Navy will sail into Memphis to meet their AAC rivals and try to improve upon a dismal 1-4 record while the Tigers are hoping to edge above .500 with a win over the Midshipmen on Thursday night. Let’s break this one down and continue to cash our college football picks!
Navy Midshipmen vs. Memphis Tigers
Thursday, October 14, 2021 – 7:30 PM ET at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium
Navy dropped their first three games of the season before a stunning victory over UCF broke their ugly streak. In that game, the Middies were installed as 15-point home underdogs but the oddsmakers were wrong, as the Navy scored 17 fourth-quarter points and prevailed in a 34-30 shootout over the Knights.
However, the sweet taste of success was short-lived as the Midshipmen welcomed 24th ranked SMU to Annapolis last week only to fall, 31-24, in a game that was hotly contested from beginning to end. As is customary, the Navy did very little in the way of passing and tried to ground-and-pound their way to victory with 177 yards rushing.
Quarterback Tai Lavatai was just 4-of-7 for 64 passing yards, one of which was a 37-yard pass to Kai Puailoa-Rojas that put Navy in front, 14-7, early in the second quarter. But the end result was another bitter defeat for Navy and one that had much to do with a lack of protection for Lavatai who was sacked three times but pressured throughout.
“They had a good plan on defense,” Lavatai said. “But I made some misreads that affect us. They didn’t want to let us get to the edge because we had success there against UCF.”
Tigers Looking to Roar
Memphis began the year by winning three consecutive games, covering the spread in two of them, and ready to become a legitimate threat in the AAC. However, things have taken a decided turn for the worse as the Tigers have fallen to UTSA, Temple, and Tulsa by an average margin of only four points.
But a loss is a loss regardless of how close the games but it should also be noted that Memphis was a favorite against UTSA and Temple while just a three-point road dog to Tulsa. In other words, these are games they were expected to win but failed to do so.
In their last effort, true freshman quarterback, Seth Henigan, lit up the Tulsa secondary for 463 yards and two touchdowns but also tossed a pair of interceptions, including one with just 1:17 remaining in the game sealed the deal for a 35-29 Tulsa victory. The senior wideout, Calvin Austin III, was phenomenal with a career-best 200 receiving yards on 13 catches including a touchdown reception.
Wanna Make a Bet?
Here we have an interesting matchup of two teams that are underachieving much to the chagrin of their fans and those who have backed them at the betting windows. Navy has failed to cover in four of their five contests while Memphis has been a money-burner in their last three games. Something has to give on Thursday night.
The college football odds at all of the best online sportsbooks are revealing Memphis as 8 ½ point favorites as of this Monday writing but I’m not sure there is that much of a disparity in talent between these clubs. And while Memphis takes a much more balanced offensive approach and boasts one of the best aerial attacks in the nation, averaging 323 yards per game (11th), we should note that Navy does a decent job protecting against the pass, allowing 234.2 yards per contest, and surrenders 126.4 yards on the ground.
In other words, the Navy defense is capable, albeit unspectacular, which is good enough to keep them in this game when considering that Navy boasts one of the best rushing attacks in the nation, averaging 219 yards per game, which should lead to plenty of time of possession.
Anytime a significant underdog can chew up the clock and move the chains via a ground attack means they will usually have a decent chance of keeping the game between the margins. Getting north of a touchdown with Navy is good value and that’s why we will bet the road pup here.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.