Navy vs Notre Dame Preview & Free Pick [8/26/2023]

Navy (0-0) vs Notre Dame (0-0)
When: Saturday, August 26th, 2023
Where: Aviva Stadium,
Dublin, Ireland

Time: 2:30 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Notre Dame -20.5/50

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One of the longest rivalries in College Football will help kick off the 2023 season when the Navy Midshipman face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish from Dublin, Ireland this Saturday. The Irish come into the season ranked 13th in the country and are 20.5-point favorites with a total of 50.5. This will be the 96th meeting between the two football programs.

Ireland has hosted this contest twice before with Notre Dame easily winning both games. Croke Park hosted the game in 1996, while this year’s venue, Aviva Stadium, hosted it back in 2012. This a “makeup” game of sorts from 2020 when COVID canceled the trip overseas. The two schools had played 93 consecutive times until then. They tried to play that year in Annapolis but it couldn’t be worked out.

Notre Dame leads the series 81-13-1 and has won five in a row including last year’s 35-32 in South Bend. Drew Pyne threw for 269 yards and four touchdowns in that one but he has since transferred to Arizona State. Navy only attempted 13 passes in that game but kept it close by rushing for 255 yards.

Recent Trends
Over is 6-2 in NAVY last 8 games overall.
Under is 6-2 in NAVY last 8 games on grass.
Under is 13-5 in NAVY last 18 neutral site games.
ND are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games on grass.
ND are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 neutral site games.
Over is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings.
Road team is 19-8 ATS in their last 27 meetings.

Navy will start the season with a new coach for the first time in a long while, as long-time head coach Ken Niumatalolo was fired after a 4-8 mark in 2022 – the school’s third straight losing season. Defensive coordinator Brian Newberry takes over head duties and he brings in Grant Chesnut from Kennesaw State as his offensive coordinator. This is still a run-first offense with the triple-option. They ran the ball 708 times last year and averaged 241.2 ypg, while attempting 126 passes. Tai Lavatai started much of last year at quarterbacks but tore his ACL and is now battling Blake Horvath for the starting job.

Notre Dame is coming off a 9-4 season under first year head coach Marcus Freeman with some really strange results. The Irish beat Clemson, Syracuse, BYU and South Carolina, while losing to Marshall and Stanford. Sam Hartman comes over from Wake Forest to be the new starting quarterbacks and is among ACC passing leaders in many career categories. He has thrown 77 touchdown passes since 2021 – the most of any Power 5 quarterback. Notre Dame has won 14 games in a row when it has intercepted at least one of its opposing team’s passes – tied for the best streak in FBS.

The Irish are going to put up a lot of points this year with Hartman at quarterback and Freeman having a year under his belt. Navy could struggle out of the gate with a brand new head coach and offensive coordinator. Notre Dame has too much talent for the Midshipmen.

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Pick: Notre Dame -20.5