Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame Odds, Picks: Bet the Pokes in Fiesta Bowl

Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame Odds, Picks: Bet the Pokes in Fiesta Bowl article feature image

Brian Bahr/Getty Images. Pictured: Brendon Evers (98) and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame Odds

Saturday, Jan. 1
1 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State Odds
-110o / -110u
Notre Dame Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Marcus Freeman era begins at the Fiesta Bowl.

A year ago at this time, Freeman was preparing the Cincinnati defense for a Peach Bowl standoff with Georgia. With the hire of Clark Lea at Vanderbilt and Brian Kelly's departure for LSU, Freeman will be a first-time head coach at one of the most prestigious programs in college football.

Known as one of the best recruiters and defensive coordinators in the nation, Freeman will have high expectations to get Notre Dame back into national title contention.

The Notre Dame players are so freaking excited for the announcement of new head coach, Marcus Freeman, I love it!

The strength coach was so excited he even rushed the intro 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/wa5jcExhs7

— Emmanuel Acho (@EmmanuelAcho) December 3, 2021

Oklahoma State, meanwhile, came up short in winning the Big 12 and securing a potential College Football Playoff berth. A win in Bedlam capped off a one-loss regular season led by one of the best defenses in the nation.

Head coach Mike Gundy loses defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, who moves to the same position with Ohio State, but a collective effort will be used with all signs pointing to defensive line coach Joe Bob Clements calling plays for the bowl.

A conference championship loss generally breeds bowl hangovers, but Gundy is 10-5 against the spread in bowls and always has his teams prepared.

Oklahoma State Cowboys

After a stint as one of the most successful and explosive offensive teams in the nation, the tables have turned on the strength of the team in Stillwater.

After the loss of offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, Oklahoma State declined offensively under Sean Gleeson and now Kasey Dunn. The Cowboys line up without tight ends, electing to run in 10, 20 and 30 personnel this season.

The great news for the Pokes is the health of running back Jaylen Warren, as the senior will play at full strength in his last game for Oklahoma State.

Good luck y’all. Hope Jaylen Warren treats you right 💫 pic.twitter.com/aaIkwPRyqC

— Matt Gajewski (@Matt_Gajewski) October 16, 2021

Warren not only provides burning speed, but he also ranks as one of the most elusive players at running back. The former JUCO standout forced 76 missed tackles this season, logging 11 against a Baylor defense that's top-15 against the rush.

The success of Warren has given quarterback Spencer Sanders a great partner in the Cowboys' 124 play-action snaps this season. Opposing defenses with weak cornerback play were burned by Sanders' connection to wide receiver Tay Martin.

All of the skill-position players mentioned are in their final year, making the Fiesta Bowl their last collegiate chance to get NFL scouts' attention.

The star of the Oklahoma State team is the defense, as the advanced numbers do not show any weakness against the rush or pass. The Pokes rank inside the top 10 in the nation in Stuff Rate, Line Yards, coverage and Finishing Drives.

No other defense has a better three-and-out rate than Oklahoma State at 35% of opponent drives.

This is the top-ranked defensive Havoc unit in college football, thanks to edge rusher Collin Oliver and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez.


— Barstool Pokes (@BarstoolOKST) December 2, 2021

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Former quarterback and current offensive coordinator Tommy Rees had the chance to follow Kelly to LSU, but there will be no change in who's calling plays with Freeman getting to the head-coaching gig.

The Irish brought in transfer quarterback Jack Coan to bridge the gap from Ian Book to a pair of highly-touted freshman quarterbacks.

For the first time in Coan's career, the former Wisconsin quarterback had more big-time throws than turnover-worthy plays at a 20:7 ratio. Even more impressive is that 29% of dropbacks were pressured by opposing defenses.

ICE IN VEINS! Jack Coan 🚀 Michael Mayer for SIX.

Irish up 32-29 with 1:09 left 👀

(via @NDonNBC)


— 247Sports (@247Sports) September 11, 2021

With Kyren Williams opting out for the NFL Draft, the entire Notre Dame offense may be left with Coan to tight end Michael Mayer as the only effective option.

The Fighting Irish defense was one of the top units in terms of tackling and coverage during Freeman's first year as defensive coordinator.  Notre Dame ranked fifth in Defensive Finishing Drives, which contributed to plenty of close victories. Opposing teams averaged just 2.7 points per drive after crossing the ND 40-yard line.

Cornerbacks Cam Hart and Clarence Lewis will be a point of attack for the Cowboys offense, as neither defender ranks inside the top 60 of cornerback grading.

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Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Oklahoma State and Notre Dame match up statistically:

Oklahoma State Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense
Rush Success11224
Line Yards11952
Pass Success5133
Pass Blocking**3383
Big Play6666
Finishing Drives625
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Notre Dame Offense vs. Oklahoma State Defense
Rush Success705
Line Yards962
Pass Success2613
Pass Blocking**16115
Big Play414
Finishing Drives338
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling544
Middle 82053
SP+ Special Teams4056
Plays per Minute3271
Rush Rate59.2% (32)52.9% (79)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame Betting Pick

Both the Irish and Cowboys can be described by the famous Spiderman pointing GIF, as each has struggled offensively while allowing the defense to carry the water.

The difference is a top-10 rank in Success Rate through standard and passing downs for the Oklahoma State defense. Coan can take a hit from the Cowboys defense and keep throwing, but the limited amount of quality options in the passing game will hold back Notre Dame scoring.

With no ground game to lean on for Notre Dame, Oklahoma State will be tempted to send just three or four rushers to create pressure.

Kyle Hamilton has been as big of a loss on the defensive side of the ball as Williams has been on offense for Notre Dame. The Irish covered in the regular-season finale against Stanford, but the Cardinal had multiple explosive drives and posted more than 170 passing yards with a depleted roster.

Oklahoma State's ability to force three-down drives and post a top-10 rate against explosiveness in passing downs will be enough to allow Sanders to hit open weapons for the outright victory.

Pick: Oklahoma State +2 or Better

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