Navy vs Notre Dame Odds, Picks | How to Bet 2023 College Football Opener
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Navy’s Daba Fofana.
Navy vs Notre Dame Odds
Dublin, Ireland, will be the scene for the opening kickoff of the 2023 college football season.
Navy will chart across the Atlantic Ocean with a fresh coaching staff after promoting defensive coordinator Brian Newberry to head coach.
The triple option had become stagnant in recent years, as rule changes have ended chop blocks outside of the tackle box. New offensive coordinator Grant Chesnut comes in from Kennesaw State, bringing a fresh look to a triple attack that includes a passing game.
The changes stretch beyond the Midshipmen, as Notre Dame was in search of an offensive coordinator at the start of the year. Journeyman Gerad Parker was promoted from tight ends coach to offensive coordinator, and he's now tasked with generating explosive plays with the biggest quarterback transfer of the offseason.
All of these variables will descend upon Aviva Stadium for the Aer Lingus College Football Series to kick off the season.
Newberry took over for the departed Ken Niumatalolo after serving as defensive coordinator for the previous four seasons.
PJ Volker steps in as defensive coordinator, but there shouldn't be many changes to a defense that finished top-25 in Havoc a season ago. Navy returns more than 77% on both sides of the ball, including the key personnel that produced top-10 ranks in Stuff rate and Line Yards.
The biggest change for the Midshipmen comes on the offensive side, where Newberry reached back into a previous coaching stop to pull his offensive coordinator.
The Navy offense will evolve into the Kennesaw State offense — a more spread-out option attack that involves the passing game. The Owls often lined up in three-wide sets with consistent throws to the outside, short passing to slot tight ends and plenty of dumps in the flats to running backs.
The Navy depth chart indicates Blake Horvath will share starting duties with Tai Lavatai. Despite never attempting a pass at the college level, Horvath was praised for his "throwing fundamentals and decision-making" throughout training camp.
Both he and Lavatai are expected to run the new offense along with former starter Xavier Arline. Expect Navy to continue posting a healthy amount of first downs, translating to plenty of clock burning with the new rules in place.
Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman was in search of a new offensive coordinator after the departure of Tommy Rees to Alabama.
Although Rees left, the Irish got the best quarterback in the portal in Sam Hartman, leaving 110 touchdowns back at Wake Forest after five seasons.
The Demon Deacons offense was tailor-made for Hartman, implementing the slow mesh RPO to confuse opposing defenses.
The Irish return their best running back in Audric Estime, who averaged 3.7 yards after contact last season. The offensive line should have no issues creating holes, led by first-team All-American tackle Joe Alt.
The issue for the Notre Dame offense will come in the number of proven targets. Slot Jayden Thomas returns the most experience with 38 targets a season ago, but Hartman has had plenty of chemistry with a number of freshman wide receivers in training camp.
Expect the Notre Dame defense to continue to play fundamentally sound ball after finishing sixth in tackle grading a season ago.
If there's an area for worry, it's Defensive Finishing Drives. The Irish finished the 2021 season ranked fifth, allowing just 2.76 points per opponent drive past the 40-yard line. That number spiked in 2022, ranking outside the top 70 at 3.89 points per trip.
The defense loses 65% of pressures recorded last season but returns its top four tacklers. Don't expect a drop-off in the defense, but stopping opponents in scoring opportunities is certainly an area of focus for the Irish defense early this season.
Navy vs Notre Dame
Betting Pick & Prediction
With news of potential weather entering Dublin on game day, the total lowered through the key number of 49. A bit of rain is expected in the morning, clearing for mostly cloudy skies at kickoff. While the wind will blow at 10 miles per hour, both teams are ground-based offenses, so the only challenge will fall to the special teams.
Neither of these teams has any tempo in their script, as both average at least 28.9 seconds per play. Navy was successful in stopping the Notre Dame rushing attack last November, allowing 1.9 yards per rush for a total of 66 yards.
With an expected sloth-like tempo integrated with new offensive philosophies on each side of the ball, a case can be made for the under. But the better bet may come on a side, as the total crashing gives more value to a large point spread on the underdog.
With the new college football clock rules, service academy games may dip to just eight possessions or less this season. The number has floated at 20.5 for much of the last month, giving Notre Dame the tough path of covering a three-score spread with limited possessions. The Action Network projection resides at Navy +13, giving the market spread plenty of value.