College Football Odds, Predictions, Picks for UCF vs. Navy: Saturday’s Betting Value on Over/Under (Oct. 2)
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- The UCF Knights and Navy Midshipmen take the field in AAC action on Saturday afternoon.
- The Midshipmen are a triple-option team known for their slow pace, and that's exactly where Darin Gardner sees betting value.
- Check out Gardner's full betting breakdown below, complete with odds, picks, and predictions.
UCF vs. Navy Odds
|Moneyline||-720 / +500|
|Over/Under||52 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
UCF is coming off an early bye week after its loss to Louisville and will be without quarterback Dillon Gabriel (shoulder).
After falling to 2-1, the Knights will now go into their conference schedule with three-star true freshman Mikey Keene under center.
Look out for Auburn transfer quarterback Joey Gatewood as well, though, especially in the red zone, as his 6-foot-5, 220-pound frame is valuable in the running game.
Although the loss of Gabriel will hurt, Navy looks like a good opponent to get a true freshman acclimated in his first start.
The Midshipmen haven’t shown much excitement thus far and currently have the fewest points scored in college football. One positive is that Navy was actually somewhat competitive against Houston last week after two blowout losses to start the year.
UCF is a heavy favorite in this one, but how will the offense look after a major loss at the quarterback position?
UCF vs. Navy Betting Preview
After the switch from Josh Heupel to Gus Malzahn at head coach, UCF’s strength has been on the ground early on.
The Knights have gotten solid production at running back from Northwestern transfer Isaiah Bowser, who’s already racked up 268 yards and five touchdowns in just 2.5 games.
It’s unclear if Bowser will be ready for this game after an injury vs. Louisville.
Bowser’s backup is Johnny Richardson and the good news for the Knights is that he racked up 101 yards on just nine carries after replacing Bowser vs. the Cardinals.
Overall, the run game has just simply been better than the passing game. UCF ranks sixth in the country in expected points added per rush, but 105th in EPA per pass.
With how UCF’s personnel looks after the Gabriel injury, expect a heavy dose of the ground game from this Malzahn offense going forward.
An influx of transfers seems to have benefitted a UCF defense that struggled last season.
The defensive line got a big boost this offseason as it added Big Kat Bryant from Auburn on the edge and Ricky Barber from Western Kentucky on the interior.
Bryant has led the defensive line in snaps and the duo of Barber and fellow defensive tackle Kalia Davis both grade as top-30 players in the nation at their position, per PFF.
As a whole, this defensive line has been very impressive early on — as you can see below with rankings of 11th in Rushing Success Rate and third in Line Yards.
The back end hasn’t been as good, but that won’t play as much of a factor against Navy’s triple-option offense.
The Knights rank 72nd in Passing Success Rate, but neither of UCF’s FBS opponents — Boise State’s Hank Bachmeier or Louisville’s Malik Cunningham — averaged more than seven yards per attempt against the Knights.
The secondary is something to work on going forward, but Navy is unlikely to exploit it.
This offense has been tough to watch in 2021. It has a bottom-10 ranking in EPA per play and Success Rate and has scored just three offensive touchdowns to date.
The Midshipmen’s performance against Air Force may have been the worst of any team in a single game in 2021, considering they gained 68 total yards on 44 plays and had more drives that did not gain any yards (six) than drives that gained one yard or more (five).
The entire offense revolves around the run game with its triple-option scheme, but Navy hasn’t been able to get anything going on the ground.
In terms of Success Rate, the Midshipmen rank 113th on the ground, and per PFF, have forced missed tackles at a bottom-20 rate in the country.
Against this UCF defensive line, it’s hard to see Navy finally having a breakout game on the ground.
The Midshipmen defense hasn’t been great either, but it has definitely had a harder time defending the pass than the run.
The Marshall game in Week 1 was terrible for this coverage unit and it didn’t perform very well against Houston last week either.
Although UCF will be breaking in a true freshman in his first career start, Navy could have a hard time making him uncomfortable.
The run defense has been better, highlighted by a ranking of 10th in Stuff Rate and 17th in Line Yards.
Linebacker Diego Fagot has been a bright spot as he leads the team in tackles, tackles for loss and is also tied for the team lead in sacks.
UCF vs. Navy Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UCF and Navy match up statistically:
UCF Offense vs. Navy Defense
Navy Offense vs. UCF Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.
Against UCF’s defensive line, expect the Navy offense to continue sputtering in Week 5. It hasn’t shown any ability to consistently move the ball and the UCF front is not a friendly one for opposing offenses.
On the other side, Navy’s defense has struggled in coverage, which is good news for the Knights as they ease in a true freshman quarterback.
In terms of how Malzahn will approach this matchup, expect a heavy dose of the ground game to ease the learning curve for Keene.
UCF vs. Navy Betting Pick
I liked this number better when it was available at 58, but I still see a small amount of value on the under of 53.5.
My projection is at 51.5, but I’m really not expecting Navy to contribute much at all on the scoreboard and it’s tough to project how this UCF offense will look without Gabriel and his ability to attack down the field.
UCF’s offense under Malzahn ranks 90th in average depth of target after ranking near the top of the country last year, so don’t expect a ton of shots downfield.
It’s a small edge and I wouldn’t play it any lower, but I do think there’s value on this current number of 53.5.
Pick: Under 53.5 or better
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