Notre Dame Odds, Predictions, and Betting Preview 2022: Irish in the Playoff Fight

It's a new dawn for Notre Dame, with plenty of fresh faces on offense and on the sideline, where Marcus Freeman will take charge of his first full season. The Fighting Irish should have high hopes despite the turnover, as our betting preview explains.

Douglas Farmer - Betting Analyst at Covers
Douglas Farmer • Betting Analyst
Aug 24, 2022 • 17:51 ET • 5 min read
Tyler Buchner Notre Dame Fighting Irish college footbal
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

For a team coming off a fifth straight season of at least 10 wins, little is known about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish entering 2022. A first-year head coach with a first-year starting quarterback creates that kind of uncertainty.

There is still broad faith in the Irish, Marcus Freeman, and Tyler Buchner, with Notre Dame in the Top 5 of the polls entering the season and not far behind that in the futures markets. 

Can Freeman erase the last memories of Brian Kelly from the outset of his coaching career, heading to his alma mater as a two-touchdown underdog?

Here’s our Notre Dame 2022 betting preview.

Notre Dame futures odds

Futures bet Odds
To win National Championship  +4,500
To make College Football Playoff +1,000
Season Win Total O/U 8.5 (Over -140 / Under +120)

Best futures bet: To make the College Football Playoff (+1,500)

Let’s be blunt: The Irish have no chance of winning the National Championship this year, even if those 60-to-1 odds look alluring. Notre Dame is down to too few running backs and receivers to have any hopes of winning both a semifinal and the national championship.

But, could the Irish find their way into the Playoff? It is not too far beyond fathoming. If Notre Dame is merely competitive at No. 2 Ohio State to open the season, it will remain rather highly ranked and publicly considered. 

The Irish are currently favored by about a touchdown against BYU to start October, are just field-goal underdogs at home against Clemson to start November, and who knows how things will shape up at USC to end the season.

Win those three games, as well as the rest, obviously, and Notre Dame will have as solid a Playoff claim as any other one-loss team.

If you took $100 and played it on the expected Irish money line against BYU and then rolled that $100 plus the winnings over onto Notre Dame against Clemson and at USC, you would end up with something around $750.

If those are the three games of note in this conversation — and that is while ruling out any Irish hopes in Columbus — then the +1,500 clearly presents value.

Would four teams really have better claims to Playoff spots than the Irish in that scenario? Knocking off Clemson en route makes it hard to think so.

Notre Dame betting overview

What will win bets: The trenches

Notre Dame returns eight offensive linemen who started at least two games last year and eight defensive linemen who notched at least two tackles for loss.

Some teams in the SEC may have better individual players along the defensive line, but it is hard to think of any team in the country that has as much depth and experience along both fronts. The Irish will push teams around, even after inevitable injuries strike down a few linemen.

Fifth-year left guard Jarrett Patterson needs to recover from a sprained foot, but his recovery timetable is expected to be short even if he misses the opener. Otherwise, these fronts are healthy and will set the floor on the Notre Dame season.

What will lose bets: Lack of skill players

The Irish did not have depth to spare in the backfield or on the offensive perimeter, and yet injuries have continued to hit those groupings. Sixth-year receiver Avery Davis tore an ACL for the second time in nine months during preseason practices, leaving Notre Dame with five healthy scholarship receivers, plus one former walk-on.

Fifth-year receiver Joe Wilkins may be ready to face the Buckeyes after a Lisfranc injury in March, but that timing is still dubious. The same can be said for sophomore running back Logan Diggs as he returns from a labrum injury that was suffered in mid-April.

Without Diggs, the Irish have four healthy running backs, though that includes two freshmen.

Simply put, Notre Dame does not have the proven pieces to spark a high-scoring offense, despite preseason All-American Michael Mayer looking like the best tight end in the country.

Notre Dame schedule

Some of this was covered in that Playoff possibility thought. Eight of the Irish opponents should be distinctly overmatched. 

In September alone, Marshall has lost its best offensive player for the immediate future, Cal continues to lack any offensive threat, and North Carolina will lean on a first-time starting quarterback behind one of the worst offensive lines in the country.

The threats to Notre Dame’s success are the four ranked opponents. If Marcus Freeman loses to all four in his debut campaign, the other eight wins will not matter to Irish fans. If he beats only BYU, some will still be frustrated even with that 9-3 record.

Week Opponent Spread Total
1 @ Ohio State +15.5 58.5
2 vs. Marshall -19.5 OTB
3 vs. Cal -17.5 OTB
4 @ North Carolina -6.5 OTB
5 BYE OTB
6 vs. BYU (in Vegas) -6.5 OTB
7 vs. Stanford -17.5 OTB
8 vs. UNLV -33 OTB
9 @ Syracuse -12 OTB
10 vs. Clemson +2.5 OTB
11 @ Navy -21.5 OTB
12 vs. Boston College -20 OTB
13 @ USC +3 OTB

Notre Dame spot bet

Week 7: vs. Stanford (-17.5)

This line should be closer to -24.0, based on preseason analytics, and the fact is that life is going to get only rougher for Stanford. 

The Cardinal’s greatest weakness the last couple of years has been along the trenches. No matter how much hype might accompany quarterback Tanner McKee, a possible first-round draft pick in 2023, he will not be able to keep up with Notre Dame’s slight offensive output if his line constantly exposes him to Irish ends Isaiah Foskey and Justin Ademilola.

Stanford could very well be 1-4 when it heads to South Bend, that one win coming in the opener against FCS-level Colgate. As the season slips away, this spread will balloon. Getting it now at a reduced price is the smart move.

Notre Dame totals tip

With so few skill position players, the Irish will be forced to slow things down, particularly early in the season while Wilkins and Diggs are working their way back to full health.

Notre Dame had a similar problem in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day, having only four receivers available, yet ran 70 pass plays. By the end of the afternoon, veteran speedster Braden Lenzy openly admitted he was exhausted.

That approach may have been tolerable in the bowl game, after a month of rest with months more to come, but during the season’s week-in, week-out wear, Lenzy & Co. will need lesser workloads than that. 

The Irish will not milk the play clock to zero on every snap, but a generally more plodding offense should be expected early, leading to Unders and team total Unders until that slowed pace is baked into bookmakers’ math.

Notre Dame trend to know

The Irish have not lost as favorites since the 2017 regular-season finale at Stanford. Of course, that was all under Brian Kelly, but part of the reason Freeman was promoted to head coach was to maintain much of the locker room culture.

Notre Dame has taken care of business for four years now. It should be favored in at least nine games this season and thus be expected to win all nine of them. That may not be the most aggressive thought, but it is the longest such streak in the country and thus should be acknowledged.

Notre Dame as a favorite

  • Week 2 vs. Marshall (-19.5)
  • Week 3 vs. Cal (-17.5)
  • Week 6 vs. BYU (-6.5)
  • Week 7 vs. Stanford (-17.5)
  • Week 8 vs. UNLV (-33)
  • Week 9 @ Syracuse (-12)
  • Week 11 @ Navy (-21.5)
  • Week 12 vs. Boston College (-20)
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