The Navy Midshipmen (2-3, 2-1) visit the SMU Mustangs (2-3, 0-1) in Friday night American Athletic Conference action. Kick is at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN and comes to you from Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas. In this article, we’ll dive into Navy at SMU odds, a game preview, and whether or not there’s value to be had in the betting lines.
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Navy At SMU Odds Movement
Books opened up this game at SMU -11. The market didn’t see that as a high enough mark and bet the spread up as high as SMU -14 at DraftKings Sportsbook before it saw some buyback. Currently, the line sits at SMU at home. The point total also rose at DraftKings, opening at 55.5 and climbing as high as to 58 points. The best over/under is currently .
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Sizing Up The Midshipmen
The 2022 Navy football season has been quite the ride so far. Last week, they pummeled Tulsa 51-21 behind a boggling 455 rushing yards (6.6 per carry) and over 40 minutes of possession. To open the season, they dropped a game 14-7 to FCS Delaware at home and were subsequently blown out by Memphis 37-13. For the first four games of the season, Navy scored a combined 13 first-half points, but turned around and hung 34 first-half points on Tulsa in Week 6.
Slotback Maquel Haywood leads the backfield with 5.0 yards per carry while fullback Daba Fofana recorded a trio of TDs against Tulsa last game.
Outside of the blistering first half against Tulsa, Navy is the same team we’ve seen for years: run the hell out of the ball, control the clock, and don’t let the opponent run on them. They’re giving up just 3.5 yards per rush on the season (26th) and held Tulsa to just 25 rushing yards last game.
However, the Midshipmen are more susceptible to the pass this year than they’ve been. They’re 126th in EPA per dropback allowed and over 72% of opposing yards against Navy have come through the air. It’s a big weakness against Tanner Mordecai and the SMU Mustangs, who boast an effective passing game.
Styles Make Fights
Preparing to play a service academy is difficult. Defending the triple option is a tricky task and Navy won’t commit penalties or turnovers; to beat them, you have to be the better team and play sound football and gap assignments. Luckily for SMU, last week was a bye (note: their Week 5 game was pushed to Wednesday, technically Week 6) and the Mustangs come into this game with a rest advantage.
On the season, SMU is 116th in yards per rush allowed (5.1), potentially spelling disaster for the defense.
While how SMU defends the option is in question, their ability to throw the ball won’t be. Rashee Rice is one of the nation’s best receivers and Navy doesn’t have the defensive personnel to defend him. The Midshipmen defensive front has gotten after the QB this season, but the Mustangs have kept Mordecai clean all season (just a 3.5% sack rate, 24th).
Navy At SMU Forecast
Both teams are extremely prone to allowing what the other one wants to do. For Navy, it’s all about rushing and ball control; SMU has given up rushes in chunks and is 103rd in time of possession percentage (46.4%). Navy has given up a ton of success through the air and lacks the defensive personnel to put the brakes on Rice.
That should lead to leaning the over in this game, currently set at points. However, just out of principle, I’m not betting an over in a game with a service academy. Likely, I’m staying off this game altogether. Navy’s ability to play keepaway puts both SMU -13.5 and over 57 points in jeopardy.
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