The Fighting Irish are cruising into this rivalry matchup after a 52-0 blow out win against Bowling Green. If they want to keep their playoffs hope alive they must take care of business at home this week against their rival Trojans. The home crowd will be rocking the green out, so expect them to be an impact this week.
Another impact to look forward to is the return of Jafar Armstrong. He started the season as the number one back, but after an injury in the first game against Louisville, Tony Jones Jr. took the reins. Notre Dame has been successful on the ground this season and will need to continue to control the ground game this week if they want to win this game.
But the make or break will be on the arm of Ian Book. If Book can stay in the pocket to take the shots down the field, they should be able to handle the Trojans easily. If Book struggles to get the ball out and gets forced out of the pocket, you should expect to see the Fighting Irish offense struggle as well. On the other side of the ball, the Fighting Irish defense will need to step up to win this game. They have been a top defense in the country thus far and will need to continue that to defend their home turf and beat their rival Trojans.
Betting Odds & Point Spreads
- Game Spread: Opened ND -11 / Current ND -10.5
- Game Total: Opened 55 / Current 59
- First Half Spread: ND -6.5
- First Half Total: 30
- Team Totals: USC 23.5 / ND 34
The Trojans have been battling injuries throughout the season, especially at the quarterback position. Matt Fink and Kedon Slovis, who got medically cleared this week, are both preparing for the game but expect Slovis to get the start. Slovis got knocked out of the Utah game with a concussion on their first drive and has been out for a few weeks. Slovis replaced JT Daniels under center after Daniels went down the first week against Fresno State with a torn ACL. USC also has some elite receivers like Michael Pittman Jr. who stirred the pot this week, saying that they will be running up the score against the Fighting Irish. The Trojans have a lot of firepower on offense no matter who is throwing to Pittman Jr. and the rest of the receivers, but the main concern is that they have been struggling on the road. USC is 3-0 at home but 0-2 on the road. Look for those struggles to continue when they walk into the green out in South Bend.
The lines opened this week at Notre Dame favored by 11 and the over/under set at 55. The spread went down to 10.5, and the game total shot up to 59. The spreads started with Vegas predicting the game to result in the Fighting Irish winning 33-22. The public is predicting this game to end with the Fighting Irish walking away victorious 35-24. Right now, 65% of the bets and 91% of the money is on the over and 59% of the bets and 43% of the money is Notre Dame to cover the spread.
Both teams have played five games this season. The Trojans are 3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS, and the game resulted in the over twice and the under three times. Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish are 4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS, and their games hit the over twice and the under three times.
Bet of the Week: (Game Total: Under 59)
The majority of the money, the public, and Michael Pittman Jr. are on the over, but don’t let that sway you in the wrong direction. This is a rivalry game that will be a war, and both teams won’t want to get in a shoot out to have to win. The winner of this game will be the team with the best defense out there. If there were one bet for the game, it would be the under of 59 points. My buy price for the under would be anything over 57 points. If there are more points scored than expected, this gives you some cushion. But my prediction for the game is Notre Dame to win 27-17. I think the only way the over hits is if Notre Dame blows them out and puts up 40+ points.
Another bet to look at would be Notre Dame to cover the first half -6.5. This line has the hook in Notre Dame’s favor, and the green out should give the Fighting Irish a considerable advantage early.