Boston College vs Notre Dame Odds, Picks and Predictions: Irish Land Haymakers in First Half

Notre Dame honors its seniors Saturday, and may let up late in a blowout. But the Irish have dominated to close recent first halves, and our college football picks see more value in that frame against Boston College in Week 12.

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2022 7:25 AM ET Read Time: 4 min

Coming off their first Top-25 win since 2014, the Boston College Eagles have a chance at a second straight such victory against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish this week, though perhaps the win would be more notable in that Notre Dame has won eight straight in this series, solidifying the Irish claim that the Eagles are their “little brother.”

Here are our free college football picks and predictions for Boston College vs Notre Dame on November 19, with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. ET.

Boston College vs Notre Dame best odds

Boston College vs Notre Dame picks and predictions

Despite being an annual occurrence, Senior Day festivities can be difficult to handicap at every school across the country. Will the team be too emotional at kickoff after recognizing more than two dozen seniors during the pregame buildup? Always quite possible.

That is an abstract wonder, and no one here is qualified to gauge Notre Dame’s psyche leading up to kickoff. But there is a tangible way Senior Day can impact a handicap, particularly one with the home team a hefty favorite.

The Irish should distance themselves from the Eagles on Saturday. While Notre Dame has not held up as a big favorite this season (0-5 ATS when favored by double digits), it has also increasingly found sustainable form. Routing then-No. 16 Syracuse and then-No. 4 Clemson led to a similar motif in the first half against Navy last week before a second-half letdown made for an optically-close scoreboard. But excluding that relaxation against the Midshipmen, the Irish have won their last 10 quarters by a combined score of 111-51.

Stick with that distinction, and a greater trend emerges. Notre Dame has won its last four first halves by a combined score of 100-27, including a 70-20 margin in the last three games. The closest of those was the 14-0 lead against Clemson two weeks ago.

That was not entirely the work of a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. The Irish also put together a touchdown drive just before the half against the Tigers. In fact, Notre Dame has scored five touchdowns inside the last five minutes of the first half in its last four games. Three of those came with 70 seconds or fewer remaining in the half.

That’s savvy clock management both in that the Irish got into the end zone and in that they left so little time for their opponent to respond. In other words, that trend alone should spot Notre Dame a touchdown edge in the first half. See where this is going?

The first-half spread is either 10.5 or 11.5 points in Irish favor, depending on your sportsbook. If Notre Dame has won the final five minutes of the first half by a score of 35-0 in the last month and 21-0 in the final 70 seconds of the half, the question behind that spread becomes, can the Irish cover -3.5 or -4.5 in the first 25 minutes of the game?

Worries about a slow start following Senior Day festivities should be mitigated by recognizing how much better Notre Dame is than Boston College. But it may not be the whole game.

The Irish may emphasize some senior players in the closing frame of a blowout. There is no senior quarterback to give nominal snaps, but there are offensive linemen and a walk-on receiver. Notre Dame may clam up in the fourth quarter to get those players some brief on-field recognitions. That relaxed vibe could ebb into the Irish defense, creating a clear path for the Eagles to enjoy a backdoor cover via surging sophomore quarterback Emmett Morehead and star receiver Zay Flowers.

The first half has not included such a Notre Dame easement in recent weeks. Trusting the Irish in the first half has paid off. Trusting them after halftime has had mixed results, and that could be amplified in a Senior Day blowout.

My best bet: Notre Dame first half -10.5 (-106 at FanDuel)

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Boston College vs Notre Dame spread analysis

Morehead’s emergence and Flowers’ continued excellence may be the biggest problems for anyone hoping Notre Dame will cover this three-touchdown spread. The best Irish chance at slowing Flowers will not come from bracketed coverage, but from a defensive line abusing Boston College’s worn-thin offensive line. If Morehead does not have time to find Flowers, how much damage can Flowers do?

Well, that’s been true all season — the Eagles’ run of offensive line injuries is bordering on historic and began long before the season — and Flowers still has 67 catches for 921 yards and 10 touchdowns in 10 games. With Morehead behind center the last two weeks, Flowers has 13 catches for 195 yards and not one touchdown, not two, not three, but four scores. It’s not like North Carolina State didn’t know to cover him. He’s just that good.

It is safe to assume Flowers will get his stats at some point Saturday.

The best thought for anyone hoping Notre Dame will cover this three-touchdown spread is not a kind one: Boston College head coach Jeff Hafley said this week at least a dozen Eagles have been slowed by the flu this week. A year ago, the flu ripped through Boston College’s locker room. A few weeks ago, it plagued Texas A&M. In both instances, a blowout followed.

Boston College vs Notre Dame Over/Under analysis

Anyone who watched the Irish early in the season may not believe this stat, but it’s true: Notre Dame has scored 35 or more points in four straight games. And that hasn’t been against only UNLV and Navy: By whatever metric you prefer to ponder, Clemson and Syracuse rank somewhere in the 20s in scoring or total or EPA defense.

Of course, some of those points consistently come from Irish special teams, either directly or indirectly. Blocking a punt in five straight games will do that. Returning an interception 96 yards against Clemson will do that.

This total has fallen to 43 points after opening at 46.5. Some of that move can be traced to snow, wind, and cold forecasts for Saturday afternoon. But Notre Dame does not rely on an aerial attack, so it very well may still put up 35-plus. If nothing else, bad weather should help the Irish special teams.

If Flowers and Morehead continue to shine together, then this should crack that Over with relative ease.

Boston College vs Notre Dame betting trend to know

The Over is 4-0 in Notre Dame’s last four games, clearing the total by 17 points per game. Find more NCAA betting trends for Boston College vs. Notre Dame.

Boston College vs Notre Dame game info

Location: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN
Date: Saturday, November 19, 2022
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. ET
TV: NBC/Peacock

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