UCF vs Navy Updated Odds, Predictions: NCAAF Week 12 Betting Guide

UCF vs Navy Updated Odds, Predictions: NCAAF Week 12 Betting Guide article feature image

Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Daba Fofana of the Navy Midshipmen football team.

UCF vs Navy Odds

Saturday, Nov. 19
11 a.m. ET
UCF Knights Odds
-110o / -110u
Navy Midshipmen Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.
Caesars Sportsbook

After suffering a blowout loss at East Carolina, UCF bounced back in a monster way with three straight victories over Cincinnati, Memphis and Tulane.

As a result, the Knights sit in prime position to secure a regular-season AAC title and spot in the conference championship game, needing to just win one of their final two games against Navy and USF.

Unfortunately for Navy, it has no conference championship or postseason aspirations. The Midshipmen sit at 3-7 on the season but do have four one-possession losses and have been very competitive in a number of matchups with the top teams in the league.

Last season, Navy scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to upset UCF as 15-point home underdogs. Can the Midshipmen pull off another surprise in Orlando as similarly priced underdogs, or will the Knights continue their recent roll?

Let's take a closer look at each team before diving into the betting breakdown.

Navy Midshipmen

The Midshipmen enter this game at 3-7 on the season after a valiant three-point loss in Baltimore against Notre Dame in which it held the Fighting Irish to just 12 yards in the second half.

They've had an up-and-down season that started with a bad loss against FCS Delaware while peaking a few times in a road victory over ECU and a blowout home win over Tulsa.

This is your typical Navy triple-option offense. Navy plays as slow and runs it as much as any team in the country.

It lost starting quarterback Tai Lavatai three games ago to a season-ending injury. That left the starting duties to Xavier Arline, who has plenty of game experience over the past two seasons. He doesn't have the passing ability that Lavatai possesses but is a more explosive runner.

However, Arline suffered an ankle injury late in last week's contest against Notre Dame. That opened the door for Maasai Maynor, who has the best arm of anybody in the quarterback room but is a bit raw in terms of running the pure triple-option attack.

Defensively, Navy is extremely stout against the run, ranking in the top 10 nationally in a number of categories.

However, the Midshipmen have one of the worst secondaries in the nation, ranking in the bottom five nationally in PFF coverage grade. Explosive passing attacks can torch this very inexperienced defensive backfield.

UCF Knights

Similar to Navy, UCF has used multiple quarterbacks this season. Last year's starter, Mikey Keene, took over as QB1 for a few games with John Rhys Plumlee sidelined due to injury.

Keene is the more traditional pocket passer, while Plumlee is one of the most explosive rushing quarterbacks in the country.

In last week's critical victory at Tulane, Plumlee took all of the reps at quarterback in his return from injury. He didn't do much through the air (132 yards on 30 attempts) but absolutely killed the Green Wave with his legs, rushing for 176 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 18 carries.

UCF's RPO-heavy attack utilizes a myriad of weapons with differing styles in the running game. Similar to Navy, the Knights are very run-heavy but operate at a much quicker pace.

The passing attack can be a bit erratic at times, and they can struggle in the red zone with less space to work with, but this is one of the best Group of Five offenses in the country.

Defensively, UCF also has a similar profile to Navy.

The Knights excel in run defense but have holes in the secondary. They also don't generate pressure at an elite level, ranking 118th in Passing Downs Success Rate. It's also worth noting UCF is dealing with a couple of injuries to starters at linebacker and safety.

UCF vs Navy Matchup Analysis

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

Navy Offense vs. UCF Defense
Rush Success9326
Line Yards11933
Pass Success12978
Pass Blocking**13190
Finishing Drives9031
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UCF Offense vs. Navy Defense
Rush Success1710
Line Yards153
Pass Success16121
Pass Blocking**294
Finishing Drives6389
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling11031
PFF Coverage12975
SP+ Special Teams11090
Seconds per Play29.1 (115)25.0 (39)
Rush Rate82.9% (3)60.1% (22)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
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UCF vs Navy Prediction, Pick

I will hardly ever pass up the opportunity to back a service academy as an underdog north of two touchdowns. It's just very difficult to build significant margin in a game with limited possessions against the run-heavy service academies.

For reference, service academies are 41-22-2 (65.1%) against the spread when catching more than two touchdowns since 2005, covering by over five points per game.

It's also not the best situational spot for UCF. The Knights come home for an 11 a.m. local kick after two massive road wins against Memphis and Tulane, putting them in the driver's seat for a spot in the AAC title game.

They also have a rivalry game on deck with USF in the War on I-4. That could impact their focus and discipline, which is paramount against the triple option.

The UCF defense also has potential negative regression looming in terms of opponents converting red-zone trips into touchdowns. Navy might just be the perfect regression monster.

From a matchup perspective, UCF will undoubtedly hit some explosive passing plays against a horrific Navy secondary. Everybody does.

However, in order to slow down the rush-heavy UCF offense, a team must slow down its explosive RPO ground game, led by Plumlee and a host of electric backs. Navy certainly can do just that.

On the season, the Midshipmen rank in the top 25 nationally in the following rush defense categories:

  • Yards Per Rush (9th)
  • Line Yards (3rd)
  • Opportunity Rate (25th)
  • Power Success Rate (8th)
  • Stuff Rate (6th)
  • EPA per Rush
  • Rush Success Rate

They also have a knack for getting into the backfield with endless stunts and slants, leading to plenty of tackles for loss and Havoc. Navy actually ranks in the top 25 nationally in Sack Rate. Creating a few negative plays when Plumlee drops back to pass could be the key to racking up a few stops.

Navy also isn't afraid of the highway with a triple-option attack and superb run defense that both travel well. The Midshipmen are 5-0 ATS away from home this year, covering by an average of 12 points per game.

They closed as at least 12.5-point underdogs in all five contests, yet only lost by margins of 3, 3, 3, 6 and 10 against a very formidable group of opponents that included Notre Dame, Air Force, SMU, Cincinnati and East Carolina.

We still don't know who will start at quarterback for the Mids, but I expect Maynor to get reps regardless of Lavatai's status. His passing ability will better enable Navy to hit some explosive pass plays against a vulnerable UCF secondary.

Navy should be able to stay within another big number here and will fight until the very end regardless of the score, which always leaves the potential for a backdoor cover at this number if needed.

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