Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Navy Midshipmen Picks and Game Preview -- 10/23/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: Noon ET
Venue: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD
Where to watch: ESPN2

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Cincinnati -27.5
BetMGM: Cincinnati -27.5
Caesars: Cincinnati -27.5

Season record
No. 2 Cincinnati: 6-0 (2-0 American)
Navy: 1-5 (1-3 AAC)

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Cincinnati - Navy preview and analysis

Recent form
Cincy: won 56-21 vs. Central Florida on Oct. 16
Navy: lost 35-17 at Memphis on Oct. 14

For the first time in program history, the Cincinnati Bearcats are in an enviable spot to control their own destiny.

The Bearcats find themselves No. 2 in the country and are a month and a half out from participating in the College Football Playoff. They’ll put their undefeated season on the line on Saturday against the Navy Midshipmen.

Not that it was widely expected, but there was anticipation of some dropoff from Cincinnati after they defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in South Bend three weeks ago. Even against inferior opponents, not only has Cincy won but it’s manhandled the Temple Owls and UCF Knights in consecutive weeks.

It was the perfect game for star quarterback Desmond Ridder to take a game off. He only went 13 of 23 for 140 yards and a touchdown. This October victory for the Bearcats was all because of running back Jerome Ford. He carried the ball 20 times for 189 yards and four touchdowns, including a 79-yard burst in the second quarter to put Cincy up 28-0.

Any time you can get a day off for your Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback, it’s a good day in a five-touchdown victory.

Navy has actually played teams tough the last four games, despite the 18-point loss at Memphis this past week. The Midshipmen had a seven-point loss against the nationally-ranked SMU Mustangs, defeated the aforementioned UCF club at home, and only lost by eight at the Houston Cougars.

The Midshipmen were held to 241 total yards despite nearly doubling the time of possession battle (39:19). Try and find me a weirder game that doesn’t match any of the criteria in the FBS world, but alas, we have it here. Quarterback Tai Lavatai threw for 27 yards and a touchdown, which absolutely makes sense in the triple-option world.


This matchup should be over by the second quarter. Navy’s overall team is a middle-of-the-pack group that won’t be any better as the year goes on. That loss to SMU was impressive for a one-win group, but expect Ridder to come out firing this week knowing that bigger things are on the horizon. Cincinnati by 21

Betting trends

Cincinnati is 24-0 in the last three seasons straight up as a favorite.

The under is 44-20 since 1992 in Cincinnati’s games in October.

Cincy is 5-1 ATS in its last six following consecutive wins of 21 points or more.

Navy is 107-70 since 1992 ATS as an underdog.

Statistical leaders

Passing: Desmond Ridder -- 1,444 yards, 13 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Jerome Ford -- 709 yards, 12 TD
Receiving: Alec Pierce -- 406 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Deshawn Pace -- 45 tackles, 3 INT

Passing: Tai Lavatai -- 157 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Isaac Ruoss -- 308 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: Mychal Cooper -- 149 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Diego Fagot -- 54 tackles

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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