This Thursday two teams who have yet to lose in 2019 will square off in American Athletic play. The Memphis Tigers (3-0) will host the Navy Midshipmen (2-0). Kickoff is set for 8:00 EST at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium and will be televised on ESPN.
Oddsmakers opened up the line at Memphis -11.5, but early money has driven the number down. Most books have the Tigers at -10.5 and some have went to -10. The total opened at 55.5 and was quickly bet down to 55.
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Navy vs Memphis Vegas Game Preview & Betting Odds
Navy comes into this one off their second bye week, as they were dealt an unusual schedule to start the year. Midshipmen opened with a game against Holy Cross at home (won 45-7 as 21.5-point favorite). They had a bye in Week 2 before returning to whoop East Carolina (won 42-10 as a 7.5-point favorite).
It will be interesting to see if that extra practice time will pay off. We also just don’t really know how good this team is given the two cupcakes they had to start the year. Keep in mind Navy went just 3-10 last year and only had 8 starters. back.
Senior quarterback Malcolm Perry has led the charge with 184 yards and 5 scores on the ground. As usual, most of the damage has come on the ground for Midshipmen. They are averaging 371 rushing yards/game compared to just 128 passing yards/game.
The Tigers will also be playing this game off a bye week. Memphis will be looking to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2015. Last time out they cruised to a 42-6 win and cover as a 21-point road favorite at South Alabama.
They have now covered two of their first three. They cashed a winning ticket in a 15-10 win at home over Ole Miss as a 3-point favorite, while failing to cover in a 55-24 win at home over Southern as a 41-point favorite.
The Tigers defense has been impressive to start out. Last year they gave up 31.9 ppg and 428 ypg. Thru their first 3 games they are allowing 13.3 ppg and 226 yards/game. While they have had two favorable matchups, they held the Rebels to just 173 total yards in that Week 1 win.
Navy, who joined the AAC in 2015, has had the Tigers number. The Midshipmen improved to 3-1 against Memphis with a shocking 22-21 win at home over the Tigers as a 7-point dog last year. Not only has Navy been winning, they are 3-0-1 ATS. The first two meetings in the series both went OVER the total. Each of the last two have gone UNDER.
This year’s total of 55 is the lowest total to date in the series. Last year the total was 67 and it was 72.5 two years ago at Memphis.
Vegas Free NCAA Football Betting Pick: Memphis -10
My early lean here would be to lay the points with Memphis at home. I’m expecting Navy to be better than the team that went 3-10 last year, but I just don’t know that a couple of blowout wins over Holy Cross and East Carolina are enough for me to take them in this spot.
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Not only might the Midshipmen be overvalued right now, but you have to think Memphis will be 100% locked in for this matchup. They have to be sick and tired of losing to this Navy team.
I really think having that extra week to prepare for the Midshipmen’s option attack is huge and I also feel like this might be one of the better defenses the Tigers have fielded under head coach Mike Norvell. I just don’t know that it’s as obvious to people who don’t watch this team week-to-week. Everyone thinks Cal has this amazing defense and the Golden Bears gave up 525 yards to Ole Miss. Again, Memphis held them to a mere 173 yards.
If you can keep an option team from sustaining drives and put points on the board, it’s really hard for that option team to get back in the game. Bad things tend to happen to run-first teams when they are forced to throw a lot.
Memphis has covered 5 of their last 6 at home, are 6-1 ATS last 7 inside AAC play and 19-7 ATS in their last 26 off a bye week. Navy is 2-5-1 ATS last 8 on the road, 2-6-1 ATS. Give me Memphis -10.