Pick – Analysis
It’s been an up-and-down couple of weeks for Notre Dame and Arizona State and now they get to face off at Cowboys Stadium. The line on this Game has been bouncing around. For example, if you like Arizona State you can currently get -5.5 at 5 Dimes sportsbook. If you like Arizona State, you can get +6 at wagerweb. As with any Game, it pays to shop the odds.
The Sun Devils were handled by Stanford two Games ago, but then scored 62 points on USC, a team that was supposed to have a good defense. Then there’s Notre Dame, who already has two losses including a recent home loss to Oklahoma. The best team they’ve beaten so far is Michigan State.
It goes without saying, but the Fighting Irish are a different team this year. Tommy Rees is not the same quarterback as Everett Golson and their defense is not at the same level as seen a year ago. In the two losses, Rees has thrown five interceptions and that’s not going to win many close Games. In fact, over the last two Games, Rees is just 23-for-58 for 246 yards, two TDs and three INTs. He has weapons in TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels, but that wasn’t enough against the Sooners. Their running Game wasn’t all that bad, mainly due to an 80-yd TD run by George Atkinson III, but you can’t live on those plays.
LUckily for Notre Dame, the Sun Devils don’t exactly have a great defense, so the opportunity for Rees will be there. Now it’s up to him to lead this team to some wins.
After what Arizona State’s offense did last weekend, it’s a wonder what this Irish defense can do. They’ve already given up 41 points to Michigan and 35 to Oklahoma.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly is the obvious problem for opposing defenses. While he struggled a bit at Stanford, Kelly was able to come back and throw for 351 yards and three TDs in the 62-point effort against USC. He also managed a 40-yard rush which is something defenses can’t really prepare for with him. Jaelen Strong has been key in the receiving Game, getting at least 100 yards in three straight Games now. And then there’s RB Marion Grice, who hasn’t really had much success on the ground, but still has 12 total touchdowns in Four Games. That has to count for something.
Notre Dame tends to draw public money. But not this week. 85% of the action at 5dimes.com has come in on Arizona State. The public may end of being right here. We’ll see. But that public money is a perfect example of how the public reacts to the most recent events. In this case, they are reacting to Arizona States point explosion last week.
The Sun Devils are 5-2 ATS in their last seven Games overall, but only 0-4-1 in their last five Games on field turf. The Fighting Irish aren’t much better, going 0-5 ATS in their last five on field turf and 0-5-1 ATS in their last six overall. Something will have to break in this Game.
The numbers point towards a play on Arizona State and while we aren’t traditionally superstitious, we do believe in leprechauns. It seems the Irish have pulled more rabiits out of their hats than any other team in college football. We’ve been burned too many times by Notre Dame at home, so we’ll watch this one from the sidelines. But the numbers say Arizona State -6