Navy Midshipmen at Connecticut Huskies Pick 11/1/19
Navy Midshipmen (6-1) at Connecticut Huskies (2-6)
When: Friday, November 1, 8 p.m EDT
Where: Rentschler Field, East Hartford, Conn.
Point Spread: NAVY -27 / UCON +27 (Bookmaker)
Total: O/U 56.5
Outlook For Week 10
Navy has struggled in the past two seasons as the reality of competing in the American has caught up with it, but it’s bounced back pretty nicely this season. The Midshipmen are 6-1 and have only managed to lose to Memphis, which sets it up well for a high finish in the league and a chance at winning the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy back from Army. This team has improved quite a bit from last year and could even steal the American West if it can take down SMU later this month.
Connecticut, on the other hand, is finding life rough in its final go-around in the American. The Huskies will be kicked out of the league at the end of this season because the school chose to leave the American for basketball and return to the Big East. The American decided that it had no interest in the Huskies’ moribund football team without the big name that is Connecticut basketball. The Huskies have to run the table just to make a bowl game, and that looks pretty unlikely.
How the Public is Betting the Navy/Connecticut Game
The total has increased by 4.5 points since the opening, jumping from 52 to 56.5. The line has shifted a point in Navy’s favor after starting at 26.5.
Linebacker Tama Tuitele is questionable for Friday night with a knee injury that kept him out of the Midshipmen’s most recent contest.
Wide receiver Ardell Brown is questionable with a leg injury, while quarterback Mike Beaudry has been out two weeks with an arm injury and is questionable.
More Picks: Georgia at Florida Prediction
When Navy Has the Ball
Navy’s offense is all about running the ball, as the Midshipmen cling to the triple option and use it almost exclusively. There aren’t many teams (essentially just the service academies and Georgia Southern) who have seen their quarterback run three times as often as he’s thrown, but that’s precisely what the Midshipmen do with Malcolm Perry. Perry is usually the man keeping the ball when it’s snapped, but Nelson Smith has proven to be a capable option at fullback to give Navy multiple options that have led it to a 6-1 start. Passing, however, isn’t something that he does all that often, as Navy’s leading receiver is Mychal Cooper, who has a mere eight catches on the season. Basically, Navy only passes when it’s absolutely necessary, and more often than not, it isn’t required. It shouldn’t be necessary against a Connecticut team that gave up 48 points to South Florida and 49 to Tulane.
When Connecticut Has the Ball
When you’re on your third quarterback of the season, the odds are that something didn’t work out quite right. That’s exactly what’s happened with the Huskies, who have seen both Beaudry and Steven Krajewski end up on the bench with injuries and have now turned to Jack Zergiotis to try to navigate them through a difficult season. As you might have expected, a freshman third-string quarterback who couldn’t get higher than that on Connecticut’s depth chart really hasn’t had much success. Zergiotis has only thrown multiple touchdowns against tanking Houston, and the Huskies don’t really have much of a running game to take the pressure off of him. Basically, the Huskies don’t have any particular strength to speak of on offense, which is one reason that this line is so high.
Minimal history exists here between these teams, as Navy and Connecticut play in different divisions, and the teams have only met twice as conference rivals. Both of these games were fairly close affairs, with Navy winning 28-18 and 28-24. Given the lack of history, there’s not much to glean from the trends here, so it’s a better idea to look at the teams themselves. Navy has been an excellent cover team this season, having beaten the spread in eight of its last 11 games with one push. Navy has also been outstanding in November, as the Midshipmen have won 15 of their past 21 games ATS in November. Connecticut is on the other end of the spectrum, having lost 12 of their previous 17 ATS in November and have failed to cover in five of their past six Friday games.
For the points, something will have to give, as the under has hit in four of their past five home games for Uconn, but Navy has hit the over in four of its past five contests.
Rain is a possibility for this game, with temperatures at around 63 degrees on Friday.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
Connecticut can’t stop the run, and a wet field could make it even harder for the Huskies’ defense to put a stop to Navy’s powerful ground game. Navy doesn’t have to worry about passing much, so the Huskies will be the only ones who are going to be trying to connect on its passing routes, which isn’t a great situation to find yourself in.
This doesn’t seem to be a good matchup for Connecticut, and it’s likely going to be a painful end to the Huskies’ bowl hopes. I don’t see much reason to expect Connecticut to suddenly put some teamwork together with four weeks left in the season, and I don’t see Navy getting caught taking the Huskies lightly and locking itself into a tight situation. The only real worry I have here is that the triple option will prove so effective in the first quarter that both teams decide to get their second-stringers in the contest. But even that likely won’t save the Huskies from a matchup that is likely to be one-way traffic. Give me the Midshipmen to end any hopes Connecticut has of making a bowl game.
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