Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Navy Midshipmen Spread Play
When: Saturday, October 23, Noon
Where: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, Md.
Point Spread: CIN -27.5/SMU +27.5
Total: O/U 49
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The Bearcats are now looking down on everyone but Georgia, an unfamiliar position for a school that has bounced around from conference to conference and appears to finally be in a position to play on college football’s grandest stage. But to get there, Cincinnati still has to go through six regular-season games plus the American title game, with at least four of those contests coming on the road.
This is the first of those road tests, as Navy matches up with Cincinnati for the first time since 2018. The Midshipmen handled Cincinnati by 10 points the last time the Bearcats came to Annapolis on their way to a 5-0 start, but the Mids haven’t exactly gotten the job done since that day. When the teams met in 2018 at Nippert Stadium, the Bearcats were much better prepared and blanked the Mids 42-0, one of only two shutout losses for Navy in the past five seasons. The Mids have played better than a season ago this time around, but they’re still barely treading water in the American, as they’ve lost three of their first four games in the league and have won just two of their past six league games at home.
How the Public is Betting the Cincinnati/Navy Game
The public and the sharps are together on this one, backing Cincinnati enough to push the spread from -27 to -27.5 and get the number toward a critical number of 28. The public has put 75 percent of tickets on the Bearcats, and the expectations are that defense will carry the day, as the number has ticked down from 51.5 to 49.
Cincinnati reports no injuries.
Safety Mitchell West (leg) and quarterback Tai Lavatai (head) are questionable.
When Cincinnati Has the Ball
Desmond Ridder didn’t do much against UCF because he didn’t have to do much against the Knights. Ridder only tossed for 140 yards, but it didn’t matter because Jerome Ford ran all over the Knights for 189 yards and four touchdowns in the first half, giving the Bearcats a 35-7 lead at halftime and allowing them to roll to a cover.
The big question is whether the Bearcats will again choose to attack on the ground or return to Ridder, getting the job done through the air. Against Navy’s weak defense, anything is likely to work, as the Mids have allowed three straight opponents to top 30 points against them and give up 32.7 points per game. With Cincinnati scoring 43.5 points per game, there doesn’t seem to be a lot that Navy can do to keep the Bearcats from doing what they want in this one.
If the numbers are to be believed, Cincinnati is expected to score around 38 points in this one, and the Bearcats have hit that number in seven straight regular-season league games. Realistically, the only way that Cincinnati doesn’t hit that again is if the triple-option keeps the Bearcats from getting on the field.
When Navy Has the Ball
The worry is that if Tai Lavatai is out, Navy’s famed triple-option might be relegated to a double option because the Mids might not have a quarterback who can actually run well enough. Chance Warren got two carries for nine yards against Memphis, while Xavier Arline lost five yards on his five carries. The Mids only gained three yards a carry on 65 attempts against Memphis, a major reason why they couldn’t stay in the game.
Cincinnati knows what’s coming and is likely well inclined to stop it, as the Bearcats came up against this exact same system last year against Army. The triple-option tends to lose its steam the more often you see it, and one benefit to knowing you’re going to regularly see it is that you can schedule any of the service academies or Georgia Southern and know exactly what you’re getting when you see another triple-option team. Cincinnati held Army to 10 points a year ago, and quite frankly, the Black Knights run the triple option a heck of a lot better than the Midshipmen do. Isaac Ruoss will get most of the carries in this one, with Carlino’s Acie serving as the speed back. If neither gets going, the Mids won’t be able to stay in this game.
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October has been Cincinnati’s time, as the Bearcats have covered in five straight games in the year’s 10th month. The Bearcats are also used to being the favorite by now, covering in six of their past eight games in the American. Navy has also been a tough out in AAC play, covering in 16 of its last 22 games against league foes.
Something does have to give as far as the total goes, as the Mids have gone under in five of seven against a team above .500, while the Bearcats have played to the over in each of their past five games in conference play. However, Cincinnati doesn’t always bring its scoring show on the road; the Bearcats have gone under in five of seven away.
If the showers in the forecast are out of the way by kickoff, it’s going to be a great day for football, as the expected temperature is 64 degrees for this game. Wind will blow at seven miles per hour to the northwest.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Right now, Cincinnati is rolling, and I cannot see Navy being the team that slows the Bearcats down. Cincinnati has been doing anything it wants with the ball as of late, and as long as the Bearcats don’t get complacent in this one, they should have no problem moving past Navy here.
The spread is high, but there’s no guarantee Navy does much of anything on offense without Lavatai. Give me Cincinnati. Bet your Week 8 college football picks and Week 7 NFL picks for FREE by scoring a 100% bonus on your first deposit up to $1000 at BetNow Sportsbook!