Florida State vs. Notre Dame Betting Prediction
Florida State Seminoles (1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday, October 10th, 7:30 PM
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, IN
Point Spread: FSU +21 / ND -21 (Bookmaker - One of the oldest and most trusted!)
Over/Under Total: 53
The Florida State Seminoles head north to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for a primetime showdown in South Bend on Saturday night. FSU leads the all-time series 6-3, but it was the Irish that were victorious in their last meeting back in 2018, a 42-13 thumping at Notre Dame Stadium.
The Seminoles enter the game with a disappointing 1-2 record that could have looked a lot worse if not for a comeback victory last week against FBS level Jacksonville State. They are simply not the same program they used to be since Jimbo Fisher left to get tons of money from Texas A&M, so the Aggies could continue to lose significant to Alabama every year. After going 78-17 from 2010-2016, Florida State has gone just 19-22 since and has finished the last two years in a row with an under .500 record, which marked the first time the program has fallen to such depths since the 1975-1976 seasons.
FSU quarterback Jordan Travis started the season as the third-stringer, but after James Blackman was ineffective the first two games and Tate Rodemaker struggled against Jacksonville State, Travis was thrust into the starting role. In turn, he led the team to touchdowns on five straight drives on their way to a comeback victory, and it was announced Monday that he would start this week against the Irish. Travis has the ability to make plays through the air and on the ground, and with the position, clearly open for the taking, has the dual-threat skill set that could certainly put him over the top against his competition.
Who Travis can build a connection with on the offense remains to be seen, as only five players on the team have more than four catches on the season. Tamorrion Terry is the best of the bunch but is still looking to get into the endzone for the first time this year. Unfortunately, Terry hasn’t always performed well against top competition (he was held without a catch against Miami in Week 2), and that especially includes touchdowns as he has scored just twice in eight career games against top 20 teams. After Terry, tight end Camren McDonald along with Ontaria Wilson, Keyshawn Helton, and Jashaun Corbin, will likely see the most targets from Travis. Corbin is the top receiving threat out of the backfield, Wilson is tied for the lead in receptions on the team, and Helton is a scoring threat with touchdowns on two of his five receptions.
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BACKFIELD BRIGHT SPOT
Thus far, the highlight of the Florida State offense has been the play of their backfield, which is averaging 174.3 yards per game and ranks 28th in the country in rushing yards per game. Lawrance Toafill, Jashaun Corbin, and La’Damian Webb all have at least 20 carries apiece, and a touchdown scored so far this season, and the rushing dynamic of quarterback Jordan Travis certainly adds another option to the Seminoles tri-back attack. This is something that can only help going up against a Notre Dame defense that ranks 13th in the country against the run. They will need to show they can play at the same level against top opponents, though, as all three of the running back’s touchdowns were against lowly Jacksonville State with zero against Georgia Tech and Miami.
SIDE OF COVID
The Fighting Irish come into Saturday last having played on September 19th, thanks to a coronavirus outbreak that swept through the roster after sharing multiple large-scale team meals together. Thankfully for scheduling purposes, the issue happened during one of their planned bye weeks, and Notre Dame now only has the Wake Forest game to make up sometime down the road this season.
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Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book will look to continue the play from his last performance when he ran for three touchdowns and guided the offense to a dominant 52-0 victory. More importantly, he looked significantly more comfortable in the pocket, losing the happy feet he had in week one and leading the offense with poise as they started piling up the points early and often. He has developed a quick rapport with top tight end Tommy Tremble, but what wideouts he can rely on consistently remains to be seen.
Against USF, the Notre Dame wide receivers combined for only four receptions, and only five players (Braden Lenzy, Javon McKinley, Joe Wilkins, Avery Davis, and Lawrence Keys) have caught a pass so far this season. Lenzy was returning from injury against the Bulls and should take more of a prominent role going forward, but for Book’s sake and that of the offense, they will need to see an uptick in production from the position if they want to have a chance down the road when the schedule starts including actual challenges. This week they may catch an additional break with top Seminole safety Hamsah Narsirildeen questionable to play after missing last week’s game against Jacksonville State due to injury. FSU will be forced to rely on cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. even more in the defensive backfield as he is the only one on the team to record an interception for the team this season with three so far. His father played in the NFL for eleven seasons and went to four Pro Bowls but is most known for dropping an interception in Super Bowl XLII that could have secured a perfect 19-0 season for the Patriots.
The Notre Dame backfield is sure to face a stiffer test this week after running for 281 yards and six touchdowns in their last game. Similar to Florida State, the Irish uses a three-pronged backfield attack with Kryen Williams, Chris Tyree, and C’Bo Flemister all a threat to break loose every time they touch the ball, and with Book along for the ride as well, certainly offer some matchup difficulty for opposing defenses.
THE FINAL DECISION
With three weeks off in between games thanks to their germ sharing meal plan, the Fighting Irish enter the week with a definite risk of rustiness and certainly for health wear and tear for those that were directly affected by the teams’ COVID outbreak. Thankfully for Notre Dame, though, they are playing a Florida State team that is a far cry from what it once was, and that especially includes their ability to hang with not only top tier opponents, but also out of conference ones as well. The Seminoles are 1-9 against the spread in their last ten games against non-ACC opponents, and straight up, they aren’t that much better, going 5-5 in their previous ten out of conference contests with three of those wins against such heavyweights as FBS level Samford, Jacksonville State, and Alabama State to go along with fellow shallow victories against Louisiana-Monroe and Northern Illinois. More important is their complete inability to hold their own against ranked opponents, having lost 11 straight games against top 20 teams. The Seminoles are an empty shell compared to their dominant past and simply do not have the same talent level that fans became so accustomed to seeing, and now have to travel on the road to take on a Notre Dame team that controls their own destiny in terms of a BCS playoff berth while also riding a current 26 game winning streak against unranked opponents. I believe it will be too much for Florida State to overcome, and at games’ end, you can expect to see a home win and cover for the Fighting Irish on Saturday night in South Bend.
Mike’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Notre Dame -21