Stanford vs Notre Dame Odds, Picks and Predictions: Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting

Notre Dame crushed Stanford with a possible playoff berth on the line last season. And while the Irish might not have the same underlying motivation this season, there are plenty of reasons why our college football picks see this game getting out of hand.

Douglas Farmer - Betting Analyst at Covers
Douglas Farmer • Betting Analyst
Oct 15, 2022 • 07:48 ET • 4 min read

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won three straight against the Stanford Cardinal, the once-physical rivalry tilting more and more toward Notre Dame. The Irish may have a new head coach, but there is little reason to think the recent trends are going to change, especially considering Stanford has lost 11 straight games against FBS opponents by an average of more than 18 points per game.

Here are our free college football picks and predictions for Stanford vs. Notre Dame on October 15, with kickoff set for 7:30 ET.

Stanford vs Notre Dame best odds

Stanford vs Notre Dame picks and predictions

A year ago, Notre Dame was a game and a prayer away from a Playoff berth when it went to Stanford as a 20.5-point favorite. That whole week, the line seemed too short. In the end, it was. Anyone bold enough to pick the Irish by an alternate line was relieved when running back Kyren Williams insisted on one more carry in the final minute, a 12-yard scoring jaunt that put him over 1,000 yards on the year and gave Notre Dame a 45-14 victory. Every available alternate line cashed.

That line was wrong. Sometimes alternate lines cash because a game gets out of hand. That one did so because that line was wrong from the start.

Now, the Irish are not as good as last season and there is no Playoff berth on the line to encourage running up the score. But realize that 20.5-point spread from a year ago was on the road. Let’s be conservative and assign 2.5 points of home-field advantage to both The Farm and Notre Dame Stadium. A year ago, if that game had been in South Bend, the Irish would have been favored by 25.5 points.

They still would have covered thanks to Williams’ adamant score.

Are these two teams really eight points closer this year? As of early Friday morning, -17.0 is still available, but it is likely to hit -17.5 before much longer.

Maybe Notre Dame is that much worse, but Stanford might be, too, at this point. Losing sophomore running back EJ Smith (as in, Emmitt Smith Jr) for the season turned the Cardinal offense one-dimensional. The early-season potential shown in a 41-28 loss to USC went out the window.

Without Smith, Stanford has averaged 4.14 yards per carry, managing 118.7 yards per game (sacks adjusted). That will not be dynamic enough to worry the Irish.

Meanwhile, the Cardinal has taken to giving up rushing yards by the half dozen, allowing 6.85 yards per rush against FBS opponents (sacks adjusted). That will be a particular concern against Notre Dame as it has developed a “three-headed monster,” to use Irish head coach Marcus Freeman’s phrasing, in the backfield.

In a vacuum, these two teams might be eight points closer this season, but Saturday night will be no vacuum. Notre Dame’s strengths match up with Stanford’s weaknesses, and that game flow should turn this into a blowout.

The alternate lines cashed last year. A modest one should this weekend, as well.

My best bet: Notre Dame -20.5 (+124 at FanDuel)

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Stanford vs Notre Dame spread analysis

That -17 was actually the open for this game before it fell as low as -14.5 on Sunday. Such a drop never made sense. This line was wrong. This line is wrong. This is 2021’s short line all over again.

Notre Dame beat then-No. 16 BYU last weekend, 28-20, and some will argue that game was closer than eight points. Cougars quarterback Jaren Hall gifted the Irish five points, and a missed PAT led to some questionable decisions from both coaches. By that logic, Notre Dame should have been leading by just one when BYU was in field-goal range late.

But then again, the Irish had a fourth-and-one from the four-yard line in the second quarter. Assuming Notre Dame will not punch that kind of possession into the end zone in the future would be foolish and flawed. Suddenly, hindsight and logic argue that eight-point deficit is once again legitimate.

The Irish bullied BYU on the lines for the most part, and that remains a Stanford struggle. The Cardinal rushed for 90 yards on 27 carries against Oregon State. Without worrying about the ground game, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Al Golden will be able to send four defensive linemen after Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee at nearly all times, and there is little worry of McKee breaking loose through abandoned rush lanes, having gained only 36 yards on nine rushes this season (sacks excluded).

If the best bet above didn’t make it clear, anyone taking Stanford +17.0 should instead just send their funds to Douglas Farmer. He’ll find better use for them. Loading it up on Irish junior tight end Michael Mayer to score a touchdown (-230) or two (holler if you find that) when he is one score away from tying the Notre Dame record for tight ends would be a more profitable approach.

Stanford vs Notre Dame Over/Under analysis

The edge the Irish had last year was that Playoff hope. After losing to Marshall in Week 2, that has not been the case for Notre Dame this season.

But there may still be reason to blow out Stanford. Tyler Buchner’s season-ending injury may come at the Cardinal’s expense. When the sophomore quarterback went down against the Herd with a shoulder sprain, suddenly Irish freshman Steve Angeli was one play away from being Notre Dame’s starting quarterback.

He has yet to play.

The Irish will want to get Angeli some reps sooner than later, and after a month working with the varsity, he should know enough of the playbook to make those reps count. But in order to give him that chance, Notre Dame needs to have a cushion.

Thus, the Irish and junior quarterback Drew Pyne have reason to run up the score on Stanford. Nothing too absurd, but enough so. With an Over/Under as low as 53.5, not too much should be needed, even if the Cardinal offense is held in check by Notre Dame’s pass rush.

Stanford vs Notre Dame betting trend to know

Stanford is 0-5 ATS in its last five road games and 2-6 ATS in its last eight games against Notre Dame. Find more NCAA betting trends for Stanford vs. Notre Dame.

Stanford vs Notre Dame game info

Location: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
Date: Saturday, October 15, 2022
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

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