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Pitt underdogs vs. Navy in the Military Bowl

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

In the preview of Navy, Pitt's opponent in the Military Bowl, I wrote that the Midshipmen will give the Panthers a difficult test. The betting line reflects that as Pitt enters the game as an underdog.

As of Sunday, lines had Navy as a three-point favorite in the contest. It is worth noting, though, that that's actually smaller than the five it opened at. Still, unless there's a very late shift, the Panthers will almost certainly enter the game as the underdog.

Home field advantage is generally worth around three points in a spread, so on a truly neutral field, we might have seen a pick 'em for this one. But there are some reasons to like Navy in this game besides getting the game at home. As I mentioned in the preview, in addition to one of the strongest running games in the nation, Navy wins the turnover battle more often than not, avoids penalties, and has a strong run defense. When you throw in the home field advantage, it would be surprising if they weren't the favorite.

Both sides have some extra motivation for big performances. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds will look to regain the all-time rushing touchdown record he recently lost to Louisiana Tech's Kenneth Dixon, who passed him up in his team's bowl game. Pitt will be trying to give another reason why they were worth of being selected ahead of several ACC teams that leapfrogged them, despite having lesser records. The Panthers have already done that in one respect by selling a lot of tickets to the game but can get to nine wins here as well.

Pitt has the talent and weapons on both sides of the ball to win the game. But entering Annapolis against a ranked Navy team, it's also easy to see why they are an underdog here.

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