College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Navy vs. Virginia: How to Play the Total
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- Virginia will once again likely be an elite defensive team that plays at an extremely slow pace.
- Navy only lost three games in its COVID-shortened season in 2020-21 and return decent production from that squad.
- D.J. James breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.
Navy vs. Virginia Odds
-109o / -113u
-109o / -113u
The beginning of the 2021-22 college basketball season provides plenty of promise for title contenders.
Teams will actually be able to play in front of fans this season, which could provide a home-court advantage component that was sorely lacking in the 2020-21 campaign.
The Virginia Cavaliers look to potentially expand upon a lackluster end to last season, where the Ohio Bobcats upset them in the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament.
Their opponents, the Navy Midshipmen, are looking to build off of a 2020-2021 shortened season that saw them finish at 15-3.
Both of these squads play at an extremely slow pace, so will that continue as it has in the past?
Navy is a unique team. With all walk-ons, the Midshipmen are a bit tougher to handicap at the start of the season because of the lack of knowledge amongst newcomers.
That said, they return a lineup of exclusively upperclassmen that had an impressive run in 2020-21, even with a lack of a robust schedule.
However, they lose their most aggressive offensive weapon in Cam Davis, who averaged over 16 points in both his junior and senior seasons.
John Carter Jr., Richard Njoku or Greg Summers — or a combination of the three — will fill his shoes as the season wears on. Then again, Davis shot over 35% from 3-point range last year, while Summers and Njoku marked under 10%.
Carter shot 32.6%, but even this is nothing to write home about. The issue beyond the arc likely persists and this could contribute to issues down the stretch if trailing the Cavaliers in this matchup.
Navy also does typically run a deep bench. Last season, nine guys played at least 16 minutes per game, so expect more of the same this year.
Although the Midshipmen are not very flashy, they crash the glass better than much of the NCAA. They were 28th in offensive rebounding percentage last season.
This explains their pace.
This is where the angle comes into play. Navy ranked 347th out of 358 in average possession length offensively (19.9 seconds per possession). It held its opponents to the same at 18.3 seconds per possession, which ranked 347th, as well.
The Midshipmen’s defense is not necessarily the strongest but they tend to dictate the pace of play. Expect more of the same from the Midshipmen vs. a like-minded team in Virginia.
Virginia is notoriously one of the slowest teams in college basketball from year-to-year.
That will not change in 2021-2022, even with the additions of Armaan Franklin from Indiana and Jayden Gardner from East Carolina.
Franklin fits the prototype of a UVA ballplayer. He averaged 1.2 steals per game last season.
Gardner plays above his height. The 6-foot-6 forward was able to bash with the bigs of the AAC, so fans will see how he transitions to ACC ball. He averaged 18.3 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game. Coming from a team that ranked 62nd — as opposed to 353rd — in tempo could be a rude, early awakening, though.
Head coach Tony Bennett needed to fill the holes left by Sam Hauser and Jay Huff in the post. They were UVA’s two leading scorers last season.
With the slow pace, Bennett likes to play through his big men, so Gardner could see the lion’s share of touches in this matchup with Navy.
Losing Trey Murphy III and Tomas Woldetensae did not help, either, as those four players were by far Virginia’s best long-range shooters. Four-star recruit, Taine Murray could be the next best option, but he has yet to prove his worth beyond the arc at the NCAA level.
Like Navy, Bennett will need to find where UVA’s source of outside shooting will reside. In turn, this could slow down the Cavs’ pace of play even further.
Virginia also dictated the pace of each game it played in, and if it did not, it tended to struggle (i.e. in Louisville last season where it lost, 80-73).
Yes, the Cavs have a vast amount of turnover on this roster, but Gardner and Franklin should adjust quickly.
Last season, UVA ranked 353rd in offensive time of possession at 20.8 seconds per possession and 351st in defensive time of possession at 18.6 seconds.
Bennett’s system is standard. Expect more of the same in this game.
Navy vs. Virginia Betting Pick
Both of these teams play at a slow pace. Since both teams tend to slow the game down, there is no other angle but the under.
They both lost at least one significant source of outside shooting, and they will need to solve the issue as the season goes along. Do not expect that to happen in the first game.
Sure, Navy’s defense is not foolproof and Virginia is very efficient in its half-court game, but 125 points is still a bit too high.
The line currently sits at 125 (-113) at BetRivers, so play this down to 123 (-110). There are a couple more points available. Get ready for potentially the slowest game on opening night of the 2021-22 college basketball season.
Pick: Under 125 (Play to 123 at -110)
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