Notre Dame is left to pick up the pieces after last week’s embarrassing loss against Miami. Now with the College Football Playoff all but gone, the Fighting Irish have to find motivation to close out the season. For the Navy Game, the Irish were still large -18 point favorites early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Notre Dame will be hard to bet here mainly because who knows what the team’s mindset will be. After being a favorite to make the Playoff and then getting bashed 41-8, motivation will be difficult in the follow-up Game. Navy won this matchup 28-27 last season so that may be a place to turn for revenge for Notre Dame. Either way, this spread will be tough to cover for Notre Dame because the Midshipmen have scored against every opponent this season. They’ve slipped up in the past month, losing three-straight, but came back and got the win against SMU last week.
The problem for Navy is that its defense can’t stop anyone. In its last two wins, Navy has allowed a combined 85 points. Sure, holding Memphis and UCF to a combined 61 points is nice, but that doesn’t make this defense easy to trust.
As long as Notre Dame doesn’t take a step back, its offensive line should control the Game. Josh Adams is dealing with a minor injury and has got nothing going the last two weeks, but is still at 1,231 yards on 8.0 yards per carry. All signs point to him and Brandon Wimbush returning to form against this defense that just gave up 5.3 yards per carry against SMU. If the Irish come to play, they should be headed for 40 points, but stopping Navy from reaching more than 20 could be tough.
Notre Dame’s defense has been okay this season, but has given up points in the last two Games. They let Wake get a late cover two weeks ago, while Miami did whatever it wanted against them. The Irish had trouble dealing with the triple option in last year’s meeting, allowing 320 yards and Four touchdowns and this is the first triple-option team they’re seeing this season.
It took some time for the spread to release for this Game, but only because of Navy’s quarterback situation, which shouldn’t change much. Malcolm Perry got the start in place of Zach Abey last week and he ran for 282 yards and Four touchdowns before picking up a minor ankle injury. As for Abey, the team’s top rusher with 1,202 yards, he has a minor shoulder injury. No matter who gets the start at quarterback, it probably won’t matter. Notre Dame can either stop the triple option or it can’t and after last year’s Game, the good bet is that the Irish can’t stop it. Of course, that was a year ago, so there’s still some concern with that stat.
The Midshipmen are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight road Games, while the Fighting Irish are 6-2 ATS in their last eight overall. The over is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between these schools, with Navy being 10-2 ATS in the last 12 meetings in South Bend.
Our Pick – Notre Dame -18.5