Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:53 AM

BYU vs. Navy Betting Preview, Odds, Predictions

Week 1 - Labor Day Bets

Week 1 of the 2020 college football season will conclude tonight when Navy plays host to Brigham Young. 

Betting Resources

  • Matchup: BYU vs. Navy
  • Venue: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium
  • Location: Annapolis, MD
  • Time-TV: ESPN, 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Expert Picks: Vegas Insiders

The Cougars are venturing from Provo to Annapolis, Maryland, where they’ll face the Midshipmen at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

BYU vs. Navy - Betting Odds

Line Movements

As of late this morning, DraftKings had Navy installed as a 1.5-point home favorite at a -106 price. The Cougars were +1.5 at a -115 price. However, the betting shop moved the number three points in the span of an hour.

By 1:00 p.m. Eastern, DraftKings had BYU as a 1.5-point favorite at even money. Navy was +1.5 at a -122 price. The total was 48.5 points.

DraftKings also had numbers for the first quarter, with BYU at -0.5 points for a +128 return. The total was 10.5 points (‘under’ -120, ‘over’ -109). For first-half bets, the Cougars were -0.5 at even money and Navy was +0.5 (-129). The total was 24.5 points (‘under’ -122, ‘over’ -106).

The number on the side has been bouncing around all week. In fact, DraftKings was one of the few spots that had Navy favored late this morning before making the adjustment. The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas had BYU installed as a one-point ‘chalk’ early this afternoon. The Westgate had Navy favored by 2.5 points when it opened up wagering on this contest on Aug. 30.

Jay Kornegay and his staff at the SuperBook moved Navy to -1.5 on the morning of Aug. 31 and were down to -1 by lunch that day. By the night of Aug. 31, they moved the side to pick ‘em and then BYU -1. The Cougars would move to 1.5-point favorites on Sept. 1. On Saturday (9/5), the Westgate initially moved BYU to -1, only to adjust Navy to the favorite role at -1 by Saturday night.

Then early this morning, the SuperBook was at pick ‘em before moving BYU back to the ‘chalk’ at -1. The Westgate also has the total at 48.5 points.

Handicapping BYU vs. Navy

2020 Letdown?

Navy went 11-2 straight up and 10-3 against the spread in a stellar 2019 campaign. It was an eight-game improvement after the Midshipmen endured the worst season (3-10 SU, 6-6 ATS in 2018) of Nuimatalolo’s otherwise outstanding tenure that dates back to 2008. He has taken Navy to 10 bowl games in 12 seasons on the job, winning nine games or more six times.

Nuimatalolo owns a 98-60 overall record, going 27-13 since the Middies joined the American Athletic Conference in 2015. In those five years in the AAC, Navy has finished in at least a tie for first with a 7-1 mark in league play three times.

New QB for the Midshipmen

Navy brings back six starters on offense and seven from a defensive unit that allowed only 22.3 points per game. Last year’s offense scored at a 37.2 PPG clip, but it must replace its star QB Malcolm Perry, who rushed for 2,017 yards and 21 touchdowns while averaging 6.8 yards per carry. Perry completed 48-of-86 passes (55.8%) for 1,084 yards with a 7/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Senior QB Dalen Morris will get the starting nod under center. He appeared in only two games last season, rushing for 16 yards on just two attempts. In 2018, he played in two games and had four rushing yards on three carries.

Although Morris has minimal experience, he has veteran running backs behind him. Junior fullback Jamale Carothers ran for 734 yards and 14 TDs last year, averaging 6.6 YPC. Carothers, who also had four catches for 105 yards and two TDs, garnered third-team All-AAC honors.

Senior fullback Nelson Smith has 14 career starts to his credit. He produced 571 rushing yards and seven TDs while averaging 4.9 YPC in 2019. Senior RB CJ Williams had 298 rushing yards, three TDs and a 5.3 YPC average last season. Williams also had seven receptions for 210 yards and two TDs.

Junior WR Mychal Cooper has 14 carer starts under his belt. Cooper had a team-best 18 catches for 380 yards and two TDs in 2019.

Looking for Defensive Leaders

Navy’s defense is led by junior Diego Fagot, who was a first-team All-AAC pick last year when he recorded 100 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, seven QB hurries, two forced fumbles, two passes broken up and one interception. Junior safety Kevin Brennan is another playmaker. He had 81 tackles, four PBU, 2.5 TFL’s, two interceptions and one QB hurry last season.

Cougars burned bettors in 2019

BYU finished 2019 with a 7-6 SU record and a dismal 4-9 ATS mark. The Cougars started the season with four Power Five opponents. They dropped their opener 30-12 vs. 14th-ranked Utah as 6.5-point home underdogs.

However, in Week 2 at Tennessee, Kalani Sitake’s team went into Neyland Stadium in Knoxville and emerged with a 29-26 double-overtime win as a 3.5-point road underdog. Next, BYU beat 24th-ranked USC 30-27 in overtime as a four-point home underdog. Facing its third ranked team in four weeks, the Cougars lost 45-19 vs. 22nd-ranked Washington as 6.5-point home underdogs in Week 4.

The loss to Washington was the start of a three-game losing streak. BYU lost 28-21 at Toledo as a 2.5-point road favorite despite getting 315 passing yards out of sophomore QB Zach Wilson, who injured his hand late in the game at The Glass Bowl and missed his team’s next four contests.

Without Wilson, BYU dropped a 27-23 decision at South Florida as a 4.5-point road ‘chalk.’ With a 2-4 record and 14th-ranked Boise State set to invade Lavell Edwards Stadium to put its undefeated record on the line, things weren’t looking good for the Cougars.

However, true freshman QB Baylor Romney stepped up big in his first career start. Romney connected on 15-of-26 throws for 221 yards and two TDs without an interception to lead the Cougars to a 28-25 upset victory over BSU as seven-point home underdogs.

After knocking off the Broncos, BYU defeated another Mountain West team by blasting Utah State 42-14 as a 3.5-point road underdog. Romney completed 10-of-16 passes for 191 yards and two TDs against the Aggies.

BYU extended its winning streak to five with non-covering victories vs. Liberty (31-24), vs. Idaho St. (42-10) and at UMass (56-24). The Cougars dropped their regular-season finale at San Diego St. by a 13-3 count as 5.5-point road favorites.

Then in a true road game at the Hawaii Bowl, BYU let a late lead get away in a 38-34 loss to Hawaii as a two-point ‘chalk.’ Wilson, who returned from the hand injury to start the last four games, had 274 passing yards against the Rainbow Warriors, but he was intercepted twice and didn’t have any TD passes.

Experience solid in Provo

In Year 5 of Sitake’s tenure, BYU returns eight starters on offense and seven on ‘D.’ The Cougars return their top three running backs, although Sione Finau is listed as ‘doubtful’ as he continues to recover from a torn ACL sustained last November. As a freshman in five games last season, Finau rushed for a team-best 359 yards and two TDs while averaging 6.1 YPC.

BYU was expecting Utah grad transfer Devonta’e Henry-Cole to win the starting RB job, but he decided to transfer to Utah St. after spending several months in the Cougars program. That didn’t work out well for Henry-Cole because the Aggies and the rest of the MWC aren’t playing football this fall due to COVID-19 concerns.

Therefore, look for RBs Lopini Katoa and Hinckley Roptati, a transfer from Cerritos College in California, to do most of the heavy lifting for BYU’s ground attack. Katoa had 358 rushing yards, four TDs and a 4.2 YPC average in 2019.

Air Attack banged up

BYU suffered a crushing blow at this past Monday’s practice when senior TE Matt Bushman was carted off the field. An MRI on Tuesday confirmed the team’s worst fears, as he was diagnosed with a season-ending Achilles tear. Bushman had 47 receptions for a team-high 688 yards and four TDs last year.

Making matters worse for the BYU passing attack is the fact that it is replacing all three of its starting WRs from 2019. There’s still some experience in the wideout group, though.

Junior WR Gunner Romney has made five career starts. He had 31 catches for 377 yards and two TDs last season. Junior WR Dax Milne played in all 13 games last year and made three starts as a freshman in 2018. Milne had 21 receptions for 285 yards and two TDs last season. Katoa is also a threat catching the ball out of the backfield, as he had 24 grabs for 288 yards and one TD in 2019.

BYU has depth at the QB position, with Romney and Jaren Hall ready to play if Wilson gets injured or is ineffective. But Wilson is certainly the starter unless things change. He finished last year with a 62.4 completion percentage. Wilson had 2,382 passing yards and a 11/9 TD-INT ratio. As a freshman in 2018, Wilson started seven games and threw for 1,578 yards with a 12/3 TD-INT ratio.

BYU-Navy Trends to Watch

BYU was a road favorite five times in 2019, limping to an abysmal 0-5 spread record.

Since 2013, Navy has been a money maker as a home underdog with a 6-2-1 ATS mark.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

-- Nuimatalolo and Sitake are the first two college football head coaches at major programs from Samoan and Tongan heritage.

-- Tennessee had to scrap it scheduled scrimmage for Saturday due to 44 players being unable to participate. Head coach Jeremy Pruitt said seven or eight players were out with active COVID-19 cases. Three players were injured and 27 or 28 were in quarantine due to potential contact with the seven or eight that tested positive for COVID-19. The Volunteers open at South Carolina on Sept. 26.

-- FSU senior safety Hamsah Nasirildeen is ‘out’ of Saturday’s opener at home vs. Georgia Tech. Nasirildeen is expected to play soon, but he couldn’t get cleared to face the Yellow Jackets. The second-team All-ACC selection in 2019 tore his ACL in last November’s loss at Florida. Nasirildeen led the Seminoles in tackles last year (101) and also contributed three PBU, two interceptions, one sack, one TFL and one QB hurry.

-- Appalachian State senior WR Corey Sutton has decided to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. Sutton is a two-time, second-team All-Sun Belt selection who had 41 receptions for 601 yards and seven TDs despite missing five games last year. The Mountaineers lost some depth at RB today when they announced that sophomore Raykwon Anderson is also opting out. Anderson had 223 rushing yards, two TDs and a 6.8 YPC average as a freshman in 2019. Appalachian St.’s new head coach Shawn Clark will lead his team up against Charlotte this Saturday as a 17-point home favorite.

-- The best game on the board for Week 2 is Louisiana at Iowa State. As of early this afternoon, most spots had the Cyclones installed as 11.5-point home ‘chalk.’ Matt Campbell has taken Iowa St. to three consecutive bowl games. He returns eight starters on defense and five on offense from last year’s team that finished 7-6 SU and 6-7 ATS. However, we’ll point out that three of its defeats came by four combined points, including an 18-17 home loss to 19th-ranked Iowa, a 23-21 loss at Baylor and a 42-41 setback at Oklahoma.

-- Junior QB Brock Purdy (65.6%, 3,982 passing yards and a 27/9 TD-INT ratio) and sophomore RB Breece Hall (897 rushing yards and nine TDs) were both second-team All-Big-12 selections. Louisiana went 11-3 and 9-5 ATS in Billy Napier’s second season at the helm last year. Ten of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ 11 wins came by double-digit margins. Their only losses came against Mississippi St. (38-28 as 19-point ‘dogs) and Appalachian St., which finished 13-1 and beat them twice in close games.

-- UL’s Levi Lewis threw for 3,050 yards with an outstanding 26/4 TD-INT ratio. The Ragin’ Cajuns have a pair of future NFL RBs (Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas) and a stellar offensive line. In fact, Phil Steele’s preseason magazine had UL tabbed fourth nationally at the RB position and 11th in the country at offensive line in his Unit Rankings. Don’t be surprised if the Sun Belt squad gives the Cyclones fits Saturday in Ames.

-- If you can find win totals at these numbers and prices by shopping around at various betting shops, I like Alabama ‘over’ 8.5 at a -125 price and Florida ‘over’ 7.5 at a -115 price.

-- With apologies to ‘The Hat’ (Les Miles), this is the worst clock management I’ve EVER seen in watching football religiously for four decades. Middle Tennessee head coach Rick Stockstill did own the mistake in his postgame presser, but it’s not as if he had any other options. Beyond deplorable doesn’t even do it justice. Let’s call it impressively incompetent. See embedded tweet below:

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