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Pick with Analysis
Two Independents clash on Saturday afternoon as Notre Dame hosts BYU in a game that can be seen live on NBC-TV at 3:30 pm est. The Irish opened as a double digit -14 point favorite at both 5 Dimes and Betonline with a posted total of just 41. The betting action at the world's largest sportsbook, sportsbook.ag, has been fairly balanced to this point.
And so it continues. Notre Dame's perfect season that is. After grueling out a tough 20-13 OT win over Stanford last week, the Fighting Irish sit at 6-0 with a favorable matchup against BYU. The Cougars are 4-3, but have yet to beat anyone worth any significance. They lost to Boise State and got crushed by Oregon State this past weekend. Notre Dame is two touchdown favorites for a reason.
Notre Dame's big game will be the next week when they have to go to Oklahoma. If you're going with BYU in this game, you're hoping ND will look ahead to playing in Norman. That hasn't been the case for them yet, though. They already have three wins over Top 25 teams and give up under 10 points per game which is second in the country. The most points they gave up was 17 against Purdue. Linebacker Manti Te'o is getting more national attention every week and is shooting up draft boards. He is the heart of the Notre Dame defense.
Offensively, they haven't been spectacular, but they've done enough to win games like last week when they scored a touchdown in their first OT possession. That TD came from the arm of Tommy Rees who only completed one pass in the game prior to overtime. Everett Golson is their starter (questionable Saturday) who plays most of the game unless they are in a pressure situation, which is when Rees comes in. Golson has 968 yards with a 4 to 3, TD to INT ratio and a 58.5% completion percentage. Golson uses five receivers at his disposal that all have between 12 and 20 receptions. Running back Theo Riddick has the 20 receptions and is used often out of the backfield. Riddick also has 308 yards on the ground with three TDs.
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BYU's defense is their strong point (up until last week when they allowed 42 points to Oregon State and their backup QB) and will need to stop Golson if they want to stand a chance. Much like Notre Dame, their offense is lacking in most areas, especially quarterback.
Taysom Hill took over at quarterback a couple weeks ago, but picked up a season-ending knee injury in just his second start. Riley Nelson is back under center and that may not be a good thing. Against Oregon State, he threw for 305 yards, but also had three interceptions. Nelson now has six TDs and eight INTs on the season. All signs point to him throwing a couple INTs against the ND defense. BYU will have to run well behind Jamaal Williams because their second leading rusher is Taysom Hill. Williams has 345 yards and five TDs on the season and he's had at least 15 carries in three straight games. Wide receiver Cody Hoffman is having a solid season with 41 catches for 534 yards. He will be the main focus for Notre Dame's secondary.
The last time these teams played was back in 2005 when Notre Dame won 49-23 behind the arm of Brady Quinn. The Fighting Irish have been solid covering four of six games this year while the Cougars sit at 3-4 ATS. However, BYU is also 5-1 ATS in their last six road games. The over is 4-1 in the Cougars last five road games while the under is 21-6-1 in Notre Dame's last 28 games against a team with a winning record.
BYU looks to be overmatched here. Not only are the Irish undefeated, but they are undefeated against a much more difficult schedule than BYU. BYU has failed each time they have stepped up in class thi syear and it's safe to say that this will be their biggest step up to date, on the road no less.
Notre Dame has won 4 of their 6 games by less than 14 points, so not thrilled about laying two touchdowns with the Irish, but we just don't see the BYU offense doing much as all in this game. Our model predicts a 17-3 type of a game here, making the under worth a look as well. We'll tread lightly here though. Just a couple of opinions - Notre Dame -13.5 and Under 41.
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