Navy vs. SMU Predictions & Best Bets – Friday, Oct. 14

1Oct 5, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Tanner Mordecai (8) warms up before a game against the UCF Knights at FBC Mortgage Stadium.
Image Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most interesting stylistic battles in college football will take place on Friday night as the Navy Midshipmen take on the SMU Mustangs. Navy is one of the only teams in football still featuring the triple option, while the Mustangs love to air it out. Unfortunately, both teams are off to subpar starts this season, with each team winning just two of their first five games.

SMU jumped out to a 2-0 start, but they’ve dropped each of their past three games. That includes an embarrassing 41-19 defeat last week vs. UCF. That said, the Mustangs were only outgained by eight total yards in that contest, and they tallied seven more first downs than their opponents. Ultimately, that loss wasn’t as ugly as it seems on paper.

On the other side, Navy is coming off a dominating performance in their last outing. They racked up 490 yards in a 53-21 route vs. Tulsa, with a ridiculous 455 of those yards coming on the ground.

Who has the edge in this matchup? Let’s dive into these Navy vs. SMU predictions and best bets for Friday, Oct. 14.

Navy vs. SMU Odds

Navy +13 (-110)+370O 57 (-110)
@ SMU-13 (-110)-460U 57 (-110)

Odds via Betfred as of 6 p.m. ET on Oct. 11

Game Info

  • Date: Friday, Oct. 14
  • Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Location: Gerald J. Ford Stadium (Dallas, TX)
  • TV: ESPN

Navy vs. SMU Betting Trends

  • Navy is 2-3 this season (3-1 against the spread).
  • SMU is 2-3 this season (1-3 against the spread).
  • Navy is 23-15-2 as a double-digit underdog since 2005.
  • SMU is 3-8 against the spread vs. Navy since 2008.
  • Navy is 36-20 as a road underdog since 2005, including 2-0 this season.
  • Navy is 11-2 against teams with losing records in its last 13 games.
  • SMU is 1-4 against the spread in its past five games after failing to cover.
  • As of Tuesday, DraftKings reports that 50% of the bets and 70% of the handle are on SMU.
  • For the total, 59% of the bets and 72% of the handle are on the under.

Can Navy Control The Clock?

Navy may be just 2-3 this season, but facing the Midshipmen is not fun. They’re a throwback to a simpler time: running the ball whenever humanly possible.

That makes them an anomaly in today’s college football. Most teams have switched to a pass-happy attack, so teams that aren’t ready for the triple-option can be caught off guard. We saw that last week when Tulsa lost by 22 points despite being favored.

That was Navy’s second outright victory of the year as underdogs, and they also covered in Week 3 vs. East Carolina. The only game they failed to cover was against Memphis, who threw for 415 yards against them.

That could spell trouble vs. SMU. They lead the league with an average of 382.5 passing yards in games against FBS opponents. If Navy can’t sustain long drives and keep SMU’s offense on the sidelines, quarterback Tanner Mordecai could be looking at a massive performance.

However, SMU’s rush defense is a major question mark. They’ve allowed 198.8 yards per game to FBS opponents, which ranks merely 114th out of 131 qualifying schools. If they’re not ready for the Midshipmen’s ground assault, their offense might not have a chance to put points on the scoreboard.

Can SMU Clean Up Offensive Mistakes?

There’s no doubt that SMU can move the football. They’re averaging over 500 yards per game of total offense, with most of it coming through the air.

However, they were their own worst enemy last week vs. UCF. They took a three-point lead into halftime, but their first six possessions in the second half featured two punts, three turnovers on downs, and one safety. Putting up yards is fantastic, but they don’t matter if you can’t turn your drives into points.

Turnovers have been a consistent problem for the Mustangs. They’re averaging 2.4 turnovers per game: 1.4 interceptions and 1.0 fumbles. Their defense is generating just 1.4 turnovers per game, and it’s hard to win without winning the turnover battle.

Ultimately, they should be able to move the ball pretty easily against the Midshipmen. As long as they can keep the turnovers under control, their offense should have a field day.

Navy vs. SMU Predictions

The sharps are leaning towards SMU in this contest, and I can understand why. Navy is a bit gimmicky, while SMU has a dynamic passing attack. If they’re well-coached on stopping the option, they should be able to win this game easily.

However, I’m leaning toward the under. I love backing the under whenever a service academy is involved. Their massive number of rushing attempts means the clock should be moving consistently whenever they’re on the field. I don’t have a ton of faith in SMU’s ability to consistently stop Navy’s ground attack, so they should have at least a few long, sustained drives.

SMU’s style of play should theoretically lead to a lot of overs, but that hasn’t been the case this season. The over is just 1-4 in SMU games, so I think this number is a bit too high. I’ll roll the dice on under 57 total points.

Pick: Under 57 total points | -110 at BetFred Sportsbook