The 2021 college football regular season comes to an end Saturday with the annual Army-Navy game, this year from New Jersey. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Army Black Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen
Saturday, December 11, 2021 – 03:00 PM EST at MetLife Stadium
There’s no college football rivalry with more tradition than Army vs. Navy and CBS has the telecast Saturday at 3 p.m. ET to officially conclude the college football regular season. At 3-8, this will be the Navy’s finale as it obviously didn’t qualify for a bowl. Army (8-3) will face Missouri in the Armed Forces Bowl from Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 22.
Usually, Army-Navy is in Philadelphia or Baltimore but it was moved to MetLife Stadium across the river from New York City this year because of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Both teams are wearing special uniforms as well and they are awesome.
“There is a tenet of the RFP that gives Army and Navy the flexibility to make special exceptions for something that is extraordinary,” Navy athletic director Chet Gladchuk said. “Coming to the greater New York City area on the 20th anniversary qualifies as extraordinary.”
Navy leads the all-time series with Army 61-53-7 but the Black Knights have won four of the past five. It was 15-0 last season at West Point. There were only 12 first downs in the game and neither team even reached 165 yards of offense. It was Army’s first shutout in the series since a 27-0 win in 1969. The Black Knights are 5-1-1 ATS at BMR’s top-rated books in the past seven meetings.
This Ends Navy’ Season
Could Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo could be in some trouble? Niumatalolo is the eighth-longest tenured coach in the FBS. The Middies were 3-7 last year and underachieved again this year with that 3-8 mark. There were a few games in there they could have won but didn’t. The team did play a very tough schedule against the likes of Cincinnati, Houston, Air Force, and Notre Dame.
Navy is off a 38-14 win at Temple on Nov. 27. As usual, Navy rarely throws the ball. It attempted 12 passes vs the Owls and rushed 60 times for 291 yards and three touchdowns.
Linebacker Diego Fagot was named first-team All-American Athletic Conference and kicker Bijan Nichols was the second team. Fagot leads Navy with 85 tackles and 11 tackles for a loss. His 35.5 5 career tackles for a loss are the sixth most in school history. Nichols has made 14 of his 17 field-goal attempts and all 26 of his PATs this fall. Two of those three misses on field goals were blocked. His 199 career points are second-most in school history.
Believe it or not, Navy won a game this season without completing a season pass, going 0-for-4 vs. Tulsa. The Mids are 6-1 all-time under Niumatalolo in games they don't complete a pass. Navy is 6-2 ATS on the NCAAF picks in the past eight as an underdog.
For what it’s worth, the last Army-Navy game in New Jersey was in 2002. The Middies won that to start a 14-game winning streak in the series. Niumatalolo will participate in his 24th game against Army, the last 14 as the head coach of the Midshipmen.
Army Will Retain Trophy
Win or lose, Army will retain the Commander in Chief's Trophy because it beat Air Force, which also beat Navy. So even though Army and Air Force could tie with 1-1 records between the service academies, Army retains the trophy win that head-to-head victory. The Black Knights won it last year. This season Army has faced eight teams who are bowl-eligible and six who finished first or second in their respective leagues.
Army comes off a very impressive 31-16 win at a very good Liberty team on Nov. 27. Army QB Christian Anderson attempted only four passes in that one – there might not be more than 10 passing attempts combined on Saturday. The Black Knights gouged Liberty with 220 yards and three scores on the ground.
Jakobi Buchanan rushed for a career-high three scores vs. Liberty, the 10th Black Knight running back to record three or more rushing touchdowns in a single game in 21 years. He has carried the ball an amazing 233 straight times without fumbling. Buchanan has never been turned back for lost yardage over the past two seasons.
It’s not clear if fullback Anthony Adkins will play after he missed the Liberty game for undisclosed reasons. He has carried 70 times for 345 yards and five touchdowns. Army ranks second nationally in rushing at 301.2 yards per game. Against the rush, it is No. 11 in allowing 103.6 yards per game. The defensive star is Andre Carter II, who leads the nation with 14.5 sacks.
“(I know) how hard that their team will be playing against us, and I hope that we’ll play really, really hard against them as well because it’s such an emotional game and because the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy is on the line. … (I know) how bad these two teams want to beat each other,” Army coach Jeff Monken said of Navy.
Pretty confident that Army wins but it likely will be close as Navy will be going all out in what is essentially its bowl game. So, we’ll take the points as Army is 1-4 ATS on the NCAAF odds in its past five after an ATS win. Always take the under in Army-Navy. It’s 17-4 in the past 21 meetings.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.