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NCAA Football Picks: Midshipmen Travel to Hawaii for Season Opener

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Oskeim Sports previews Saturday’s college football game between Navy and Hawaii.  Oskeim recommends taking the Rainbow Warriors plus the points as one of his free NCAA Football picks for Saturday, September 1.

Oskeim also provides free NCAA Football picks in several other games, including Saturday’s primetime clash between Washington and Auburn.  Be sure to visit Oskeim’s blog on a regular basis for quality (and free) NCAA football picks.

Navy is poised to have a great season behind quarterback Malcolm Perry, who beat out Zach Abey for the starting job.  Abey rushed for 1,413 yards in ten starts last season so Perry is clearly an elite steward of the Midshipmen’s triple-option attack to have earned tonight’s start.

The Midshipmen should have success moving the ball against a Hawaii defense that is 0.7 yards per rush play worse than average.  However, that projection is conservative in that defensive coordinator Legi Suiaunoa enters his second season and has a very strong group of linebackers in 2018.

The matchup is extremely favorable for a Rainbow Warriors’ secondary that was 1.7 yards per pass attempt worse than average last season (8.9 yards per pass play to teams that would combine to average 7.2 yards per pass attempt against a mediocre defense).

Navy doesn’t throw the ball, thereby offsetting Hawaii’s most significant team weakness
(i.e. defending the pass).  Let’s remember that Navy was defeated by a Memphis team last year that allowed 31 touchdowns through the air!

Hawaii takes the field with an important game under its belt, a convincing 43-34 upset win over Colorado State as seventeen-point road underdogs.  That win triggers very profitable 116-61 ATS and 78-38 ATS systems that invest on certain underdogs that scored 30+ points and/or gained 525 total yards in their previous game.

The Rainbow Warriors’ Run-and-Shoot attack looked good under third-year head coach Nick Rolovich.  Sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald completed 26-of-37 pass attempts for 418 yards and ran for 99 yards in last week’s win over the Rams.

McDonald has a potent group of wide receivers to throw to, including senior John Ursua, who led the Mountain West Conference in receiving yards last season despite missing the final six games.

Ursua averaged 10.6 yards on 63 receptions last year and finished with 123 yards on seven catches against Colorado State.  He is joined by junior Cedric Byrd, who finished with 181 yards on 11 catches and provides the Warriors with a legitimate deep threat.

Hawaii’s aerial attack should move the chains against a subpar Navy secondary that was 1.1 yards per pass play worse than average in 2017 (8.4 yards per pass attempt to a group of quarterbacks that would average 7.3 yards per pass attempt against a mediocre pass defense).  Let’s remember that Navy was defeated by a Memphis team last year that allowed 31 touchdowns through the air!

The Rainbow Warriors’ explosive Run-and-Shoot attack invokes 50-21 ATS and 42-15 ATS systems that invest on certain home underdogs that possess above-average passing games.  I also like the fact that Rolovich’s offensive scheme averaged just 2.1 plays per minute last week, which shortens the game (and favors large underdogs).

Navy’s ground-heavy attack also chews up a lot of clock so getting double-digits in what should be a slower-paced game significantly benefits the underdog.

Finally, Military Academies are just 4-12 ATS in Hawaii since 1980, including 2-5 SU and 1-6 ATS in the last seven trips.  Take Hawaii plus the generous points as one of Oskeim Sports’ free NCAA Football picks for Saturday.

Oskeim Sports’ Free NCAA Football Picks for September 1:

  • Hawaii (+12) (-115) over Navy
  • Auburn (ML) (-130) over Washington
  • West Virginia (-9.5) (-110) over Tennessee