College Football Week 0 Preview: Notre Dame Odds vs. Navy
The 2023 college football season kicks off this Saturday, August 26, with Week 0. The very first game on the slate is a historic rivalry – the Navy Midshipmen take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Best available odds across the best college football betting sites have Notre Dame at in the game, while Navy is a longshot on the moneyline. The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. from Dublin, Ireland and will be broadcast on NBC/Peacock.
College football opening odds at FanDuel Sportsbook initially had Notre Dame as a -17.5 favorite, but the market quickly moved the number. We’ll get into why that may be below. Dig into the first college football game preview of the season!
Navy Midshipmen Vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Odds
Compare Navy vs. Notre Dame odds from the best sports betting sites below. Click on odds anywhere in this post to bet on the game.
Navy Vs. Notre Dame Quick Look
|1.88 (91st)||PPD (2022)||2.68 (32nd)|
|2.14 (56th)||PPD/A (2022)||1.81 (24th)|
|4.7 (110th)||YPP (2022)||5.8 (44th)|
|5.8 (94th)||YPP/A (2022)||4.9 (27th)|
|0-2||Neutral Site (2022)||2-0|
Table Key: Power (TheLines aggregate power rating); KFord (KFord Power Rating); PPD (Points per drive); PPD/A (Points per drive allowed); YPP (Yards per play) YPP/A (Yards per play allowed)
Notre Dame Preview
The biggest allure this season for the Fighting Irish is the addition of transfer quarterback Sam Hartman. At Wake Forest, Hartman accrued nearly 13,000 passing yards and 110 passing touchdowns in Dave Clawson’s slow mesh system. What does Hartman do with the Irish, particularly in the absence of Tommy Rees, who left for Alabama?
Expect new offensive coordinator Gerad Parker to go to the air early – both to showcase his new QB and take advantage of a Navy secondary that projects to struggle after finishing last in passing EPA last season. While Notre Dame’s receiving corps isn’t as strong as its been in recent years, athletes like Chris Tyree should have the step on the Midshipmen. Running back Audric Estime figures to be a centerpiece in the offense behind one of the better offensive lines nationally. However, Navy rosters a formidable defensive front that also managed to shut down the run in last year’s matchup.
Corner Benjamin Morrison landed on the AP All-American second team this preseason. While a new offensive system at Navy likely increases their passing volume, Morrison won’t have as much work as he will later in the season to display his talent. The front seven will get a majority of the work, including Ohio State transfer Javontae Jean-Baptiste at defensive end. Notre Dame’s defensive line is a top-20 unit nationally, per Phil Steele.
Navy returns 17 starters this season, a high mark for service academies. But, they turn over the entire coaching staff, starting with new head coach Brian Newberry. Newberry coordinated the Navy defense since 2019 and, before then, at Kennesaw State. Those roots to the Owls helped hire new offensive coordinator Grant Chestnut. Chestnut brings a modified triple option system that led Kennesaw State to top-three rushing marks in the FCS multiple years in a row. While option football at its core, the system leans away from Wing-T football, is run primarily from shotgun, and incorporates more passing.
The offensive struggle begins early. Not only does a transition away from the traditional Navy option offense take time to adapt to – and not only does Notre Dame project to field a top-15 defense, per KFord Ratings – but the Midshipmen have an abundance of injuries at quarterback. Last year’s primary starter Tai Lavatai suffered a season-ending injury in 2022 and reports say he’s “fighting” to regain his starting role. Preseason projected starter Tedros Gleaton was not listed on the official Navy depth chart as he’s dealing with academic issues. Moreover, last year’s starter in this game, Xavier Arline, suffered an injury playing lacrosse and is listed as the backup.
Sophomore Blake Horvath is listed as the co-starter with Lavatai for the game; Horvath has no collegiate action yet.
Defensively, Navy returns their entire secondary. However, that unit ranks 10th in the AAC alone, per Phil Steele’s unit rankings. Aside from ranking 131st in pass EPA last year, Navy also ranked 127th in passing success rate allowed and last in overall early down success rate allowed.
Week 0 Preview: Navy Vs. Notre Dame Odds
Although returning production points toward improvement (even bad production), Notre Dame’s offensive corps are vastly more skilled than Navy’s defense, perhaps save for along the line of scrimmage. On the flip side, Notre Dame is unable to replicate Navy’s offense in practice, especially with a new system. The beginning of this game may feature scoring that tapers as the day goes on and Notre Dame adjusts. But with the ability to throw the ball at will, I anticipate Notre Dame doing a bulk of the early scoring.
According to TheLines aggregate power ratings, Notre Dame may be undervalued at -20.5. The Irish project as -26.5 favorites on the neutral site over their traditional rival. At time of writing, 20.5s are disappearing in favor of -21, a high but key figure in football betting. Those looking to back the Irish may want to do so soon, although the best numbers are lost to the summer. Those looking to back the Midshipmen may be keen to wait as the spread appears to still be climbing yet; getting the hook on +21 gives Navy backers a much bigger advantage than taking under +21.
The over/under currently sits at points. 51 also presents a key figure with totals, being the second-most frequent point total over the past five collegiate seasons (2.7%). After sitting at 50/50.5 for a majority of the preseason, 51s began to pop at books Wednesday. Again, both over and under bettors would be wise to pick their spots to get their best number.
Navy Vs. Notre Dame Weather Forecast
Forecasts as of Wednesday call for rain during this game. However, that rain is expected to be more likely early in the day, with this contest kicking off at 7:30 p.m. local time. Temperatures forecast to be in the low 60s with moderate winds. Ultimately, weather doesn’t appear to be a determining factor midweek.
KFord Rating Navy Vs. Notre Dame assessment
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“I have this as Notre Dame -22, so slightly more than the current odds. Notre Dame is power rated No. 12 nationally with a top-15 defense and top-30 offense, per my numbers. Navy is power rated No. 94 with the 75th-ranked defensive unit and 115th-ranked offensive unit. I believe the biggest mismatch is when Navy is on the field against that Irish defense, to the point that I wouldn’t be too surprised if the Irish defense registered a score.
With a 94% win expectancy, I really don’t see any issues here for Notre Dame – the Irish should roll.”
Navy vs. Notre Dame Odds: Best Bets
I have two positions on this game. First, I’m backing Notre Dame -10.5 in the first half. I expect the Irish to throw the ball frequently from the get go – barring a major pickup in precipitation – something that Navy isn’t likely to stop. Notre Dame picked up a 35-13 lead at the break last season with far less talent at QB (see: Drew Pyne) and without much action from the ground game.
Secondly, I’m backing Over 50.5 points. Neither team has the ability to replace their opponent’s offenses in practice scripts and Navy is moving toward a more pass-heavy and up-tempo offense. Against a better defensive front last season, up back Dana Fofana rushed for 133 yards (8.9 per carry). Navy returns four of five starters along the offensive line this season.
Watch! TheLines College Football Podcast: Week 0 Odds
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