Louisville Cardinals (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date and Time: Saturday, November 22, 3:30pm EST
Where:Notre Dame Stadium – South Bend, IN
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LOU +3.5/ND -3.5
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Saturday at 3:30, the Louisville Cardinals will travel into South Bend to take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Both of these teams come in at 7-3 overall and at this point both programs are playing in order to get the best bowl bid possible. These two teams have not met in many years so this will be a fun game to watch.
Notre Dame opens as a 3.5 point favorite over Louisville, while the over/under is set at 53 points. In 2014, the Fighting Irish are 5-5 against the spread, while the Cardinals are 6-4. Based on the numbers I am seeing in Vegas, 68% of the action is on the Irish to cover the spread. I can see this game going in a number of directions so lets try to make sure we get on the correct side.
The return of Bobby Petrino has given the Cardinals new life and they feel that once again they can become a contender not only in the ACC, but among the nation. The crazy thing about this team is the fact that offensively, the Cardinals are as average as they come. Typically, a Petrino team puts up huge numbers on offense but this team has been winning games because of the defense. Louisville is ranked 10th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 17.8 points per game. In order for Louisville to get this win in South Bend, they are going to need to play a complete game both on offense and defense. Will Gardner and the Cardinals offense is going to need to score. The defense should slow down Notre Dame some, but I believe the winner of this game will need to score in the 30s.
Just a few weeks ago, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were poised to make a run at the college football playoff. After starting the season 6-0, then losing a heartbreaker to Florida State, the Irish still had an outside shot of getting into the final four, well, not now. Notre Dame has lost their last two games against Arizona State and Northwestern. At this piont, Notre Dame is just playing for a bowl bid. Of course they are already bowl eligible, but every win will get them a better bid. Notre Dame has been winning games based on their offense. Led by quarterback, Everett Golson, the Irish have the 15th best passing attack in the FBS. Golson has thrown for over 3,000 yards and 27 touchdowns. Not only does Golson sling the ball well, he is also the Irish’s second leading rusher. The one major knock on Golson however are his turnovers. He has thrown twelve interceptions and lost eight fumbles. If Notre Dame not only wants to cover this spread, but just win the game, this cannot happen. Golson and the offense will need to protect the ball and not let Louisville get easy scores or short fields. If Notre Dame can stay consistent on offense and eliminate mistakes, I like them to have a good showing.
Notre Dame is a hard team to predict. They have a tendency to show up for big games, then they play someone like Northwestern and lay an egg. Currently, they are on a two game losing streak, and part of me feels this team has given up. Like I said, right now, most action is on the Irish to cover the spread at home, but I am not so sure. In my opinion, we are looking at two teams that are very evenly matched. I am going to put my faith in the team that plays the better defense. I think Louisville will force some costly turnovers and get an ugly close win. The Cardinals will beat the Irish 23-21.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: PICK THE LOUISVILLE CARDINALS +3.5