College Football Free Preview – Navy Midshipmen vs. UCF Knights

Jose VasquezArticles, College Football, Football

The Navy Midshipmen (+26) are traveling south to battle their AAC nemesis No. 11 UCF Knights at Spectrum Stadium. ESPN2 will broadcast the action and this daytime game is scheduled to get going at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Betting Preview: UCF Knights vs. Navy Midshipmen

Navy is a big road underdog here and is currently getting 26 points from oddsmakers. Oddsmakers have determined the over/under (O/U) to be 63 points, and judging by how things are lining up, this showdown could have some live betting opportunities.

This matchup’s betting odds have shifted a bit from where they initially opened. The opening line was -25 while the game’s total was set originally at 62.5.

The disappointing Midshipmen have lost 10.9 units this season and are 2-7 against the spread (ATS). The team’s posted an O/U record of 4-4.

The surprising Knights have gained 4.0 units in 2018. They’re 6-2 ATS and have an O/U record of 3-5.

The undefeated Midshipmen are only 2-7 straight up (SU), including 1-4 SU against AAC opponents. The Knights are 8-0 SU overall and 5-0 SU in conference play.

The Midshipmen might be on its last limbs after a 42-point defeat to Cincinnati last week. Their defense allowed the Bearcats to eat up the clock by rushing for 262 yards on 41 attempts, including four rush TDs. Charles McClelland had a productive day for the Bearcats in that one with 85 rushing yards and a score on six attempts. On the offensive side, the Midshipmen completed 3-of-4 passes for 47 yards. Zach Abey went three-for-4 for 47 yards while Malcolm Perry completed -of- for yards. Abey (37 yards on 28 rush attempts) also mounted the running attack in the loss. Perry (one receptions, 32 yards) and Ryan Mitchell (one catch, 10 yards) shared the receiving duties.

The UCF Knights just earned a 52-40 win over Temple. The team’s defense allowed the Owls to pass for 444 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 226 yards. Ryquell Armstead had a good outing in the loss, recording 142 rushing yards on 27 attempts for Temple. For UCF, McKenzie Milton completed 17-of-33 passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Greg McCrae (188 yards on 16 rush attempts, one TD) mounted the ground game in the win as Tre Nixon (four receptions, 39 yards) and Killins Jr. (three catches, 55 yards) led the receiving corps.

Navy’s run the ball on 85.1 percent of its offensive possessions this year while UCF has an overall rush percentage of 57.5 percent. The Midshipmen have run for 286.9 yards per game (including 270.2 per game versus American Athletic Conference opponents) and have 27 scores via handoffs this year. The Knights are totaling 268.3 rushing yards per game (270.2 in conference) and have 26 total rush TDs.

It appears that the Knights might hold an advantage in terms of RB efficiency, since their backfield has generated 6.0 yards per carry while the defense is allowing a YPC of 4.2 to opponents. The Midshipmen have ran for 4.9 yards per carry while allowing a YPC of 5.4 to opponents.

The Midshipmen offensive scheme has averaged 71.9 yards in the air overall (63.2 per game versus conference opposition) and has three passing TDs so far. The Knights have produced 280.5 pass yards per game (272 against AAC foes) and have 20 total pass scores.

Navy has let opponents rush for an average of 186.4 yards and throw for 255.0 yards per game. The UCF defense has allowed 241.5 yards per game to opposing passers and 188.3 yards per game on the ground. The Knights are allowing an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of just 5.03 to opposing QBs, while the Midshipmen have given up an 8.15 ANY/A.

Offensively, Lewis is up to 398 passing yards this year, and has completed 46 percent of his 61 attempts with two scores through the air and two interceptions. He has a 4.88 adjusted net yards per pass attempt overall, although that number is 0.25 over the past two games.

We expect the Navy offense to mix it up in this one. Malcolm Perry (749 rushing yards, seven rush TDs, 58 receiving yards this season), Tazh Maloy (120 rush yards, one rush TD) and Zach Abey (79 rush yards, eight rush TDs, 0 receiving yards) have each played key roles lately.

McKenzie Milton has connected on 136-of-233 passes for 2,109 yards, 19 TDs and five INTs for UCF. His ANY/A sits at 9.31 for the season and 9.91 over his last two outings.

We’re thinking the Knights will control tempo by feeding their ball-carriers early and often. Darriel Mack Jr. (zero receiving yards this season) has chipped in lately, but Greg McCrae (473 rush yards, two rush TDs, one receiving TD) and Adrian Killins Jr. (419 rush yards, four rush TDs, 244 receiving yards, one receiving TD) have been significant focal points in the UCF offense.

When these two teams faced each other a year ago, UCF got the victory 31-21.

Navy Midshipmen vs. UCF Knights NCAA Pick

SU Winner: UCF, ATS Winner: Navy, O/U: Under

Team Betting Trends

  • The UCF D has created twice the sack total of Navy this season (16 to eight).
  • The UCF offense has lost one fumble in 2018 while Navy has lost eight.
  • The Midshipmen offense has tallied three pass plays of 40+ yards, while the Knights have accounted for six such plays.
  • The Navy defense has allowed nine pass plays of 40 or more yards, while UCF has given up three such plays.
  • The Navy offense has created 20 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while UCF has created 21 such runs.
  • The Midshipmen defense has allowed 16 rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while the Knights have given up 11 such runs.
  • The Over/Under for UCF’s last game was 60. The over cashed in that 52-40 victory over Temple.
  • In its last three contests, UCF is 2-1 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • In its last three matches, Navy is 1-2 ATS and the over cashed in two of those three.
  • The O/U for Navy’s last game going into it was 47. The under cashed in the team’s 42-0 defeat to Cincinnati.
  • Navy, as a team, has averaged 4.5 yards per carry over its last three contests and 4.2 over its last two.
  • UCF has averaged 5.9 yards per carry over its last three outings and 6.5 over its last two.