The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are coming off perhaps the most deflating of losses — falling to Stanford at home last week — but they should now have a chance to rebound nicely, taking on the injury-depleted UNLV Rebels. Whatever slim chance UNLV had this weekend was drastically diminished by quarterback Doug Brumfield remaining in the concussion protocols.
Here are our free college football picks and predictions for UNLV vs Notre Dame on October 22.
UNLV vs Notre Dame best odds
UNLV vs Notre Dame picks and predictions
What faith can be put into either of these teams? Notre Dame has lost as a three-possession favorite at home, not once this season, but twice, while UNLV is coming off consecutive 40-something to 7 blowout losses.
The Irish looked to be rounding into form with an explosive win at North Carolina followed by a convincing victory against BYU, but coming out on the short end of a 16-14 snoozefest against Stanford undid all that momentum.
Similarly, UNLV was favored in three straight games against FBS foes earlier this season, the kind of stretch that was so unfamiliar to the Rebels faithful that its most recent occurrence defies the Covers database. Losing to San José State and Air Force by a combined score of 82-14 then rendered those three wins nothing but now-distant thoughts.
Some of UNLV’s collapse can be traced to losing Brumfield. His passing stats were good, not great, but backup Cameron Friel has hardly produced anything, throwing for just 261 yards in the last two games. Keep in mind, the Rebels trailed by two possessions for 94:01 combined in those games and by three possessions for 85:55. They should have been chucking all day long, if only they could.
If there has been any aspect of Notre Dame’s performance this season worth praising, it has been its defense. Efficient offenses can exploit it, given the Irish have failed to create havoc this year — forcing only two turnovers through six games, managing fewer than three sacks per game, and just 5.5 tackles for loss each week — but “efficient” is not an adjective to apply to the UNLV attack.
The unique stat of the year is that the Rebels ran 35 plays while giving up 42 points to Air Force. UNLV’s troubles are not your typical renditions of bad. It combines general incompetence with red-zone failures. Of the Rebels’ 19 possessions the last two weeks, only nine gained as much as one first down, though one of those still netted a loss of eight yards. On their four drives to get inside the red zone, they scored on just two of them.
Notre Dame’s singular reliable asset, its defense, should not give up more than two genuine drives to Friel & Co., and UNLV has shown a tendency to botch such possessions. Both those trends would need to reverse for the Rebels to score 10 or more points.
To further underscore this logic, realize how similar the Irish currently are to a triple-option offensive attack. Notre Dame utilizes three running backs and struggles to push the ball downfield. Perhaps UNLV offers an opportunity to work on connecting on those deep routes, but the Irish are more likely to lean on what works, at least to build an initial lead.
As Air Force did so, it ran the ball 76 times for 406 yards, an average of 5.3 yards per carry that chewed the clock and limited UNLV’s possessions, not that reducing that threat was terribly necessary.
Notre Dame can replicate that, cut into both the Rebels’ possessions and field position, and thus help its defense, a change of pace this season.
My best bet: UNLV team total Under 9.5 (-106 at FanDuel)
Looking to bet on some college football action? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:
A) New users at FanDuel can get a no-sweat first bet of up to $1,000! Sign Up Now
B) New users at DraftKings can bet $5 and get $200 in free bets! Sign Up Now
*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of College football promo codes for 2022.
UNLV vs Notre Dame spread analysis
At the beginning of the week, public optimism about Brumfield’s status kept this spread at -24.0 or -24.5, but as it became more and more clear Brumfield will miss a second consecutive game (and most of a third), the spread moved to -27.0 — with some books reaching -27.5.
Thus, it can be assumed the difference between Friel and Brumfield is three points.
Against almost any other team, that may not be enough, but assuming Notre Dame will score at least 35 points may be foolish. The Irish offense has stagnated drastically this season. The Irish reach the red zone three times per game, getting into the end zone on only two-thirds of them. UNLV’s defense might be porous itself, ranked No. 99 in expected points added, per cfb-graphs, but Stanford ranks No. 121, and Notre Dame just managed all of 14 points against the Cardinal.
Even if being charitable and pointing out that the Irish squandered two other scoring opportunities, including the potential game-winning score with a late fumble, that still would have been only 28 points.
These inefficiencies certainly seem like they will plague Notre Dame all season, making a four-touchdown spread a daunting one.
UNLV vs Notre Dame Over/Under analysis
The inept Irish offense explains why this total remains as low as 47. Notre Dame might dominate UNLV, but it does not have the offensive firepower to post 50-some points. Reaching 40 would be a shock.
If Brumfield were playing, not to mention UNLV running back Aidan Robbins, then it could be pondered if the Rebels might reach 20 points, and this entire dynamic would gain intrigue. Without them, though, UNLV is most likely to botch as many red-zone possessions as the Irish will, an unbeatable recipe for an Under.
UNLV vs Notre Dame betting trend to know
The Under is 5-1 in Notre Dame’s six games this season. Find more NCAA betting trends for UNLV vs. Notre Dame.
UNLV vs Notre Dame game info
|Location:||Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN|
|Date:||Saturday, October 22, 2022|
|Kickoff:||2:30 p.m. ET|
UNLV vs Notre Dame latest injuries
UNLV vs Notre Dame weather
Monitor gametime conditions with our College football weather info.