No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9-0 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. Boston College Eagles (2-7 SU, 2-7 ATS)
College Football Week 11
Date/Time: Saturday, November 10th, 2012, 8:00 p.m. EST
Where: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ND -19/BC +19
Over/Under Total: 47.5
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The 4th-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish will play the first of back-to-back games they’re “supposed to” win on Saturday night when the Irish visit Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill to take on the Boston College Eagles.
The Irish, who slid back to 4th in the current BCS poll following their too-close-for-comfort triple-overtime victory over Pittsburgh last Saturday, 29-26, can’t afford to take the pedal off the gas. The Irish have yet to lose to Boston College under Brian Kelly, a trend they’ll have to stay focused and motivated to continue in order to stay in the BCS title hunt down the stretch.
With a 2-7 record and a new athletic director in town (Brad Bates hired in early October), you can pretty much count the days before BC coach Frank Spaziani is sent packing, so there’s little doubt that this week’s game against the Irish is THEE game for “Coach Spaz” and the Eagles, their bowl game if you will. The Eagles didn’t look even close to ready for the upset in last week’s bad loss at Wake Forest, 28-14, so Coach Spaz and the Eagles will have to pull off some kind of holiday miracle to knock the Irish off their BCS-or-bust course.
If Boston College is able to pull off the upset it would be colossal, considering that Notre Dame opened as 18.5-point favorites on the road at Alumni. The early money has been on the chalk Irish enough to drive the number up to minus -19 at most sportsbooks, but that’s as far as it’s gone at this early stage.
There are a few offshore sportsbooks that list an over/under total, with 47.5 or 48 being the two numbers you can find right now.
After handicapping this game a little I have to admit, it doesn’t look good for the Eagles on Saturday.
By now we know the Irish offense is going to force feed their trio of backs Theo Riddick, Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III plenty of carries in the running game, the problem is that Boston College is 119th in the 120-team FBS in stopping the run allowing 232 yards a game.
The question Coach Spaz and any other Eagles fans still harboring thoughts of an upset must answer can they score enough on the Irish’s 2nd-ranked defense (11.7 ppg) to win the game? Quarterback Chase Rettig (56.4 %, 2,556 yards, 16 TD, 8 INT) and receiver Alex Amidon (1,073 yards, 6 TD) are nice pieces and they’ve helped to propel the Eagles pass offense up to one of the top in the country (289 ypg – 27th), but against Manti Te’o, Kapron Lewis-Moore and Stephon Tuitt the Eagles and Rettig might not have enough protection and time to get that passing game rolling.
About the only thing Boston College has going for them is the fact that they have a good history against the Irish, prior to 2009. Notre Dame has won three straight, but part of the reason Kelly is coaching the Irish is because the Eagles won six straight from 2001 to 2009.
The betting trends in this ND-BC series favor both the road team (7-2 ATS) and the underdog (7-2 ATS), but BC is 5-13 ATS in their last 18 home games at Alumni Stadium so wager with caution.
The under is 5-0 in the last five head-to-head meetings, but it’s also 11-4 in BC’s last 15 home games and 13-3 in ND’s last 16 games vs. an ACC opponent, so the under could be the safest wager on the board Saturday night.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Coming off the heels of a near-upset to Pitt, I think the Eagles lost any chance they had at surprising the Irish. In fact, I think Kelly plays the disrespect card (snub to No. 4) to perfection and the Irish crush the Eagles in a big way. I’m not a fan of taking big chalk, but if you’re going to play this game then Irish are the play. I’m betting Notre Dame minus the points.
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