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Florida State at Notre Dame Betting Odds & Pick: Back the Irish as Favorites Against the Seminoles (Saturday, Oct. 10)

Florida State at Notre Dame Betting Odds & Pick: Back the Irish as Favorites Against the Seminoles (Saturday, Oct. 10) article feature image

David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ian Book

  • Florida State will travel to South Bend, Indiana, on Saturday to take on Ian Book and Notre Dame.
  • Mike Calabrese thinks the Fighting Irish are heavy favorites over the Seminoles for good reason.
  • Check out Calabrese's full betting preview with updated odds below.

Florida State at Notre Dame Odds

Florida State Odds +20.5 [BET NOW]
Notre Dame Odds -20.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +775/-1250 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 53.5 [BET NOW]
Time Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET

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There are a lot of things you can gameplan around as an offensive coach. Even teams down to their second and third-string quarterbacks find ways to simplify their schemes without completely sacrificing their offensive production. But a shaky offensive line has a way of limiting an offense at every turn. Here in 2020, Florida State is once again saddled with that deficiency.

The Noles’ offensive line coach, Alex Atkins, is the unit’s fourth coach in the last four years. Atkins was brought in to turn around one of the Power Five’s worst lines, but injuries have made that nearly impossible.

And while they have decent size, the unit as a whole lacks the athleticism needed to slow opposing front sevens. This is why FSU is allowing seven Tackles for Loss (TFLs) and 3.67 sacks per game (65th out of 72 teams).

When the pressure hasn’t resulted in negative yardage, it’s translated to turnovers. Florida State has seven giveaways through three games and more are on the horizon against one of the nation’s most disruptive defenses (4th in defensive havoc).

Check out our free NCAAF odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

If I weren’t so bullish on Notre Dame’s defense in this spot, the Irish’s three-week layoff would give me pause. Last week, both North Carolina and Memphis dealt with extremely long in-season layoffs and responded by posting an 0-2 record ATS.

What’s different in this spot is that Notre Dame can ease back into live-action with a dominant running game that is unlikely to be slowed by a pedestrian Florida State front.

The Seminoles have surrendered 361 yards and five rushing touchdowns to their two FBS opponents this season. Notre Dame can take advantage, considering they’re averaging 5.28 yards per carry and 229.5 yards per game (13th nationally).

The Irish are creating chunk plays in the running game, with five 20+ yard runs in just two games. It also doesn’t hurt that Ian Book has been chipping in with three red zone rushing touchdowns.

What I also find interesting in this game is that Notre Dame’s identity under offensive coordinator Tommy Rees can be aptly described as diverse. Rees employs multiple formations and personnel groupings. It’s not nearly as jarring as preparing for a triple-option offense, but Florida State will have to scheme against a team that has employed fullbacks regularly in their offensive sets.

This allows Notre Dame to integrate Wing-T techniques while confusing opposing fronts. You can see Notre Dame’s scheme in action at the :50 mark of this video preview.

Notre Dame has talent along the offensive line and in the backfield, as well as a multifaceted schematic advantage over Florida State. I believe that will translate to a 200+ yard performance on the ground.

Florida State Seminoles

There are two buckets that most offenses fall into in today’s college football. Some are explosive but inefficient, while others are containable but highly efficient. Score the best of both worlds and you have an offensive juggernaut. Fail to be explosive, while also being inefficient, and you’re likely to get someone fired. Florida State, just three games into their 2020 campaign, is already flirting with pink slips.

The Seminoles have generated just three plays of 30+ yards this season, and all three came against Jacksonville State. Suffice to say, they can’t generate the home run play against a living, breathing defense.

From an efficiency standpoint, FSU has been able to sustain a few drives here and there thanks to their 3rd down conversion rate (46.8%, 23rd). But their work through the air (64th pass efficiency, 6.4 ypa), combined with their five interceptions, completely negates their decent work on third downs. In other words, even when they manage to extend drives, it’s just a matter of time before they shoot themselves in the foot.

Against an elite and well-rested Notre Dame defense, that spells trouble.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

Ever since Notre Dame rebounded from its ghastly 4-8 campaign in 2016, the Irish have been a good bet in South Bend, posting a 13-9 record against the spread. Eleven rushers and 10 receivers toted the rock for Notre Dame in their first two games in an effort to treat those contests as de facto preseason scrimmages.

Now that they’re facing their toughest test from a point-spread perspective, I anticipate a full 60 minutes from their starters and an emphatic win against a reeling program.

I would play this all the way up to 27.5 and will likely play them on the alternate spread up to that number.

Pick: Notre Dame-20.5

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