Notre Dame Opens as 9.5 Point Favorite Over #12 Syracuse

Notre Dame, fresh off a 42-13 beat down of stumbling Florida State, is two wins away from a playoff berth.  Their next obstacle in their path is the 12th ranked Orange from Syracuse.  The Irish have opened up as a 9.5 point favorite over the surprising Orange in a game that will be a “home” game for the Irish as part of the Shamrock Series but will take place in Yankee Stadium.

Syracuse (8-2) is 13th in the latest CFP Rankings but rose to #12 in the AP Poll this week after notching their 8th win of the season.  They are 7-3 this season against the spread including a cover of a 21 point spread over Louisville last week – a win that ultimately led to the firing of Bobby Petrino.  Side note, Syracuse put up 54 points on Brian Vangorder’s Cardinal defense.  It’s nice to know some things never change.

Notre Dame is just 5-4-1 this year against the spread even though they are a perfect 10-0 on the season.  The Irish did cover this past weekend against Florida State.  Their other covers this season are Michigan, Wake Forest, Stanford, and Virginia Tech.  The Irish have had a couple near misses ATS though, missing covering against Navy by less than a point and pushing against Northwestern.

It is a bit surprising to see Notre Dame open as such a big favorite over the 12th ranked team in the country with some questions at quarterback still.  Ian Book is expected back for Notre Dame this weekend according to Brian Kelly yesterday, but as we learned last week, a lot can change between Sunday and Saturday.  Even without Book, Notre Dame throttled Florida State, but Syracuse is a much better team than Florida State.

These two programs are in vastly different places than when they last met two years ago at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey.  Notre Dame turned in one of their best performances of the forgettable 2016 disaster of a season against Syracuse.

This season, against common opponents, Notre Dame has consistently outperformed the Orange.  Syracuse beat Florida State by 23 (Notre Dame won by 29), beat Wake Forest by 17 (Notre Dame won by 29), and they lost to Pitt by 7 in overtime (Notre Dame barely survived to beat Pitt by 5).

Syracuse did, however, give Clemson all they could handle and nearly upset the Tigers back in early October.  Syracuse led for most of the game but could not hold on to the lead in the 4th quarter.   The 23 points that Syracuse scored in their near upset of Clemson were their lowest point total of the season.  They have topped 50 points five times this season.  Notre Dame on the other hand has not allowed any team to score more than 27 (Wake Forest).

Since the line opened at 9.5, most sportsbooks have already come down to 9 suggesting that a lot of the early money is on Syracuse.  Given the large opening spread, that makes sense.  It will be interesting to see how this one plays out throughout the week as we learn more and more about the official status of Ian Book.

You may also like


  1. I saw Swarbrick’s explanation of why this game is in NY. It was ridiculous on two points. One, he asserted that it had to be in NY since we played them two other times at the Meadowlands. So basically even though we should have had superior negotiating power, we play all 3 games in their backyard and none at home. Two, he asserted that those opposed to the location are really saying they are against football independence. That was illogical – don’t see why we would need to join a conference to avoid poor scheduling decisions like this. The point of independence is for scheduling flex. You can’t cite ACC and other deal obligations as a reason why independence doesn’t work and worse attribute that as others position.

  2. Point well taken Bruce. How about then opening up with a good not great elite opponent.Notredame has to approach it a little differently then a school in a conference because where any loss hurts your chances of making the playoffs it hurts Notredame even more because they don’t have a 13th game.

    1. Pete, mostly they are good, but not great or elite. This year was Michigan, a common enough home opener since 1978, and often “elite”…but historically it has been Purdue, Georgia Tech, Pitt, Michigan State, Northwestern and Indiana most frequently…but also Texas, Texas A@M, and others. I would not want to open against Michigan or a Texas team every year, of course, but I also don’t want a cupcake to waste the month of August prepping for…plus the team is relatively injury free for the home opener…and the guys are itchin’ to go…why waste all that on some Division 2 team? I think we agree on that pretty well.

      BGC ’77 ’82

  3. The 9 point spread is an insult to Notre Dame. Cuse has no defense and hasn’t played against a defense even close to what the Irish field.

    Irish by two scores easy.

  4. Notredame should win but I was planning on going to this game until Jack decided to move it
    Thanks a lot. Going forward I wish Notredame went to a 7home game schedule. Heck a lot of power schools play 8 home games. Also I would tell Stanford or USC play us the last game every year. Also game 1 has to be a cream puff every year.Notredame was lucky to get away with it this year.

      That’s against SOLID opponents in most years, ELITE opponents in many years! “Luck”, as you put it, had nothing to do with it. And we don’t open against SOUTHERN NURSING AND AGRICULTURE COLLEGE every year, like some “elite” teams do.

      That’s no trend sir, it’s an established FACT. And it has held true for us when we have a good coach, a great coach, an average coach, or a lousy coach. We WIN 80% + of those home openers. WELL ESTABLISHED FACT, SIR, not a “trend” at all.

      That does not mean we ALWAYS win it…believe me, as a senior in 1976, I was at a home opener against PITT that we lost soundly. (Of course, NOBODY else beat that PITT team either – though I never found that consoling).

      In short, Pete, we should continue to open with “solid” to “elite” competition in our home opener…IT HAS RESULTED IN AN INCREDIBLE 4 to 1 win ratio over the past 90 YEARS (rounding the years up a bit, and the winning percentage DOWN a bit!)!

      So, to make a long story short: IT AIN’T BROKE, WE AIN’T SCARED TO DO IT, SO LET’S NOT FIX IT!

      BGC ’77 ’82

  5. Frank, on paper Florida State U is a way better team then Syracuse so why is it going to be so difficult or hard for ND to beat Syracuse?

    1. Well for one, the game isn’t played on paper. While FSU may be more individually talented, Syracuse is a much better football team on the field, evidenced by the win-loss record and the head to head.

      1. Thank you again Burgy…I would add that the “hitting” isn’t done with the eyes. I know that real head-to-head stuff is being deemphasized by some folks today…perhaps “virtual” football would be better for them, but the ‘real’ games are still played on the field for some of us.

        BGC ’77 ’82

    2. THIS will be a war against the CUSE!! Remember CLEMSON scored with 46 seconds left in the game to beat them at DEATH VALLEY!! WE must, must get ahead early and pressure the QB!! SEE YOU ALL AT THE GAME SATURDAY!!! GO IRISH!!!

      1. NDCrazyMike,
        You will have to represent those of us who live too far from our “home” field to get to this one…do us proud.

        BGC ’77 ’82

  6. Consensus among most experts and the public is that Syracuse covers. Therefore, the opposite will be true and Notre Dame blows them out. Agree with Jeff here.

    Then ND will be installed as a 14+ point favorite over USC, experts will predict ND to cover, yet they will barely win that game.
    Very easy to predict these things

  7. Jeff, not that easy. Because of all the distractions, sideshows, prime time, interviews, celebrities, I expect much closer since the Orange just won’t go away. Before Frank posted this I did expect9.5 to 10. However, the Irish will have to fight at the end to keep the Orange Halle Berry off the board. Irish 35-28.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button