Navy vs. Cincinnati College Football Odds, Predictions: Our Top Pick for AAC Matchup (Oct. 23)

Navy vs. Cincinnati College Football Odds, Predictions: Our Top Pick for AAC Matchup (Oct. 23) article feature image

Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Luke Fickell.

  • Cincinnati and Navy go to battle in Saturday afternoon college football action.
  • The Bearcats hope to impress the CFP committee with a big outing.
  • Check out our betting guide for this game below.

Navy vs. Cincinnati College Football Odds

Saturday, Oct. 23
12 p.m. ET
Navy Odds
-115o / -105u
Cincinnati Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

There are no questions surrounding Cincinnati from a top-25 perspective, but the biggest questions from a College Football Playoff perspective still fall on the Bearcats.

Will Cincinnati continue to shred conference play ranked as the second-best team in the nation? The Bearcats will take their undefeated mark on the road looking to win their 16th straight regular-season game against a service academy team looking for an identity.

Long gone are the days of the Midshipmen running the triple option with Keenan Reynolds or Malcolm Perry. Navy has lost 10 of its last 11 games but had covered three straight until a loss to Memphis in Week 7.

This is the first time Navy has hosted a top-five opponent since 1984, an upset of South Carolina.

Navy Midshipmen

There are issues across the board for the triple-option offense and the 3-4 defense. Quarterback is the most important position for a team that depends on fullback dive, attacking the edge or making a pitch to a skill position player.

When Navy fields an elite runner at the quarterback position, the Midshipmen are capable of running through the conference. Since Perry's departure after the 2019 season, Navy has been one of the worst offenses in college football.

The goal is always the same: ask defenses to load the box for every down before a rare shot downfield.

Out of 14 plays on the Navy TD drive, they rushed it 13 times. The one pass was for a TD. Tai Lavatai finds Mychal Cooper for the score.


— CFB Blitz (@BlitzCfb) October 15, 2021

Quarterback Tai Lavatai has been under center for most of the season, but a head injury kept the signal caller from playing the second half against Memphis.

The offense struggled without Lavatai, as backup quarterbacks Chance Warren and Xavier Arline combined for seven rushing attempts and four yards.

Lavatai is considered questionable and will be a game-time decision.

Although linebacker Diego Fagot is one of the leading tacklers in the nation, the Navy defense has struggled in all facets. The Midshipmen rank in the bottom-five of all FBS teams in pass rush and coverage.

Opponents are averaging 6.1 yards per play and have above the national average in Success Rate from any down and distance.

The rush defense has a rank of 28th in Line Yards, but the secondary has been wide open for explosive plays all season. The Midshipmen have allowed 32 passes over 15 yards so far this season, but the real issue is when the rush defense gets the job done in standard downs. Navy is dead last in Defensive Passing Downs Success Rate with a rank of 114th against the explosive pass.

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Cincinnati Bearcats

The Bearcats have the inside track to land in the top four of the first College Football rankings set to debut in two weeks.

Not only are the wins piling up, but Cincinnati is also defeating opponents by an average margin of 29 points. That number is even more impressive considering Indiana and Notre Dame were on the schedule.

The offense starts with a top-15 rank in standard downs Success Rate and explosiveness. Luke Fickell's offense has run 157 more plays in standard downs than passing downs, indicating the offense does not get behind schedule.

Jerome Ford vs UCF Highlights

— bigWRguy (@bigWRguy) October 17, 2021

Jerome Ford has become a bigger part of the offense since the 2020 season. The running back has created 34 missed tackles and averages 3.6 yards after contact. Stopping the Cincinnati offense begins with Ford and quarterback Desmond Ridder in early downs.

When opposing defenses have pushed Cincinnati into third downs, Ridder has an even split between plays for Ford or targeting one of two tight ends in Leonard Taylor and Josh Whyle.

The Bearcats are currently top-15 in Rushing Success Rate and Offensive Finishing Drives. Opposing defenses must be equipped in the trench to keep Cincinnati from putting points on the board.

Fickell returned almost every player on a defense that gave JT Daniels and the Georgia offense fits in last year's Peach Bowl.

Cincinnati could be faulted for the schedule of offenses played to date, as Notre Dame and Indiana are a shell of their 2020 versions.

The defense has ranked top-20 in almost every statistical category with a top-10 rank in standard downs Success Rate and Finishing Drives, which has been problematic for opposing offenses.

Lord have mercy. The Bearcats defense is impenetrable.

— Justin Hiles (@justhiles_) October 16, 2021

Cincinnati vs. Navy Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Cincinnati and Navy match up statistically:

Cincinnati Offense vs. Navy Defense
Rush Success1583
Line Yards1428
Pass Success56107
Pass Blocking**83125
Big Play6764
Finishing Drives15103
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Navy Offense vs. Cincinnati Defense
Rush Success3912
Line Yards6922
Pass Success13014
Pass Blocking**1304
Big Play12819
Finishing Drives844
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling1075
Middle 85110
SP+ Special Teams98107
Plays per Minute65124
Rush Rate54.1% (69)87.6% (3)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Cincinnati vs. Navy Betting Pick

There is no statistical advantage for Navy in this game against Cincinnati.

The Midshipmen will continue to run the triple option no matter the health of Lavatai but may save the quarterback with a short week ahead, getting just six days to prepare for a road trip to Tulsa in Week 9.

The real question remains how quickly Cincinnati gets into garbage time and if the starters stay in the game.

Desmond Ridder just got crACked 🤭

— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 16, 2021

Ridder has led the charge in scoring 108 points in two previous games against Central Florida and Temple, but a late hit up 28 points may change the direction of garbage time.

While the offense looks to get as many points on the board as possible, the defense has been hard at work preparing for the triple option. There is reason to believe the Midshipmen will have issues getting points on the board, especially if Lavatai is inactive.

The Action Network projection places the side at Cincinnati -25.5 and a total of 50, both with slim margins against the market.

Fickell has thrown 50 on two previous opponents but may take a different route with three road games scheduled in a 20-day stint. A live second-half under would be considered a best bet, but for pregame a bet on Cincinnati, getting their points is recommended.

Pick: Cincinnati 1H Team Total Over 21 or Better

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