Navy at Cincinnati: AAC Gambling Odds and Point Spread Pick

Navy has had a very “un-Navy-like” season in 2018. Ken Niumatalolo’s Midshipmen are 2-6 on the season, 1-3 in conference, and currently on a 5 game losing streak.

The team gives up 35.5 points per game, 110th in the county, and has given up over 40 points per game in the 6 losses. In last weekend’s 44-22 beating at the hands of Notre Dame the Midshipmen were down 27-0 at the half; a recipe for disaster when you run a Flexbone offense. The defense has been unable to get off the field and give a grinding offense more possessions that it sorely needs.

Senior LB Taylor Heflin had a magnificent outing last week with 13 tackles. But the Navy defense had zero sacks last week and could not get pressure on ND QB Ian Book. It takes more than one player to make a unit, and it would take a whole lot of betting action to make Navy less of an underdog on the point spread.

Who: Navy Midshipmen at Cincinnati Bearcats

When: Saturday, November 3rd, 3:30 PM EST

Where: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, OH

Lines: Navy (+13) at Cincinnati (-13) / O/U Total: (50)

Handicapping the AAC: Navy at Cincinnati ATS Prediction

The Navy offense is once again top 5 in rushing yards per game along with fellow option-oriented teams Georgia Tech, Army, and Georgia Southern. All 4 of those teams also rank dead last in passing yards per game, which is not surprising.

Junior QB Malcolm Perry ranks 12th in the nation with 862 yards on the ground, but he’s been banged up and replaced often as his meager passing skills aren’t enough to hold off constant run-blitzes.

Navy has 8 players who have a rushing TD on their resume this season and Senior WR Zach Abey leads the team with 10 TDs on the ground.

But the Mids will have a tough test this weekend against a resurgent Cincinnati team. More from the always-superb Capital Gazette:

Cincinnati has been led offensively by quarterback Desmond Ridder, running back Michael Warren and wide receiver Kahlil Lewis. Ridder, a highly-touted redshirt freshman, replaced returning starter Hayden Moore early in the season opener and has refused to relinquish the job. The 6-foot-4, 212-pounder has completed 62 percent of his passes (129-208) for 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“I think everybody felt like this kid was going to be a really good football player,” Fickell said earlier this season about Ridder. “He’s a pro. Even though he’s 18, 19 years old, he’s a pro. He loves what he’s doing, continues to work at it every single day. I’m not sure there’s a day that goes by when he’s not looking and working and studying the game of football. Those are the guys in the long run who end up becoming the most successful.” Warren, a true freshman out of Central Catholic in Toledo, Ohio, has been simply sensational in running for 863 yards and 12 touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 212-pounder was rated the No. 2 running back in Ohio after amassing 7,619 rushing yards, fifth all-time in Ohio.

Lewis has been the top target in the passing game and has 31 receptions for 414 yards and five touchdowns. He was chosen as Cincinnati’s most valuable receiver last season after making 48 catches for 605 yards and five scores. Sophomore linebacker Perry Young has spearheaded the defense with 41 tackles while sophomore defensive end Bryan Wright has notched 38.

The Bearcats are back in business after stumbling 2 weeks ago against a red hot Temple team. Last week they pulled out an OT victory against SMU on a pick-6 from sophomore safety James Wiggins.

Freshman kicker Cole Smith hit a 41 yard FG as regulation expired to send the game into extra time.

The Bearcat defense has been stellar this season. The unit ranks 9th in the nation in points allowed per game, 23rd in passing yards allowed per game and 11th rushing yards per game. The defensive unit has 8 INTs and 15 sacks in 2018.

Freshman redshirt QB Desmond Ridder leads Luke Fickell’s offense and will be a lot of fun to watch for at least another season after this one. The dual threat QB has 1525 yards through the year to go along with 12 TDs and 5 INTs. On the ground, he adds 360 yards and 4 TDs.

Sophomore RB Michael Warren II is also a star with 863 yards on the ground and 12 rushing TDs. He also has 168 yards receiving. As a team the offense ranks 34th in FBS scoring 34 points per game and their 232 yards per game on the ground is good for 19th best in the nation.

I’m thinking that Navy can make a game of it – the Middies are used to beating schools like Cincinnati and some of the Navy players can remember excelling in Ohio in seasons past. But (-13) is a tough spread on which to take a heavy underdog.

My Prediction and Pick ATS

An aggressive defense will put Navy in tough down-and-distance and probably force a turnover or 2. That will make the difference on the spread in what is feeling like a 35-21 win for the Bearcats.

Take the favorites to cover.

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