USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Eric Dungey and Dexter Williams
Notre Dame-Syracuse Betting Odds, Pick
- Odds: Notre Dame -10
- Over/Under: 65.5
- Time: Saturday, 2:30 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC
>> All odds as of 11 a.m. ET on Friday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets
Raise your hand if you thought Syracuse would be Notre Dame’s toughest test in its quest to make the College Football Playoff. Anybody?
Dino Babers has the Orange playing their best football of the past decade, maybe even since the 1990s. They’re playing well on both sides of the ball, and have the best special teams unit in the country (per S&P+).
But Notre Dame will be a whole new challenge for Syracuse, especially on defense. The Irish rank ninth in yards per play allowed and top 15 against both the run and pass.
Market Moves for Notre Dame-Syracuse
Notre Dame has drawn only 38% of bets and 27% of money wagered as of writing (see live data here). If it holds, that 37% would be the smallest backing the Irish have received all season. Still they’ve moved from -9.5 to -10.
While not sold on the Irish, bettors have been piling on the over in this game. Eighty-three percent have taken this over, accounting for 70% of dollars wagered. That backing has bumped this total up from 61.5 to 65.5.
Ian Book Expected to Play
It’s no secret how much better Notre Dame’s offense has been with Book under center. He sat last week with a rib injury, but is expected to play.
In all but one game with Book at quarterback, Notre Dame has averaged at least 6.3 yards per play. With Brandon Wimbush, the Irish have had only one game like that.
Book ranks first in the nation in completion percentage and 10th in yards per attempt. He’s efficient and is generating big plays.
Can Syracuse Defense Keep Up?
That’s the handicap in this game for me. Syracuse’s overall defensive numbers aren’t awful on the surface — 68th in S&P+ and 81st in yards per play allowed — but the Orange have given up a ton of points in a handful of games.
Cuse gave up at least 37 points and 500 yards to: Western Michigan, North Carolina and N.C. State. Not exactly Notre Dame.
There are two main reasons I think Syracuse has been able to win games in spite of some monster offensive performances by the opposition:
- Field Position
- Turnover Luck
Syracuse has one of the best punters in the nation and the best average field position against on defense of any team in the country (25.7-yard line on average). On offense, the Orange rank No. 7 and start on average at the 36.7-yard line.
That means the Orange have a 12-yard head start on their opposition on every drive. They’re averaging 16.5 possessions per game on offense, so even if they lose the yardage battle by 100, it’s much closer to even thanks to special teams.
Field position is sustainable thanks to excellent special teams. Turnover luck usually isn’t.
Per S&P+, Cuse has a plus-13 turnover margin when it should be around plus-4. The Orange are one of the luckiest teams in the nation and gaining about 4.5 points of turnover luck per game.
Against an opportunistic Notre Dame defense, I think the turnover margin could come back down to Earth for the Orange.
Bet to Watch: Is Syracuse Getting Too Much Credit?
By Ken Barkley