Virginia Tech vs. Navy Betting Odds
The Midshipmen already made one Virginia team look silly. Can they do it again?
Navy basically out-played Virginia wire-to-wire. The Cavaliers gave Navy a scare in the early second-half, but Navy out-scored their counterparts 13-5 in the final 10 minutes. Navy is a tough, experienced team that returned four starters from last year, including their captain.
But Virginia is a dumpster fire, and the Hokies will be a much tougher test. The Hokies lost some contributors, but reloaded well, and started their season with a blowout win over Maine.
The Hokies will start three seniors and two juniors, including three guys that started in the Hokies NCAA Tournament run last year.
But will Navy prove again they’re being undervalued in early-season markets? Or are we seeing a letdown game after an emotional win for the Midshipmen?
Virginia Tech Betting Odds
Virginia Tech was very resilient last season. The Hokies managed to win 15 games in a severely COVID-shortened season, finished third in the ACC on the back of the conference’s best defense (per KenPom defensive efficiency), and barely lost to Florida in the NCAA tournament first-round despite playing just two games in the final month of the season.
The Hokies did lose last year’s second-leading scorer, but they also added a high-volume scoring guard.
Wofford transfer Storm Murphy will lead the point for Virginia Tech after scoring 17.8 points per game last season on 47%/40% shooting splits. He also played for coach Mike Young during Young’s tenure at Wofford – the season the Terriers captured the Southern Conference’s regular-season and tournament titles.
But Murphy has made massive strides from the season when he only averaged eight points per game as a pass-first guard. He’ll play a much larger role in Young’s offense this season.
The chemistry he builds with the Hokie frontcourt is important. Redshirt seniors Keve Aluma and Justyn Mutts are the stalwarts of this team, and Aluma will be particularly important. Last season, Aluma was ninth in the ACC in scoring, fifth in rebounding, eighth in field-goal percentage, and ninth in blocked shots.
The biggest improvement you’ll see with this Hokie team is shooting. Murphy, Naheim Alleyne, and Hunter Cattoor should all be in the starting five for the majority of the season, and all three shot over 40% from deep last year.
Coach Young is an analytics nerd who loves to take shots at the rim or from deep. This year, he’ll be able to strike the perfect inside-outside combination. That’s scary for the ACC.
Navy Midshipmen Betting Odds
Navy bowled over the Patriot League last season. They accumulated a 12-1 conference record and a 15-3 overall record on the back of defense and rebounding.
Considering the roster continuity – wherein Navy returns 88% of their minutes from last season – and expect that to continue.
Navy isn’t just a good rebounding team, they’re a great rebounding team. Last season, the Midshipmen finished among the top-50 teams in both offensive rebounding rate and defensive rebounding rate.
The team also is active and aggressive on the defensive end, ranking 22nd nationally last season in turnover rate.
This was shown in the Virginia game. The Midshipmen out-rebounded the Cavaliers 10-to-9 on the offensive end and 25-to-21 on the defensive end while forcing an 11:14 assist-to-turnover ratio.
That all starts with team captain Richard Njoku and senior Greg Summers. Njoku earned Patriot league all-defensive honors last season while Summers led the team in both rebounding and steals.
Navy’s issue will be on the offensive end. Coach Ed DeChellis lost his point guard, Cam Davis, from last season, and he will need one of the new or returning weapons to step up on the offensive end.
Returning senior John Carter will lead the offense from the guard position after averaging over 10 points last season. He ranked third in the conference in team’s percentage of shots taken last season, but he will have to shoulder an even larger scoring load.
Hopefully, returning junior Tyler Nelson will take a jump. He’s a wing but his ability to take and make 3s (32% career) should have him playing at the four. That’ll prove important in Navy’s four-out offense.
Pick & Prediction
My pick: Virginia Tech -9.5 or better
Both teams will shoot the deep ball, considering the team’s offensive schemes. So, which one will shoot better while providing better perimeter defense?
Well, I’m worried about Navy. They played great against Virginia, no doubt, but they could be in for some 3-point regression. Navy shot 11-for-21 from deep against the Cavaliers, and the Cavaliers shot 4-for-16.
Given that Navy shot just 32.6% from 3 last season (224th) and Virginia shot 37.5% (24th), this seems like a slight anomaly – roster turnover or not.
So, perhaps this is a sell-high spot for Navy. Remember, three of Virginia Tech’s top four scorers return, and the Navy offense is still trying to find an identity. Navy’s defense, rebounding, and 3-point luck can beat Virginia, but I’m not sure it can keep up with Virginia Tech.
Navy was a feel-good story on opening night, but the Midshipmen come back down to earth on Friday.