Notre Dame Opens As Nearly Touchdown Favorite Over Georgia

Brian Kelly - Notre Dame HC

Now that we know that Jacob Eason will not be suiting up for Georgia when the Bulldogs make their first ever trip to Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday, we also know the opening line.  The Irish have opened as a 6.5 point favorite over #15 Georgia.

As of right now, Notre Dame remains unranked mainly because the new polls have yet to be released since there is still one more opening weekend contest tonight – Tennessee at Georgia Tech.  That will likely change tomorrow after Notre Dame’s 49-16 opening weekend victory. The Irish, however, also likely won’t jump Georgia in the polls so the Irish have opened as a near touchdown favorite over a higher ranked team.

Some of the optimism in the opening line for Notre Dame could be attributed to the loss of Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason who sprained his knee against Appalachian State.  Freshman Jake Fromm filled in for Eason last weekend and the general feeling on Georgia websites is that the Bulldogs won’t skip a beat and might even be in better shape with the highly touted Fromm.

Notre Dame is coming off of one of their more dominant performances in a few years but even still the touchdown spread seems just a bit optimistic to me.  This is still a team coming off a 4-8 campaign with some serious questions on both the interior defensive line and at safety.  Georgia isn’t exactly a juggernaut coming off a 8-5 campaign and entering the second year of Kirby Smart, but at best I figured Notre Dame might be a 3 point favorite as the home team and wouldn’t have been surprised if Georgia opened up as the favorite.

This is a line that will very likely move a lot.  Despite Notre Dame’s impressive showing against Temple, there are a lot of doubters remaining – and rightfully so.  It would be shocking if a lot of the early money did not come in on Georgia even with Fromm taking over for Eason.  If that happens, this line will probably end up closer to the three if not higher.

When I predicted every game of the season a couple weeks ago, I penciled this game in as a loss for the Irish because I didn’t think the Irish defense would be quite ready to handle the Georgia run game by week two.  I am still feeling that way even though the Irish did look much better than I thought they would (and I predicted 10-2 this season).  Seeing Notre Dame open as a near touchdown favorite though does have me just a bit more optimistic.  We’ll see just how optimistic I am by Friday when I do my weekly preview.

I was surprised last week when Notre Dame was a 18.5 point favorite over Temple though and thought the Irish would have a hard time covering that one and they nearly doubled it.  Vegas obviously isn’t as pessimistic towards the Irish.

Before we all get too excited, Notre Dame hasn’t been good against the spread lately.  Last year the Irish were an identical 4-8 ATS as they were with their actual record.  In 2015, the Irish were 10-3 overall but just 8-5 against the spread.  In 2014, the Irish were 8-5 overall, but 6-7 ATS.

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6 comments

  1. Bob Rader 2 years ago

    It’s not how much Wimbush runs that is worrisome, it’s how he finishes the run. Get down or out of bounds, young man, and live to fight tomorrow.

    Although we handled Temple easily, their secondary actually played well. I think Wimbush will more success against Georgia’s secondary. I hope EQ’s brother sees that he needs help and decides on Notre Dame. The absence of another go-to receiver is unmistakable.

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  2. Damian 2 years ago

    It’s important for the players to tune some of this stuff out. They had an impressive win and rightfully should enjoy that. But they should continue to play with a chip on their shoulder and not take anything for granted. Treat every week as a battle. Don’t take anything for granted. At this point I see this game as 50-50. I wasn’t sure what our offense would be like but I’m more confident in the offense now and their ability to score points. They have to work on the passing game, but being able to run the ball is so crucial. If Wimbush and the receivers can improve their accuracy they will only get more potent on offense. Defense is a question. I think they took a step in the right direction and they actually played better than I thought they would, but there’s still work to do. They have to protect their secondary and prevent Georgia from picking us apart.

    Do all that, I think they have a real shot here. But there are a lot of unknowns for both teams that can affect the final result so I’m not willing to predict a W or an L at this point. But of course I’ll be rooting for a W.

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    1. Brad Sinclair 2 years ago

      I’m with Damian. The numbers that means the most is the score at the end of the game. You win by playing in the moment and taking care of business for the entire game. Notwithstanding some of the problems the Irish showed in the win against Temple, they did seem to keep their heads in the game for 60 minutes. That’s what the Irish need to do on Saturday.

      Go Irish!!!

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  3. Greg Kelly 2 years ago

    This game is a pick em’ . As Vegas has installed us 6.5 hfa. I think we will be treated to a thriller. What the book on Book. If Wimbush goes down with His wild, reckless running we may find out. Hope hes not another Malik Zaire.

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  4. fxm 2 years ago

    Agreed, seems pretty goofy. Granted, we clobbered a Temple team hit pretty hard by graduation and a coaching change. Not that we can’t beat some of the better teams. But I think we match up better against teams like USC that can’t play D.

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    1. Bruce Gregory Curme 2 years ago

      FXM – There are a lot of interesting matchups this weekend – Stanford/USC, Oklahoma/Ohio State, Auburn/Clemson, Pitt/Penn State, and obviously Notre Dame/Georgia, and a couple of others…we’ll know who can and cannot play “D” before Mass on Sunday! Today, however, I have no idea who will win any of the above mentioned games. I’m not even sure that Louisville, complete with Deshawn Watson’s Heisman trophy, will win on Saturday. Lord knows I love college football.

      Bruce G. Curme ’77 ’82

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