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Stanford at Notre Dame: Full Betting Preview and Prediction

Stanford Cardinal(4-0) @ Notre Dame(4-0)

  • Where: Notre Dame Stadium. South Bend, IN
  • When: September 29, 2018 6:30 pm EST
  • Spread: Stanford (+4.5) at UND (-4.5)
  • Moneyline: Stanford (+195) at UND (-235)
  • Over / Under: Over 54 (-115) vs Under 54 (-105)

The action and betting odds are turning Stanford into a bigger Saturday underdog by the hour. Seems like the public thinks a lot will go wrong for the Cardinal in South Bend.

Then again, almost everything went wrong for Stanford against Oregon last Saturday. And who do you think won?

Bryce Love still is not at 100%. Justin Herbert having an accurate passing night against a top defense, plus his unit playing a less rag-tag kind of ball. When what felt like a clear touchdown play late in the 3rd quarter was spotted close to the goal line instead, it looked like another blessing for the hosts. Oregon was leading 24-7, and could squander a little time before punching in the decisive score with 15 minutes to go.

But an errant snap bounced on the turf, and the visiting defense – and team – was reignited in a furious sustained comeback that the Ducks seemed to have stopped-cold more than once. Overtime would await in which Stanford stood tall in front of bewildered students and alumni in Eugene.

Handicappers are wondering what sort of black magic exists in the leaves of The Tree.

But no amount of betting action on Stanford can stand up to the buzz around an undefeated Notre Dame Fighting Irish. With each team ranked in the Top 10, logic has fallen by the wayside, and UND is favored by (-5.5) with the Cardinal a (+195) moneyline underdog for Saturday’s prime-time tussle.

Stanford at Notre Dame: A look at both unbeaten teams

Stanford’s defense was not as bruising as usual against the swift Ducks, but QB K.J. Costello, receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (2 TD receptions) and the special-teams unit came together as one in the clutch while Love eked-out almost 100 yards against a crowd-boosted defense.

It is agreed that Stanford can win a tight, defensive battle with Notre Dame.

No gambler would be allowed to pair the Cardinal winning with the “under” on the O/U without a correlated-parlay alarm, since a low-scoring skirmish would not benefit the Fighting Irish. But would UND profit from a shoot-out?

Notre Dame’s defense is playing well enough to have shut down the Michigan Wolverines in Week 1, but poorly enough to let Ball State and Vanderbilt hang around in subsequent match-ups. The offense was not producing enough insurance points to please Kelly, so the coach put former backup QB Ian Book into the lineup against Wake Forest last weekend.

Book already has an established chemistry with fellow skill players, prodding sophomore RB Jafar Armstrong to a big day and connecting with tight end Alize Mack 6 times in a 56-27 win.

The Irish defense showed great athleticism, holding Wake quarterbacks Sam Hartman and Jamie Newman to wretched passing numbers. Hartman was 12-of-24 with just over 4 yards per attempt, and junior UND cornerback Tony Pride Jr. grabbed an interception. But the unit is giving up a lot in the running game, a far cry from the season-opening performance against UM.

Kelly is hoping Book, potentially a more-accurate passer than Wimbush, gives his team a more-balanced offense and a chance to out-score opponents when needed. It’s a given that if the score is 49-45 in the 4th quarter on Saturday, the fast-paced Irish will profit and probably win.

But I am not sure it will work out that way. Particularly since the best way to beat Stanford is to hit them where it hurts, not where they are hoping to get hit.

Cardinal rule of betting: Find the undervalued

Book may prove to be a more useful QB for Notre Dame over the long haul, but Wimbush – and a brutish run-heavy offense of the sort UND has rolled over opponents with at several points over the past 13 months – might be the better choice against Stanford. Cardinal LBs like Joey Alfieri are exceptional pass defenders who do not mind chasing a smallish, nimble gun-slinger around the field – they just got through defending Justin Herbert for 4 quarters and stopping him in OT.

A revitalized Bryce Love has “ball control” written on his forehead in not-so-invisible ink.

The Irish are only averaging 4.2 yards per carry on the season and cannot hope to hog the pigskin in return without lasting improvement on 1st down. Last week’s explosion of offense against Wake was excellent, but it could prove to be a beginner’s luck scenario for Book or an outlier-result in general.

However, if the Irish do find a way to put up 30+ points with a more skill-oriented offense, it will be up to Costello and the Cardinal’s other big-play threats to give the moneyline dogs a fighting chance.

Costello is not considered an elite QB because his stats are often ordinary at a glance, but his yards-per-attempt is almost 9.3 and he’s got 10 touchdown passes in 2018. Kaden Smith gives the veteran a choice target to rival Mack in production from the TE position.

Last but certainly not least, no one who watched the 4th quarter of Stanford at Oregon concluded that the Cardinal cannot put up quick points through the air when it has to.

Click here to wager on the Stanford Cardinal this Saturday in South Bend.

Stanford is the moneyline pick

I thought Stanford was a high-value pick at (+175) earlier this week. All over it now at (+195).

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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