College Football Picks Against the Spread: Navy Midshipmen vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Navy Midshipmen at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Saturday, 10/29/11, 3:30 PM EST, TV:  NBC
Opening Point Spread:  Notre Dame -20
Current Betting Line:  Notre Dame -21.5
Opening Total:  61.5
Current Total:  61.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish aim to snap a two-game losing streak against the Navy Midshipmen Saturday

Navy enters Saturday’s contest on a five-game losing streak, which happens to be the program’s longest since 2002 when dropping 10 straight.  The Midshipmen were handed a 38-35 defeat last week by the East Carolina Pirates, failing to deliver as 12.5-point home favorites.  “This one is tough, it is hard,” commented coach Ken Niumatalolo.  “They all have been.  It is hard on the guys.”  It’s important to note that the program has suffered some close losses during the streak, dropping four by a total of eight points.  Navy is 17-6 ATS as an underdog of 21.5 to 31 points.

The Midshipmen are searching for their third consecutive victory over the Fighting Irish in South Bend, something the team has never done before.  Navy enters Saturday with the country’s third-best rushing attack, averaging 325.1 yards per game.  It will be going against a Notre Dame stop unit that ranks 58th in the country in rush defense.  The mark of a good team is having the ability to win away from home.  Navy is 38-24 in games played away from Annapolis over the last nine years, which is the 13th-best mark in the country.

Notre Dame had its four-game winning streak snapped last week, dropping a 31-17 contest to the USC Trojans as 9.5-point home favorites.  The Fighting Irish have been on the wrong side of turning the ball over, ranking 119th in the country in turnover margin (-1.43).  The team should still be motivated due to trying to end a two-game losing streak to Navy, including a 35-17 loss as 6.5-point road favorites a year ago.  Notre Dame is 5-10 ATS at home over the last two-plus seasons while the ‘under’ is 12-6 in those contests.

The Fighting Irish have had great success running the ball this season, averaging 5.8 yards per carry, on pace to break the modern school record of 5.6 set in 1992.  Notre Dame has faced the 11th-toughest schedule thus far.  Offensively, the line has done a great job of protecting quarterback Tommy Rees in the passing game, not allowing a sack in 133 attempts.  The unit is 46th in the country in rushing, 32nd in passing and 29th in total offense.

Bettors will likely back the Midshipmen due to being 8-1 ATS as an underdog, while the Fighting Irish are 6-20-1 ATS as a home favorite of 10.5 or more points.

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