It’s been a weird start to the season for Notre Dame and the spread against Wake Forest says it all. While the Fighting Irish are 3-0, they haven’t won any of their Games with ease and opened as a -8 point road favorite (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) against a Wake Forest team that just fell at home to Boston College.
Notre Dame was hyped after taking down Michigan in the opener, but followed that with two non-covering wins against Ball State and Vanderbilt. This will be its first true road Game of the season and then the Irish follow that with Stanford and a trip to Virginia Tech. SCraping by against weaker teams will only get them so far and this is the type of Game they should Scorein. It was a shootout when these teams met last year with Notre Dame winning 48-37 at home as Brandon Wimbush threw for 280 yards and ran for 110 more. The difference is that Wake has a new quarterback in Sam Hartman and he’s not nearly as good as John Wolford was.
It doesn’t help that Wake’s defense is as bad as it was a year ago and most recently was torched by Boston College for 41 points. If Notre Dame can’t crack the 30-point mark in this Game, it’d be a disappointment. Wimbush has been wretched passing the ball with just one touchdown and Four interceptions, completing 55.3% of his passes. The Irish have won through a ground Game between Tony Jones, Jafar Armstrong and Wimbush. While that may be enough in this Game, more Wimbush interceptions could lead to another non-covering win.
That said, Notre Dame’s defense is still a stout group, though it hasn’t played any elite offenses. Stopping Michigan to 17 points was good, but the Wolverines have issues of their own. The Demon Deacons don’t have as consistent of an offense as last season mainly because the freshman quarterback is shaky. If the Irish can stop Wake from running the ball, it could end up dominating this Game. The only reason Wake was close with BC was because of a ground Game that went for 298 yards on 5.0 yards per carry. The Irish have controlled the line of scrimmage in every contest so far, not allowing any opposing offense to top 3.6 yards per carry. If that happens against Wake, it’s hard to see Hartman doing enough to keep the Deacons in contention. But for those backing the home team, it’s worth noting this ground Game worked in last year’s meeting en route to 239 yards on 6.0 yards per carry.
Neither team has been easy to trust in the early season, but Notre Dame has the undeniable talent edge. It may be a matter of time until it gets going and this may be the Game. Maybe. The Fighting Irish are 1-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 2-6 ATS in their last eight Games overall. The Demon Deacons are 1-4 ATS in their last five non-Conference Games and haven’t covered in their last five overall.
Our Pick – Notre Dame -7.5