Notre Dame vs. Virginia Odds & Pick: Expect Defensive Battle on Wednesday Night (Jan. 13)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images. Pictured: Nate Laszewski
- Notre Dame's long season is expected to continue on Wednesday as the Irish are big underdogs against Virginia.
- Both of these teams play at a slow pace so the total is low, but BJ Cunningham doesn't think that should stop bettors from looking towards the under:
Notre Dame vs. Virginia Odds
Notre Dame is in the midst of a really difficult season, as the Irish are 3-7 and have lost four of their last five games. The Fighting Irish are winless in ACC play, and bookmakers don’t think the skid will end on Wednesday afternoon as the Irish are big underdogs against Virginia.
The Cavaliers came into this season with title aspirations, but they were hit back after losses to San Francisco and Gonzaga. That said, Virginia has won three straight games in ACC play and looks like one of the best teams in the conference.
When Notre Dame has the ball
Notre Dame’s offense has somewhat sputtered since ACC play began, as they are averaging just 0.99 points per possession. That said, the Irish are well-versed in the fundamentals. They have the second-best turnover percentage in the conference and sport a free-throw rate over 77%.
The biggest issue that Notre Dame had in its 66-57 loss to Virginia 15 days ago was that it only grabbed three offensive rebounds. That’s an issue that has plagued the Irish all season, as they own the lowest offensive rebounding rate in the ACC.
Notre Dame will need to improve on the 40% field-goal percentage it posted against the Cavs, or it will need to create a lot more second-chance opportunities to have a chance in this game, especially since Virginia plays at the slowest tempo in the country.
Virginia has drastically improved from giving up 98 points and 1.42 points per possession in its loss to Gonzaga. The Cavs are keeping ACC opponents to 0.94 points per possession and are holding them under 44% from 2-point range. The Cavs are also blocking over 10% of attempts.
Virginia held Notre Dame to 0.97 points per possession thanks to Notre Dame shooting just 25% from 3-point range. If Cavs can put together a similar defensive performance on Wednesday, they should be able to hold the Fighting Irish under 60 points without a problem.
When Virginia has the ball
Despite how slow the Cavaliers play on offense, they are incredibly efficient, averaging 1.10 points per possession over its last three games. Virginia has shot nearly 60% from 2-point range in that span. That said, it’s struggling to find a rhythm with the 3-ball and is only converting on 29.5% of its shots from deep in its last three games.
Virginia had most of its success from inside the arc in its win over Notre Dame on Dec. 30. The Cavaliers should 30.8% from 3-point range and only attempted eight free throws in that game. Despite that, Virginia still managed to score 1.12 points per possession.
Like on offense, Notre Dame’s defense struggles on the boards. The Irish are allowing the highest rebound rate in the ACC, but they should be OK in this matchup since Virginia has one of the lowest offensive rebounding rates in the conference. In fact, in their last meeting, Virginia only grabbed seven offensive rebounds.
Notre Dame also really struggles to defend the 3-point shot but forces teams to shoot only 48.8% inside the arc, which matches up perfectly with Virginia’s strengths and weaknesses on offense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Since Virginia plays at the slowest tempo in the country, its totals will always be extremely low.
However, Notre Dame also plays at a snail’s pace (266th in AdjTempo per KenPom), so this is going to be a grind-it-out game played in the half-court.
I project this game for 119.7 points, so I like the under at 124.5 points or better.
Pick: Under 124.5 points or better.