The Navy Midshipmen (3-6) are looking to win for the 16th time in the past 19 years.

The Army Black Knights (7-2), however, have won three of the past four games and are hoping to continue their recent success.

The odds, posted at SPREADS.CA reflects expectations that Army's success should continue:

Army is laying -7.5 as the favourite with a low O/U total of just 37.


The Black Knights have a multi-faced rushing attack that relies not on any single player, but a committee of running backs.  

Jakobi Buchanan leads the team with 87 carries for 383 yards (a 4.4 average) with five touchdowns.  Sharing the potent Army ground threat is senior running back Sandon McCoy, who has ten touchdowns this season.

Look for Army to enjoy much success running the ball against a bad defense that allows opponents to gain 5.2 yards per carry this season.  Navy has also surrendered an average of 32 points-per-game and has allowed opponents to score 37 times out of 41 trips into the red zone.  Army averages 30 points-per-game and should reach that total here in the comfortable confines of home at West Point.


Navy has a strong rushing attack, as well, led by Sr. fullback Nelson Smith.  He's carried 117 times for 622 yards (a 5.3 average) and scored eight touchdowns.

Other than that, Navy doesn't have much of a team that inspires confidence.

Army, susceptible to the pass, an be beat through the air, but Navy simply does not have the passing attack capable of exploiting this weakness.

Accordingly, there's really no reason to bet Navy in this game given the line at just over a touchdown.  We would need at least +10 to seriously consider a bet on the underdog, which is perhaps given a bit too much credit on the basis of their historical dominance and the rivalry nature of the contest.


Play this game to go OVER the total.  Neither offence is explosive, and rushing attacks will eat up the clock.  But this total is too low for a game where both defenses have vulnerabilities.  OVER 37 points is our recommendation.  

If you want to play a side, or like to bet parlays, the favoured Black Knights should provide enough offence and scoring to cover the number and eclipse the total.

ARMY 33 – NAVY 13 is our prediction.