Navy and Memphis open conference play on Thursday night. It is time to continue our College Football odds series with a Navy-Memphis prediction, pick, and how-to-watch.
Navy opens conference play with a 1-1 record on the year. After being dominated by Notre Dame in the season opener, they bounced back in week two, beating Wagner 24-0. In the game, the Navy offense was rolling. They racked up 408 total yards, including 245 on the ground, en route to the win. The defense was also solid. They allowed just 227 yards for Wagner while also forcing two turnovers.
Meanwhile, Memphis is off to a 2-0 start on the season. It started with a 56-14 win over Bethune in the opener. Memphis took a commanding early lead in the game. They were up 10-0 before Bethune scored on an interception return. Then they would take a 28-7 lead at the half. The defense was great as well. They did not allow Bethune to score on offense, and the only points they scored were defensive. The defense continued to dominate Arkansas State. They finally gave up their first points of the year on defense with four seconds left in the first half. It was a field goal by Arkansas State, and Memphis led 24-3 at the half. They would win 37-3.
Here are the college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: Navy-Memphis Odds
Navy: +14.5 (-115)
Memphis: -14.5 (-105)
Over: 47.5 (-105)
Under: 47.5 (-115)
How to Watch Navy vs. Memphis
Stream: ESPN App
Time: 7:30 PM ET/ 4:30 PM PT
*Watch college football LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Navy Will Cover The Spread
If the Navy is going to cover, it will start with a solid game from Tai Lavatai. On the year he has completed 11-19 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown. In the game against Notre Dame, he was solid. He had just 43 yards passing in the game but took care of the ball. Still, he missed some big plays down the field. Meanwhile, he improved against Wagner. He completed 61.5 percent of his passes, with an average yards per attempt of 12.4 yards. He was also solid running the ball. Lavatai did have a fumble in his first game, but against Wagner, he ran for 62 yards and 15 attempts with 41 yards after contact.
The run game is a huge part of the Navy offense, and it was impressive against Wagner. Beyond Lavatai running for 62 yards, Eli Heidenreich had an outstanding game. He ran the ball just four times but had 66 yards. It was great blocking that did it for him as well. While he averaged 16.5 yards per carry, only 5.5 yards of that was after first contact. He had two runs over ten yards in four carries while causing two missed tackles. Daba Fofana was also solid. He ran eight times in the game, the most behind Lavatai. Fofana had 34 yards in the game with a touchdown while averaging 4.3 yards per attempt.
The defense for the Navy was fantastic in the game against Wagner, and if they can produce that again, they will have a solid game against Memphis. Jacob Busic led the way. He had six quarterbacks pressured in the game with a sack and two hits. While he was great on the pass rush, he struggled in the run game. He missed four tackles in the run game, and many of those resulted in bigger runs for Wagner. Will Harbour will need to have a great game if the Midshipmen are going to cover. The middle linebacker has four tackles and two assists in the game against Wagner. He also had three stops for offensive failures and forced a fumble in the game.
Why Memphis Will Cover The Spread
Seth Henigan comes into the game off a great game against Arkansas State. After he struggled a little against Bethune with two interceptions, he rebounded well in this one. Henigan went 21-29 for 239 yards and two scored. The percentage could have been higher, but there were three dropped passes in the game. He did push the ball downfield more. In the first game, his average depth of target was just 3.6 yards down the field, while it was 6.1 yards downfield against Arkansas State. He will need to be protected a little better in this game though. On 33 dropbacks, Henigan was pressured eight times which led to two sacks in the the game.
Henigan was also good i the running game. He ran the ball four times on designed runs for 31 yards and a score. Still, Memphis will need more from their running game in this one. Blake Watson ran the ball 20 times in the game, with an average of just 2.6 yards per carry as he amassed 51 yards. The major issue for him was the offensive line. His average point of first contact was less than a yard beyond the line of scrimmage.
The key for Memphis will be the run defense. Against Arkansas State they were solid. On the day, they missed just three tackles and made 17 stops for offensive failure in the running game. That was led by Cincir Evans. Evans, out of his middle linebacker position, made three tackles in the running game and assisted on two others. He also averaged making the tackle just .3 yards past the line of scrimmage. Jaylen Jorner also had two stops for offensive failure in run defense. He had two tackles and averaged hitting the running back for the tackle just 1.5 yards past the line of scrimmage in the game.
Final Navy-Memphis Prediction & Pick
This game is going to be decided based on two aspects. First, can the Navy defense slow down Seth Henigan? They struggled with Sam Hartman, and while they were better against Wagner, Henigan is a solid quarterback. If they can slow them down, the second is can Navy get their run game going. Memphis was solid against the run in their last game. If the Navy cannot move the ball against Memphis on the ground, they are going to struggle heavily. That is going to happen in this game. Memphis is better on the lines of scrimmage. Take them to cover in this one.
Final Navy-Memphis Prediction & Pick: Memphis -14.5 (-105)