The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are in prime position to qualify for the College Football Playoff, sitting at No. 2 in the latest rankings ahead of this weekend’s college football betting matchup with a Syracuse Orange team that has less juice than a half-empty glass of OJ.
College football odds rightly has the Irish as heavy favorites in this matchup, although they have had issues covering big numbers this season. Can they buck that trend against the Orange?
Let’s check out our best college football free picks and predictions for Syracuse at No. 2 Notre Dame, with kickoff set for Saturday, December 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET in South Bend.
Syracuse Orange at Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Preview
It will be a chilly December afternoon in South Bend. The forecast is calling for partly cloudy skies and with an 11 mph wind gusting towards the southern end zone, temperatures will feel below freezing. Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our NCAA football weather info.
Syracuse: Trill Williams DB (Questionable), Cam Jonas DB (Questionable), Jacobian Morgan QB (Questionable), Sean Tucker RB (Questionable), Ed Hendrix WR (Questionable).
Notre Dame: C'Bo Flemister RB (Questionable), Tommy Kraemer OL (Questionable), Braden Lenzy WR (Out).
Find our latest NCAA football injury reports.
Betting Trend to Know
The Orange are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against teams with a winning record. Find more NCAA betting trends for Syracuse vs. Notre Dame.
Against the Spread (ATS) Pick
Notre Dame comes into this game undefeated, with arguably the best win this college football season – a 47-40 win over No. 3 Clemson – and have covered three games in a row. The Irish are a far superior team than the 1-9 Orange in arguably every facet of the game and should win this contest fairly easily.
Before you go running to the betting window to lay all those points with the Irish, let’s break it down a little more. Yes, the Irish have a perfect record, but there are a few imperfections if you look closely—at least when it comes to covering a number this large.
First of all, Notre Dame loves to run the football. The Irish rank 16th in the country with almost 230 rushing yards per game and they rank 24th in rushing play percentage. And you know they’re going to pound the rock against this Syracuse run defense, which is giving up more than 200 yards per game. That means milking the clock.
Also, this has happened more than once when the Irish have been favored by a lot. In fact, Notre Dame is 1-4 ATS this season when favored by 15 points or more this season—and averaged more than 250 yards rushing in those games.
Second, Syracuse actually showed a little fight in last week’s 36-29 loss to North Carolina State. Orange QB Rex Culpepper is coming off his best game of the season, throwing for 254 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. And if the Irish have a weakness on defense, it is stopping the deep ball.
So, with that in mind, we’re betting that this one won’t be close—but Notre Dame won’t cover the number at the same time. Take the points with the Orange.
PREDICTION: Syracuse +33.5 (-103)
This total for this matchup is fairly low at 50.5 and it might be low enough for us to take the Over. We are getting a number this low because the very good Irish defense is giving up just 16.8 points per game this season, and the Orange have obviously had trouble putting points on the board for big chunks of the season. But with Culpepper back under center and playing with some confidence we might be getting some value here.
Additionally, the Over is 5-1 when the Irish have seen totals of 52 or lower this season. Bet on that number improving to 6-1.
PREDICTION: Over 50.5 (-110)
First Half Team Total Pick
You almost have to do a double-take when you look at Syracuse’s team total for the first half of this one: O/U 0.5. Now, there is certainly a chance that Notre Dame could pull off a shutout in this game. But that seems a little unlikely, particularly considering the narrative we have built in this preview. It is a little juicy, but that makes it all the more appropriate for the Orange. Take them to score in the first half.
PREDICTION: Syracuse first half team total Over 0.5 (-165)
Syracuse vs Notre Dame Betting Card
- Syracuse +33.5 (-103)
- Over 50.5 (-110)
- Syracuse first half team total Over 0.5 (-165)
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Where Can I Bet on College Football?
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