Saturday College Football Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions for Boston College vs. Notre Dame
Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Notre Dame Fighting Irish Ian Book.
Boston College vs. Notre Dame Odds
|Boston College Odds||+11.5 [BET NOW]|
|Notre Dame Odds||-11.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+350 / -455 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||51.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||3:30 p.m. ET|
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish follow up their monster win over Clemson with a trip to Chestnut Hill, Mass., to face the Boston College Eagles.
This game is filled with intriguing storylines, preeminent among which is: How will the Irish perform in this potential letdown spot after its monumental victory?
It would be easy for any team to look past an unranked foe the week after knocking off the No. 1 team in the country, but I don’t expect that from a veteran Irish squad, led by senior quarterback Ian Book.
Notre Dame’s star now boasts a 27-3 record as a starter in his Notre Dame tenure, with the Irish having won an FBS-leading 13 games in a row. If there’s a quarterback in the country who can keep his team focused all week and avoid a hangover performance in this tough spot, it’s Book.
One player who can’t wait for Saturday is Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec, who transferred to Boston College from Notre Dame this summer. Jurkovec is having a great sophomore season, almost leading the Eagles to an upset win against Clemson on Halloween.
Jurkovec, who enters the game leading the ACC in passing yards, is salivating at the opportunity to knock off his former team on home soil.
Boston College Eagles
Off to a 5-3 start, Boston College has been one of the more pleasant ACC surprises. The Eagles’ improvement has largely stemmed from better quarterback play, with Jurkovec taking over under center. Following the loss of star running back AJ Dillon to the NFL and an inconsistent passing game last season, Jurkovec joining the Eagles’ roster was a gift.
Jurkovec averages 260 yards per game through the air, making him the best passing quarterback at Boston College since Matt Ryan donned the maroon and gold in the mid-2000s. Wide receiver Zay Flowers and tight end Hunter Long are quality targets for Jurkovec, combining for more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns.
The production in the running game has dropped off dramatically in the first year of the Jeff Hafley era, as the Eagles are managing just 106 yards per game on the ground on a very poor 3.1 yards per attempt. Running back David Bailey played great in spots last year as Dillon’s backup, but has struggled in the featured back role, gaining just 3.9 yards per carry.
The Eagles had to break in two new starting guards this season, with the inexperience on the inside of the line showing in the run game.
The Eagles defense has been pretty average statistically, but its performance has really fluctuated based on the level of competition. In their three losses to North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Clemson, the Eagles surrendered 33.3 points per game, compared to 19.4 in their five wins.
The biggest concern for the Eagles’ defense in this game is defending against the Notre Dame running game. Earlier this year, Virginia Tech’s elite rushing attack shredded the Boston College defense for 350 yards and 8.5 yards per carry. The Eagles’ front seven is overmatched against the Irish offensive line and could be in for a long day against another powerful rushing offense.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
While Book is the name everyone knows, the Irish offense starts with the running game. Notre Dame, who returned all five starters on the offensive line, is as talented as it is experienced. Running back was a question mark entering the season, but Kyren Williams quickly erased any concern over who would be the lead in the backfield.
Notre Dame has run the ball on 61.7% of its snaps this season, and the numbers from Williams and team as a whole are impressive. The Irish are top 20 in the nation in rushing yards per game, with Williams already accumulating 740 yards on 5.8 yards per carry with 10 touchdowns.
In the passing game, the Irish lack an elite receiver for the first time in a while, but have been able to make it work by committee. Javon McKinley leads the team with 366 yards. Between McKinley, Avery Davis, and Ben Skowronek, someone seems to step up and have a big game each week. Davis was the guy last week, saving the Irish at the end of regulation against Clemson by hauling in a 53-yard catch to set up his game-tying touchdown that forced overtime.
Notre Dame has an elite group of tight ends and loves to get them involved as well. Freshman Michael Mayer, nicknamed “Baby Gronk,” is a gifted athlete who leads the team in receptions and has become one of Book’s favorite targets. Junior Tommy Tremble has made a name for himself as a terrific blocker, but he’s also a top receiving threat and will be a high NFL draft choice.
As good as the Irish offense looked against Clemson, the defense has been the strength of the team. Notre Dame is holding opponents to just 14.6 points per game, while allowing less than 300 yards of total offense, good enough for the 10th-best mark in the country.
The Irish’s schedule turned out to be easier than expected early on, as teams like Florida State, Louisville and Pittsburgh haven’t lived up to their respective preseason hype. Because of this, there were question marks about how good the defense really was prior to the Clemson game.
The Irish may have given up significant yardage to the Tigers, but they came up huge on several occasions. The defense had two key takeaways in the first half and forced the Tigers to kick four field goals, doing a great job of finishing drives against one of the nation’s most talented offenses.
With the game on the line in the second overtime, the Irish defense sacked DJ Uiagalelei on first and second down, putting itself in position to seal the win.
Betting Analysis & Pick
With a veteran quarterback who takes care of the ball, a reliable running game and stellar defense, the Irish may be one of the few teams immune to letdown spots. Notre Dame is more talented in the trenches and should be able to get what it wants on the ground.
Bottom line, the Irish are capable of taking control right out of the gate.
Ripping off big plays in the passing game early and coming up with a huge fumble return for a touchdown allowed Boston College to keep it close against Clemson, but it’s tough to imagine the Eagles’ defense duplicating that kind of performance against an Irish team that doesn’t make many mistakes.
Jurkovec and the Boston College offense were sluggish against Syracuse last week, so if they come out playing that way again early, the Irish will bury them.
The Notre Dame offense will be able to put up some points, which means Boston College is playing from behind, it’ll be throwing all second half and attempting to keep the clock stopped.
That kind of game script plays out well for the over hitting on a total this low. That said, I like the Irish to roll and the total to go over the number as well.
I’d play Notre Dame up to -16 and the over to 52 points.
Pick: Notre Dame -13.5 (up to -16) | Total Over 49.5 (up to 52)