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Notre Dame vs Navy Odds, Picks: Midshipmen Have an Advantage

Notre Dame vs Navy Odds, Picks: Midshipmen Have an Advantage article feature image
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Rob Carr/Getty Images. Pictured: The Navy Midshipmen.

Notre Dame vs Navy Odds

Saturday, Nov. 12
12 p.m. ET
ABC
Notre Dame Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-16.5
-105
39.5
-115o / -105u
-950
Navy Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+16.5
-115
39.5
-115o / -105u
+610
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Two of the oldest college football programs in the country will meet for the 95th time in Baltimore on Saturday afternoon in a historic rivalry that dates back to 1927. They have met every season since with the exception of a 2020 cancellation due to COVID-19.

The series has been very lopsided in favor of the Irish, who lead the head-to-head 78-13-1 (sans two vacated wins). That includes the longest winning streak in the history of college football against one opponent, which lasted from 1964 until Navy prevailed in triple overtime in South Bend in 2007.

Navy has added three more victories over Notre Dame since 2007 with a few other close calls, but the Irish have won four straight.

Can Navy pull off another stunning upset to keep its slim bowl hopes alive, or will Notre Dame continue the momentum it has built over the past few weeks? Let’s take a closer look.


Notre Dame Fighting Irish

It’s been a roller coaster of a first full season for head coach Marcus Freeman. After getting upset at home by Marshall to fall to 0-2, the Irish barely avoided an 0-3 start with a close home win over Cal.

Notre Dame followed that unimpressive three-game opening stretch with a pair of impressive wins away from home against UNC and BYU. However, just when things started to trend up, the Irish got upset at home again as massive favorites against Stanford.

With many questioning Freeman, the roller coaster ride took a sharp turn upward with Notre Dame responding with its current three-game winning streak, including back-to-back resounding wins over a pair of ranked teams in Syracuse and Clemson.

So, who is this Irish squad? They are young and inexperienced with a rookie head coach, so inconsistent results shouldn’t be that shocking.

The Notre Dame offense relies on its run game in front of a very stout offensive line that continues to improve. However, the passing attack is extremely pedestrian (outside of tight end Michael Mayer) with a lack of explosive weapons at wide receiver and a limited quarterback in Drew Pyne.

On the other side of the ball, the defense has excelled at limiting opposing passing attacks but can be a bit vulnerable against the run.

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Navy Midshipmen

The Mids enter this game at 3-6 on the season after a hard-fought 10-point loss at Cincinnati. Similar to Notre Dame, Navy has 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 recently lost starting quarterback Tai Lavatai two 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.

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 in PFF Coverage Grade. Explosive passing attacks can torch this defensive backfield.


Notre Dame vs Navy Matchup Analysis

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

Notre Dame Offense vs. Navy Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 19 18
Line Yards 10 3
Pass Success 36 121
Pass Blocking** 115 96
Havoc 11 16
Finishing Drives 87 68
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Navy Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 83 80
Line Yards 118 70
Pass Success 129 7
Pass Blocking** 129 39
Havoc 69 93
Finishing Drives 107 52
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 2 108
PFF Coverage 50 128
SP+ Special Teams 19 77
Seconds per Play 28.7 (109) 28.9 (113)
Rush Rate 62.6% (11) 83.4% (3)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Notre Dame vs Navy Betting Pick

First off, this noon kick in Baltimore looks like a major potential letdown spot for the Irish after absolutely dominating Clemson in primetime last Saturday.

Additionally, this sets up as a pretty decent matchup for the Midshipmen, who have a dominant run defense. That’s critical against a run-heavy Notre Dame offense (11th in Rush Rate) that has extreme limitations through the air.

On the season, Navy ranks in the top 15 nationally in the following defensive categories:

  • Line Yards
  • Stuff Rate
  • Opportunity Rate
  • Yards per Rush
  • EPA per Rush
  • Rush Success Rate

This unit can compete in the trenches against an excellent Notre Dame offensive line that has found its footing of late. Navy remains extremely vulnerable on the back end against talented wide receiver groups, but that certainly doesn’t describe the Irish.

On the other side of the ball, Navy obviously runs it as frequently as any team in the country. That bodes well in this particular matchup against a Notre Dame defense that has struggled more against opposing ground games, ranking 80th in Success Rate against the run compared to seventh against the pass.

Lastly, catching 17 in a game with a total of 42 is always intriguing, especially with a service academy that will bleed the clock on every down, limiting the number of overall possessions. It doesn’t hurt that Notre Dame also plays very slow and has the 11th-highest Rush Rate in the country. 

For reference, service academies are 40-22-2 (64.5%) when catching more than two touchdowns since 2005, covering by over five points per game.

I’ve backed Notre Dame the past two weeks in back-to-back victories over ranked teams, but now it’s time to fade this young and inexperienced squad as a favorite, which has been very profitable this season.

The Irish are 0-4 against the spread as a double-digit favorite, losing a pair of those games outright against Marshall and Stanford.

Pick: Navy +17 ⋅ Play to +14.5

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