Our Pick: Navy -8.5
This line opened at -7 and has predictably steamed it’s way to -8.5.
The Navy Midshipmen enter this battle with a 6-2 SU and 4-3-1 ATS record. They are 4-1 in their last 5 bouts, and have scored over 40 points in 4 out of 5 of those instances. Be that all as it may, the Navy are now fighting for 1st place in their conference with Houston and Tulsa on their heels, making this week a marquis event of their season.
The E. Carolina Pirates will share some of the sense of urgency that the Pirates have, but not for the same reasons. They’re 2-7 SU 2-7 ATS entering this week and they’ll be playing hard for next year’s contracts. Nobody wants to be the weakest link and we might be seeing a increase in effort as the season is nearing the halfway marker.
The last time these teams faced each other was September 19th of last season. Navy dished out a 45-21 whooping, at a generous -4.5 evaluation. So already we can see that maybe Vegas has issues drawing a bead on a good evaluation when these teams face off. Both teams came away with 6 penalties that game.
Navy has been averaging 2 penalties per game which puts them squarely at #1 in the league at 22 penalties (166 yards). To give some perspective as to the awesomeness of their discipline, the next closest is Wisconsin with 28 penalties (276 yards).
This could be significant because E. Carolina averages 5 penalties a game and Navy opponents average 7 penalties against. With a disparity like this, the penalty matchup could easily be the difference between a cover or an “L”.
Same thing in terms of turnovers.
- Navy averages 0.9 for and 1.1 against
- E.Carolina averages 2.2 for and 0.8 against
On the injury front, E. Carolina gains back a little bit of ground. Of course, that’s assuming that QB Philip Nelson is back in full working order after suffering a shoulder injury. The strongest aspect of the Pirates offense is the pass-game, and there are no names on their injury list that hints at that being affected.
Short both their RB Calvin Cass Jr. and RB Chris High last game, their run-game still marked over 200 yards against Tulsa. So with both of them questionable to return, it’s a matter of if their run-game will be “impressive” or “every-more-impressive”.
Overall Points For/Against:
- Navy 35.3 PF, 29.9 PA
- E. Carolina 28.3 PF, 33.0 PA
The problem for Navy is that they’re ranked 100th in pass-defense. This is the poorest part of their game, without any question, and it’s the Pirates’ strong point. East Carolina is 4th strongest in the air, and this is where this contest will be either made or broken. That said…before we put too much weight on that foot…last week E. Carolina went up against SMU’s 101st ranked pass defense, and they only managed 31 points where they were hurt 55-31.
On the watery side of things, the Navy also boasts a 4th place position, and that would be that they’re 4th in league in rushing. If they can regularly be running the ball with relative impunity, then there is no reason to think that Navy can’t best the Pirates’ air-game by at least -8.5