Navy vs SMU Odds, Picks and Predictions: No Lights for Scoreboard Friday Night

Tanner Mordecai might be on the verge of losing his starting gig while two floundering offenses face off in what could be a slow grind. See why neither side figures to put up points with limited touches as our college football picks dive into Week 7.

JD Yonke - Contributor at
JD Yonke • Contributor
Oct 14, 2022 • 16:32 ET • 4 min read
Tanner Mordecai SMU Mustangs college football picks
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Friday Nights and the American Athletic Conference give both college football fans and bettors something to enjoy as an appetizer before Saturday's feast.

Navy (2-3) has shown a pulse over the last two weeks after a concerning start to the season and a down 2021. The Midshipmen will look to stay the course as they face a SMU (2-3) team that has lost three straight outings.

Who will win the battle for the Gansz Trophy?

Check out our college football picks and predictions for the Navy Midshipmen vs. SMU Mustangs on Friday, October 14 to find out. 

Navy vs SMU best odds

Navy vs SMU picks and predictions

It’s been a rough stretch for SMU. In the first year under Rhett Lashlee, the Mustangs are already facing adversity, having lost three straight games. While they’ve come out on the wrong end when the final whistle has blown, there may not be cause to hit the panic button yet as the losses came to quality opponents in Maryland, TCU, and UCF.

However, I am concerned about the overall feeling surrounding the program at this point. Multiple players hit the transfer portal, and the wheels fell off last week in the second half against UCF. After holding a 13-10 lead, the Mustangs collapsed and ended up falling 41-19. It was quarterback Tanner Mordecai’s first time being held without a touchdown pass in his SMU career, and the rumor mill is swirling that heralded backup Preston Stone is vying for the starting job after playing in garbage time against the Knights. 

Navy finished a disappointing 4-8 last year and appeared to be continuing a downward spiral after an 0-2 start to 2022. The Midshipmen have turned things around since, notching wins over ECU and Tulsa, and falling by just three points to Air Force. 

Last week’s 53-21 victory over Tulsa was a breakout party for a struggling offense. Considering the Midshipmen had scored 53 total points, combined, in the first four games of year, it was an impressive showing. The 26 points scored in the second quarter alone were more than they had mustered in any game this year. They gained 455 yards on the ground, their most in a game since 2018. 

Despite the success a week ago, Navy’s offense has not been fantastic this season. They faced a Tulsa team replacing its highly thought-of defensive coordinator, and the new staff looked like they had never seen a triple option before. SMU faced one of the most dangerous rushing threats in the country at the quarterback position in UCF’s John Rhys Plumlee and held him to 27 yards, and new defensive coordinator Scott Symons has faced the option before from his time at both Liberty and Memphis.

I expect Navy to try to slow this game down to limit the possessions of this dangerous SMU passing attack. The Mustangs are struggling to find reliable receiving options outside of Rashee Rice and now have controversy at the quarterback position. I’m taking the Under in this matchup.

My best bet: Under 57.5 (-109 at BetRivers)

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Navy vs SMU spread analysis

The line opened at -10.5 in favor of SMU at most shops before jumping up to as high as -14. There has since been buyback on Navy, dropping the line to -12.5 as of writing. 

Navy has looked better lately, covering the spread in three straight games. Its average cover margin during that span? 22.3. It’s been an undervalued team in the market and is now 3-2 ATS on the season after an ugly start to the year. Perhaps this team is showing the results of improvement after starting 2-10 last year and then winning the last two games of the year: 38-14 at Temple and 17-13 against Army.

Parts of the SMU fanbase are already restless at the start of the Lashlee era. The first-time head coach is known as a bright offensive mind, but his team ranks just 67th in Predicted Points Added (PPA) offensively and the defense hasn’t been great, ranking 94th in PPA. The Mustangs are 1-4 ATS on the year and have struggled in Friday games as of late, going 0-4 ATS in their last four such outings. 

Navy is 22-7 ATS in its last 29 conference games and 10-1 ATS in its last 11 games against a team with a losing record.

Navy vs SMU Over/Under analysis

Are the offensive improvements we saw from Navy a week ago sustainable? Despite the huge performance against Tulsa, the Midshipmen still have some ugly offensive rankings this year. They sit at 102nd in PPA and 118th in Success rate, the latter of which is highly unusual for a triple-option attack in which moving the chains is paramount. 

For a team that runs the ball at the third-highest rate in the country, ranking 104th in Rushing success rate isn’t going to cut it. Sophomore fullback Daba Fofana broke out last week with a career-high 159 yards and three touchdowns — perhaps he can find more success against a SMU defense that ranks 101st in Rushing success rate. 

When SMU has the ball, they should find running difficult to come by against a Midshipmen defense that held Tulsa to just 25 yards on 1.8 yards per attempt. Navy ranks 18th in rushing success rate and 15th in rushing explosiveness defensively, so SMU would be wise to keep the ball in the air. 

Navy ranks 129th in passing success rate but 33rd in passing PPA defensively, so limiting big plays and keeping the SMU passing attack to the short-to-middle range will be crucial.

Navy vs SMU betting trend to know

The Under is 5-1 in Navy’s last six road games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Navy vs. SMU.

Navy vs SMU game info

Location: Gerald J. Ford Stadium, Dallas, TX
Date: Friday, October 14, 2022
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

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Navy vs SMU weather

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