Notre Dame vs Navy Odds, Picks and Predictions: Fighting Irish Takes Over Early

Notre Dame is coming off of a massive win last week and now welcomes a struggling Navy squad. The full-game spread may be too big for the Fighting Irish, but the first half holds value. Read our college football betting picks to find out why.

Nov 12, 2022 • 08:07 ET • 4 min read
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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The last thing anyone wants when hungover is to think through a detail-oriented task. That is essentially the problem ahead of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this week — coming off their decisive upset against Clemson — but now they face the triple-option attack of the Navy Midshipmen. Notre Dame will need to be assignment sound less than a week after its fans partied on the field in South Bend.

Here are our free college football betting picks and predictions for Notre Dame vs Navy on November 12.

Notre Dame vs Navy best odds

Notre Dame vs Navy picks and predictions

Some lines remind us how much smarter Las Vegas is than the general public. Their business model has led to massive, shiny buildings. They are clearly doing many things right.

When this line opened with the Irish favored by 19 points, it felt appropriate. Advanced analytics might have argued it should be a bit larger of a spread, but cutting into those numbers is a default when handicapping Navy. When that fell to -17, it still made sense, adjusting for the letdown presumably coming Notre Dame’s way after that unexpected domination of the then-No. 4 Tigers a week ago.

But then it kept falling, all the way to -15 momentarily before settling at -15.5. And that is a tight enough line as to scare this handicapper off backing the Irish for the game.

It is as much that movement as it is the final landing spot. If Las Vegas is this confident, let’s not disagree. Even if Notre Dame is clearly the better team, one that excels in special teams to the extent that it consistently wins the field-position battle, an area where Navy is in the lower half of the country.

That may be an odd item to highlight, but if the Irish control the field that well against mostly Power-Five teams, imagine what it should be able to do against the Midshipmen. The triple-option cannot mitigate the talent disparity on special teams.

That triple-option has struggled this season, the NCAA’s cutdown on cut blocks outside the tackle box leaving opposing linebackers and defensive backs far more unimpeded than Navy is used to. Notre Dame fans are well aware of the cons of facing those cut blocks, and they can also rattle off names that have kickstarted their Irish careers by starring against the Midshipmen.

That will no longer be as necessary, but it warrants mentioning as Notre Dame does face Navy every year. This is not a matchup where the triple-option is a completely foreign language that will torment the opponent. Irish head coach Marcus Freeman has been dealing with the triple-option annually since 2017. Defensive coordinator Al Golden faced it every year for a decade when he was the head coach at Temple and then Miami.

These are all reasons to back Notre Dame, the more talented, more complete team with history against the triple-option, now somewhat neutered. Yet that line kept falling.

Maybe that is the Irish hangover. Perhaps it is an acknowledgement of the respect Freeman will undoubtedly show Navy, not running up the score. It could be a continued knock on Notre Dame’s offense. Whatever it is, Vegas seems to expect a backdoor cover from Navy, and given the Irish defense could not be much worse in the red zone, steering away from that fourth-quarter stress makes sense.

But Notre Dame is still the better team. Navy’s greatest strength, rush defense, should fold against the three Irish running backs and their offensive line that has fully rounded into form. So bet Notre Dame to grind out an early lead and then don’t worry if the Irish tire late after a thrilling week.

My best bet: Notre Dame first half -7.5 (-102 at FanDuel)

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Notre Dame vs Navy spread analysis

After Navy won three of four in this matchup from 2007 to 2010, Notre Dame quietly restored order to a series that once featured four-plus decades without a Midshipmen win. The Irish have not only won nine of the last 10 in this annual series, they have done so by an average of 22.2 points per game — with six of the nine by three or more scores.

The triple-option has not kept Notre Dame from winning these games with ease. No, Brian Kelly is no longer around to lend his institutional knowledge to the proceedings, but Freeman has held Navy to nine points per game in his four meetings against the Midshipmen since 2018. He vividly remembers Navy running all over his first Cincinnati defense in 2017, to the tune of 569 yards, and that embarrassment subsequently led to an approach that clearly works.

And all of that came before the Midshipmen had to adjust their perimeter blocking techniques.

This spread my have fallen to 15.5, but it is still hard to see Navy scoring enough to keep up with even a modest Irish output.

Notre Dame vs Navy Over/Under analysis

If doubting the Midshipmen’s offense this week, then the Over/Under of 39.5 should induce one thought. No one is betting an Over this season solely out of faith in Notre Dame’s offense.

But doubt in the Irish defense might inspire a tactic here, nonetheless.

Navy’s red-zone offense has not been stellar this season, scoring touchdowns on only half its trips inside the opposing 20-yard line. With two-year starting quarterback Tai Lavatai lost for the season, last week, the Midshipmen went just 1 of 3 on touchdowns in the red zone at Cincinnati.

But they may be meeting the greatest salve for this particular woe. Notre Dame has given up touchdowns on 82.61% of opponents’ drives into the red zone. The only team with a worse red-zone defense has been Rutgers.

Whenever Navy does manage to march down the field on Saturday, there may be an opportunity to bet a live Over. The live betting algorithms will not assume the Midshipmen will score a touchdown, thus suppressing the numbers available. They should against the Irish defense.

The opportunity may arise only once or twice, but when it does, that live Over is something to ponder.

This was recommended a week ago when Notre Dame hosted Clemson, and it should be noted that every single quality Tigers possession ended in a touchdown, though yes, one of them was an interception returned 96 yards for a touchdown by Irish freshman cornerback Benjamin Morrison.

Notre Dame vs Navy betting trend to know

Notre Dame is 0-3 ATS this season as a favorite of at least two possessions, failing to cover the spread in those three games by an average of 16.7 points per game. Find more NCAA betting trends for Notre Dame vs. Navy.

Notre Dame vs Navy game info

Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Date: Saturday, November 12, 2022
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. ET

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