Navy vs. Notre Dame College Football Odds & Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s Large Spread

Navy vs. Notre Dame College Football Odds & Picks: How to Bet Saturday’s Large Spread article feature image
Credit:

Scott Taetsch/Getty Images. Pictured: Brian Kelly.

  • Updated odds have the Notre Dame Fighting Irish as near three-touchdown favorites against the Navy Midshipmen on Saturday.
  • The Fighting Irish have impressed despite experiencing some roster turnover this year, but now they must stop the triple option.
  • Keg breaks down the game and shares his top betting pick below.

Navy vs. Notre Dame Odds

Navy Odds +20.5
Notre Dame Odds -20.5
Moneyline +1000 / -1600
Over/Under 48
Time Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
TV NBC
Odds as of Saturday and via BetMGM

Navy heads to South Bend, Indiana, on Saturday to take on Notre Dame.

The Midshipmen enter this game off of a win against Tulsa that brought them to 2-6 overall, while the Fighting Irish are 7-1 and trying to claw their way into a College Football Playoff spot.

Army vs. Navy is understood by most as the Midshipmen’s rivalry game of the year. However, Navy vs. Notre Dame — before the 2020 season — has been played annually since 1927.

It was the longest uninterrupted intersectional rivalry in college football, the third-longest uninterrupted college football rivalry overall and the second-longest never-interrupted rivalry in Division-I college football.

Notre Dame leads the series, 77–13–1. Before Navy earned a 46–44 triple-overtime victory in 2007, Notre Dame had won 43 consecutive meetings between the sides — the longest series winning streak between the annual opponents in Division-I history.

Notre Dame has won seven of the last eight matchups between the two, with the only loss coming when the Irish weren’t ranked in 2016. Can they keep the streak alive?


Navy Midshipmen

For Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo, playing Notre Dame for the 14th time won’t be much different from the first time he did it more than 10 years ago.

Niumatalolo said the 2019 Navy team was probably the best he’s ever had and Notre Dame still won by a 32-point margin. Now, with one of the worst teams he’s ever coached, and Notre Dame as a heavy favorite, does Navy have any chance of covering in this latest matchup?

Navy had possibly the best game it has had all season in a 20-17 win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The Midshipmen’s second win of the year also ended a three-game losing streak, which should provide them some momentum heading into South Bend.

The defense was solid against Tulsa, holding it to a season-low in passing yards (165) and first downs (16) in the contest. It will need an even better performance this week if it wants to be competitive.

Quarterback Tai Lavatai has passed for 273 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Leading rusher Isaac Ruoss has recorded 437 yards and two touchdowns this season. The Midshipmen average 18.1 PPG, which ranks 114th in the nation. Yet, they only average 283 YPG, leaving them ranked 125th overall.

Navy ranks fifth in FBS in time of possession (35:30 minutes per game) and second to last in yards per play (4.06) thus far. Navy’s defense also is gaining confidence after yielding its lowest scoring output of the year to Tulsa, which came a week after holding No. 2 Cincinnati to 27 points.

The Navy defense ranks 80th in college football, yielding 30.8 points per game. It’s also 31st in yards per game at 347.9 this season.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Brian Kelly, the winningest coach in Fighting Irish history, is 8-2 against Navy and plenty familiar with the Midshipmen’s grind-it-out, triple-option offense.

Since revamping the offensive line, Notre Dame has been dominant up front, leading to Kyren Williams running all over the place the last two weeks. He was outstanding against USC, rushing for nearly 140 yards, and became a legend when he went over 200 all-purpose yards, including a 199-yard effort on the ground when Notre Dame earned a 44-34 win over North Carolina.

The Irish gained 523 yards of total offense. Offensively, they average 388 yards per game on 32.6 points.

The Irish are currently tied for sixth in college football with 12 interceptions, which is the most they’ve had since 2018 where they recorded 12 the entire season.

Kelly said All-American safety Kyle Hamilton won’t play and the Notre Dame defense might suffer without him. The Irish defense has allowed 394 yards per game and 24.5 points on average.


Navy vs. Notre Dame Matchup Analysis

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

Navy Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 52 39
Line Yards 91 34
Pass Success 130 65
Pass Blocking** 130 64
Big Play 128 16
Havoc 100 66
Finishing Drives 79 31
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Notre Dame Offense vs. Navy Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 95 54
Line Yards 114 9
Pass Success 46 113
Pass Blocking** 22 127
Big Play 84 92
Havoc 88 74
Finishing Drives 72 77
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 60 8
Coverage 125 26
Middle 8 111 91
SP+ Special Teams 99 69
Plays per Minute 126 54
Rush Rate 87.1% (3) 52.3% (85)

I initially leaned to the under until I learned more about what Kelly and the Irish have done to prepare for Navy.

The Irish have an entire practice squad unit that learned and executed the triple option to prepare the team ahead of this game. Quarterback Chase Ketterer was recruited as a preferred walk-on, specifically for this reason.

Kelly told the media this unit has been practicing since the summer. It has done some prep during the season and this week are with the starters every day to get them prepared.

Defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman also has a long history of stopping the triple option. When he was at Cincinnati, Freeman seemed to understand how to stop the triple-option more and more every year. In 2018, Cincinnati blanked Navy, 42-0, and only allowed 124 rushing yards.

I believe Kelly has invested himself and his team fully into not only being prepared and beating Navy but dominating the opponent as well.


Navy vs. Notre Dame Betting Pick

The Irish have won 38 games in a row against unranked opponents dating back to 2016, which is currently the longest FBS streak in that category.

Notre Dame will force the Navy to pass, which will likely spell trouble for the Midshipmen. Navy has averaged just 59 yards per game passing this season.

The Fighting Irish can move the ball well against a below-average Navy defense that’s allowing 30.0 points per game. So when you pair that with Notre Dame needing to impress the playoff committee, it’s enough to get me to lay the points here with the Irish, but no more than 21 points.

Pick: Notre Dame -21

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