Week 15 College Football Free Pick - Army vs. Navy (12/9/17)

By Ryan Fowler

Navy -3 vs. Army (Covers 60%)

“If you're not first, you're last” applies to many things in life. However, when it comes to Army vs. Navy, those who sing second rule the day. Last December, after a 14-year hiatus, the Black Knights sang their alma mater second following a 21-17 victory over their rivals. Army hasn't won two straight in the series since the mid-90's.

It'll be interesting to see how crisp the Black Knights are Saturday being that they last played three weeks ago – November 18 – at North Texas. Navy will play 15 days after its last game. Facing above-average competition like UCF, Memphis and Notre Dame, the Midshipmen have lost five of their last six games.

From a statistical perspective, most know what to expect from the two service academies. They run early and often. I would like to include “efficiently,” but when these two teams met a year ago, they combined for seven turnovers. This season, Army has turned the ball over nine times and Navy 19.

Army leads the nation in rushing, 368 YPG, while Navy is second at 347 RYPG per content. Black Knights' quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw leads the option offense with 1,472 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns, while only attempting 39 passes in 11 games. Navy's quarterback, Zach Abbey, is a little bit more of a gun-slinger with 6.4 pass attempts per game, 1,322 rush yards and 14 scores.

Now when analyzing this matchup, don't get caught up in Win-Loss records. Army's 8-3 versus Navy's 6-5 means little in this rivalry. In fact, if you look back, the Midshipmen won 58-12 when they were 2-10 in 2002. The point spread on that day? Navy -3 ½.

Five of the past six games have been decided by seven-or-fewer points, with the past two meetings resulting in a 21-17 final. This will likely be a one possession game late in the fourth quarter.

We also like the OVER – currently at 46 – to hit. Combined, Army and Navy have allowed 50.8 points per game this season.

According to 50,000 games played by our simulation engine at PredictionMachine.com, Navy wins outright 74% of the time over Army and by an average margin of a full touchdown (29 -22 average score). As a three point favorite, Navy covers the spread 60% of the time, which would justify a $75 wager for an average $50 bettor.

Check out the Game Picks page for picks on every game. Bowl Picks for all 40 games will be available on the site on Monday, December 11.

12/5/2017 PM Highlight: The football engine at Prediction Machine had another huge week picking games against the spread with all playable picks going 20-5 (80% ATS).

For the second time in the last three weeks, Week 13 in the NFL went 10-2 (83% ATS). All playable sides are now a remarkable 74-49 ATS (60%) picking every game on the NFL season and 25-9 (74% ATS) in the last three weeks. The impressive weekly performance with football also includes going 10-3 (77% ATS) on playable college football picks in Week 14.

Bowl schedules have been announced and packages are now available. Picks will be published on 12/11 at 8 pm ET. In addition to the strong performance of regular season, with a full season of data and an exploitable public weighing in on the lines, bowls present opportunity, especially with totals. Playable over/unders in bowls are 110-70 (61% O/U) on the site all-time, including 44-21 (68% O/U) in featured "normal" or better plays and 6-1 on such picks last season.

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