The turmoil and defensive ineptitude surrounding Notre Dame’s disastrous 1-3 start to the 2016 season hasn’t stopped Vegas from continuing to favor the Irish. On the heels of a 38-35 loss to Duke, Notre Dame has opened up as a double digit favorite – by as many as 12 points – over Syracuse for this weekend’s game at Met Life Stadium outside of New York.
Notre Dame has been favored in every contest this season but the Irish sit at just 1-3. On the road in Austin the Irish were a five point favorite and lost. At home against Nevada the Irish the Irish were favored by 28 and covered the spread with a 39-10 victory. A week later the Irish were a surprising touchdown favorite to Michigan State and fell by eight. Last week Notre Dame was a 21 point favorite and lost in the biggest upset of the Irish in the last 20 years (1996 Air Force).
So of course the Irish opened as a 12 point favorite at many sports books.
Despite the firing of defensive coordinator Brian Vangorder though, it doesn’t look like there is much confidence in the Irish this weekend. The line on this game has been dropping like a stone the last 24-36 hours and is already down to 10 – 10.5 points depending on which sports book you look at.
Count on that line to continue to fall throughout the week. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising at all if it ended up closer to a touchdown by kickoff.
Vegas does look confident that there will be a lot of scoring. The only two sports books I could find with an over/under for the game came in at 75! That is tied for the highest over/under of the weekend with Oregon and Washington State. The over has has hit in five of the last six games Notre Dame has played.
Yes, there will be scoring.
How anyone could bet on Notre Dame right now is beyond me given the way the Irish have underperformed this season and the line dropping is evidence that not too many people are right now. No doubt I think the Irish are capable of winning this weekend, but betting on the Irish after this defensive start? I’ll pass.
Notre Dame has already replaced its defensive coordinator with a coach who was fired just last year from the same position at Purdue after three seasons of barely cracking the top 100 in total defense. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly has more than hinted that personnel changes are coming this weekend as well.
All of those moving parts and all of that turmoil can serve as a rallying cry for Notre Dame or it could further tear this team apart depending on the job that the Notre Dame coaching staff does this week in practice. This all has a very similar feel to when Charlie Weis went “back to training camp” in that ill-fated 2007 season when the Irish stumbled out of the games 0-3.
At that time, Weis talked about looking to find players who want to play very similarly to how Brian Kelly talked about his team lacking the fire and passion needed to play Notre Dame football. That all came after a 38-0 beating at the hands of Michigan in the Big House. The following week Notre Dame played better but still lost 31-14 at home to Michigan State.
We’ll find out how this Irish team responds in a few days.