Things are lining up nicely for Notre Dame to reach the College Football Playoff this year. Of course, that won’t happen unless they win out. Ahead of a huge battle at Stanford next weekend, the Fighting Irish meet Boston College at Fenway Park where they are a -16.5 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Notre Dame’s only loss this year was at Clemson, the current No. 1 team in the country and that’s a main reason they are getting respect. But just how good is this team? They couldn’t break away from Wake Forest last week and struggled against Temple and Pittsburgh the previous two Games. However, a 41-31 win over USC is looking better by the day.
As for Boston College, this season hasn’t gone as well as hoped. The Eagles are just 3-7 and haven’t won a Game in the ACC yet. Still, BC’s defense has been impressive (14.4 points allowed per Game, 4th-best in country) and keeps them around against most teams. In fact, they haven’t lost by more than 17 points all year. They lost 34-17 at Clemson and 14-0 against Florida State earlier in the year. This line is set at 17 points for a reason.
So can this Notre Dame offense breakthrough? The Irish have had some high-scoring Games, but against better defensives teams such as Clemson, Temple and Wake Forest, they have struggled a bit, scoring below 30 points in all of those contests. If they can’t reach that mark here, covering will be tough.
Top running back C.J. Prosise (975 yards, 11 TDs) is expected to return after missing last week so that will be a boost for the offense. Usually when the running Game struggles, so does the offense, it’s as simple as that. But DeShone Kizer has done enough in those instances and is putting together a solid campaign with 24 total TDs and six INTs, completing 66.2% of his passes. He threw two picks at Temple a few weeks ago and that was one of the reasons they only won 24-20. As long as Kizer plays it safe, this Game will be there for a cover against an ineffective Boston College offense.
While BC’s defense is great, they can’t do much on the offensive side. Case in point: the Eagles haven’t scored more than 17 points in Conference play and have totaled just 18 points in the last two Games. Boston College has turned to freshman John Fadule at quarterback the last couple weeks and there isn’t much to show for it. He has one touchdown and Four interceptions. This used to be an offense that built itself on running the ball, but that hasn’t been the case this year with a weak line. As a team, the Eagles are averaging 3.6 yards per carry and if they can’t find any room in this Game, points will again be hard to come by. And there’s no reason to expect Fadule will breakout.
The underdog is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these schools, while the under has hit in six straight meetings. Notre Dame won this Game 21-6 back in 2012 and this year’s Scoreline could be similar to that.
Our Pick – Always tough to back a team with no offensive punch. The BC defense is every bit as good as some of the top defensive units in the country but the offense is simply weak.
However, when you consider the potential for the Irish to be looking ahead to Stanford, combined with the fact that this Game is in Fenway Park, the recipe for a close Game is in place. This will be BC’s Super Bowl. The motivation will be there.
The line has moved off +17 which is significant. You want +17 if you can get it. But for now, BC +16.5
Also worth looking at BC + for the 1st qtr and 1st half.