Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Navy Midshipmen: College Football Betting Picks

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Navy Midshipmen
Saturday, September 1, 2012, 9:00 am Eastern, TV: CBS
Aviva Stadium – Dublin, Ireland
Opening Line: Notre Dame -17
Current Line: Notre Dame -15 1/2
Opening Total: 58 1/2
Current Total: 54 1/2
Opening Money Line: Notre Dame -900 / Navy +600
Current Money Line: Notre Dame -800 / Navy +550

Notre Dame takes on rival Navy for the 86th consecutive season. The Irish are 15.5 point favorites despite four key players being suspended.

Notre Dame and Navy meet for the 86th straight year, and the second time ever in Dublin, Ireland. The 1996 game was also played in Dublin. Notre Dame leads the series 72-12-1, and has won 45 of the last 48 games in the series. All three Navy victories have come since 2007 in that stretch. Notre Dame won last year 56-14 in South Bend.

The biggest story should be two old rivals meeting across the Atlantic Ocean, but it isn’t. Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly suspended last year’s leading rusher Cierre Wood and reserve defensive end Justin Utupo for two games for violating team rules. Earlier Kelly had suspended quarterback Tommy Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese one game for getting into an altercation with police after a party in May. Notre Dame radio color analyst Allen Pinkett made some controversial comments this week that the football team needs “some criminals” on the team because it adds toughness. He was removed from the broadcast team for the Navy game.

Notre Dame is coming off an 8-5 season. The Fighting Irish had losses to South Florida, Michigan, USC, Stanford, and Florida St in the Champs Sports Bowl. All losses were by 14 points or less, and except for the Stanford game, Notre Dame had a chance to win every one in the fourth quarter. The best win of the season came at home against Michigan St 31-13, after Notre Dame had started off 0-2 and had to win.Notre dame was 5-8 ATS and the total was 4-8-1.

Navy is coached by Ken Niumatalolo. The Midshipmen had a disappointing 5-7 record last year. Navy won the first two games of the season but then went on a 6 game losing streak. The Midshipmen won 3 of their last 4 games. However, they lost at San Jose St 27-24. It was their 5th loss of the season by 3 points or less. A win in any of those games would have made Navy bowl eligible for the 9th straight season. Navy was 6-6 ATS and the total was 6-6 as well.

Sophomore Everett Golson will make his first career start at quarterback for Notre Dame. Theo Riddick will start at running back after he played wide receiver the last two years. Tight end Tyler Eifert and receiver T.J. Jones will get most of the receiving targets.

Notre Dame has one of the most experienced front sevens in college football led by superstar linebacker Manti Te’o. Teh Irish were #15 in total defense last year. The option that Navy runs is always tough to defend, but Notre Dame has had all off-season to prepare.

Trey Miller takes over as the full time Navy quarterback. He played in 9 games last year, and started the Notre Dame game when regular starter Kriss Proctor was out with an ankle injury. Gee Gee Greene will be the top running back, but Miller will get most of the carries as an option quarterback.

The Navy defense is led by linebackers Matt Warrick and Brye French. Navy needs to improve against the run as they struggled last year.

Notre Dame is 2-9 ATS in September games, and 1-4 overall. Navy is 4-0 ATS in September games. Notre Dame is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games against Navy. The road team is 14-3 ATS in this series and 5 of the last 7 games have gone over the total.

Of the four players suspended for this game the running back Wood will be missed the most. I am not sure Rees would have even started this game, with four players competing for the starting quarterback job in training camp. The Irish have a lot of depth in the front seven, so they can overcome the losses of Utupo and Calabrese. I still think Notre dame wins this game rather handily.

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