Stanford-Notre Dame Betting Guide: Cardinal Can’t Keep This Up
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Notre Dame QB Ian Book and Stanford QB KJ Costello
Stanford-Notre Dame Betting Odds, Pick
- Odds: Notre Dame -5.5
- Over/Under: 52.5
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday
- TV Channel: NBC
>> All odds as of 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and track your bets.
Is Notre Dame in the driver’s seat for a spot in the College Football Playoff? It just might be.
The Irish host Stanford on Saturday in what’s likely their toughest test left this season. There are plenty of other tricky spots on the schedule still — at Virginia Tech, Florida State, at USC — but those teams have all fallen well short of expectations so far.
Stanford has one of the most impressive résumés in the country, with wins over San Diego State, USC and last week at Oregon (no matter how fortunate the Cardinal got, it’s a résumé-boosting win).
Market Moves for Stanford-Notre Dame
The bet and dollar percentages have been mirror images of one another in this game, as Stanford has drawn 56% of bets, while 53% of the money is being wagered on Notre Dame. The higher-money percentage on the Irish has contributed to the line move from -3.5 to -5.5.
The over has also drawn 67% of dollars on only 60% of bets.
Trends to Know
By Evan Abrams
In his career as the Cardinal head coach, David Shaw is 9-7 SU and 13-3 ATS as an underdog. Since replacing Jim Harbaugh in 2011, Shaw is the most profitable coach in FBS as an underdog and is just one of three head coaches to win more than 50% of his games SU as an underdog (min. 15 games played). Dabo Swinney and Mark Dantonio are the others.
As coach of Stanford, Shaw is 35-18-1 ATS (+15.5 units) when the Cardinal see the spread move against them (like +3.5 to +5.5), making him the most profitable coach in FBS in that spot.
By John Ewing
Shaw might be a great bet when the line moves against him, but history isn’t on his side in this matchup. Since 2005, when two top-10 teams play following the line movement — the team that becomes a bigger favorite or smaller underdog — has gone 56-40-1 (58%) ATS.
Is Ian Book the Answer for Notre Dame?
With all due respect to Brandon Wimbush, he just wasn’t getting it done for the Irish under center. Enter junior Ian Book, a former 3-star recruit who has developed into a prolific passer.
Book led the Irish offense to 56 points against Wake Forest last week. They averaged 7.45 yards per play. ND had nine drives inside Wake’s 40, and scored touchdowns on eight of them.
It’s Wake Forest, sure, but Notre Dame’s offense was awful against both Vanderbilt and Ball State. Credit to Brian Kelly for making a change before it was too late.
This Stanford defense has been much improved from last season — ranking 11th in defensive S&P+ (while facing three quality opponents) — but Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert had just two incompletions in regulation last week.
What Is This Stanford Offense?
Maybe it’s because I’ve bet against Stanford and been burned, including last week’s horror show against Oregon. But to me, this Cardinal offense doesn’t have a reliable identity.
Bryce Love has been hurt and the running game can’t get going. It’s neither explosive nor efficient, ranking 124th of 130 teams in opportunity rate (how often a rushing play goes for five yards). That’s usually a Stanford staple.
Instead, quarterback K.J. Costello has relied on his big receivers to catch jump balls down field. The Cardinal have 17 passing plays of 20 yards or more this season, tied for 23rd-most in FBS.
Credit to receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Co. — they can make plays and catch those jump balls. But I’d much rather bank on an efficient offense that moves the ball in chunks when it needs to.
Notre Dame’s Defense Can Match Those Jump Balls
This Notre Dame team will be the most equipped out of any Stanford opponent to hold its own on the outside in man coverage. Notre Dame’s defense is tied for 15th in the nation at 5.6 yards per pass attempt and has played three Power 5 teams (the Irish just held Wake’s Greg Dortch to 56 yards on six catches).
Just compare that to the pass yards per attempt of two of Stanford’s three FBS opponents this season:
- Oregon: tied for 101 (8.2)
- San Diego State: tied for 113 (8.8)
USC does rank in the top 35 and held Stanford to just 17 points. I expect a similar output from the Stanford offense on Saturday.
The difference is the Book offense at home will have much more success against than the USC offense did with a freshman at QB making his first road start.
Stanford has been banged up on the offensive line all season, which has led to inconsistency on the ground. It got tackle A.T. Hall back against Oregon, and might get tackle Devery Hamilton back this week.
Stanford also looks like it won’t have starting safety Ben Edwards again. His loss was apparent against Herbert and the Oregon offense. It’s also missing:
- WR Connor Wedington (OUT)
- LB Curtis Robinson, who had an interception against ND last season (OUT)
- LB Casey Toohill (OUT)
- LB Jordan Perez (QUESTIONABLE)
From an injury perspective, Notre Dame has a distinct advantage.
Bet to Watch: So Can You Trust Stanford?
If you took blind resumes based upon S&P+ advanced metrics, you would see plenty of similar stats. Notre Dame is 11th overall, with an offensive rating of 46th and defensive rating of sixth. Stanford is 23rd overall, with an offensive rating of 56th and a defense rating of 11th.
Both teams excel limiting explosiveness, with Notre Dame ranking 15th overall in the nation to Stanford’s 35th. That actually spells great news for the Irish, as the Cardinal offense has relied solely on explosive plays. By contrast, Stanford’s offensive success rate is 110th to its rank of 17th in explosiveness.
Stanford’s offense was on full display in Eugene, with plenty of 50/50 balls set for 6-foot-5 Kaden Smith, 6-foot-7 Colby Parkinson, and 6-foot-3 Arcega-Whiteside. Interestingly enough, Stanford ranks 130th in offensive third down distance, which shows just how much they have had to rely on this type of offense.
Notre Dame may have the remedy in the form of a secondary that ranks tied for eighth in the nation in passes defensed and tied for 15th in yards per pass attempt allowed.
The Irish present the best pass defense on Stanford’s schedule. I took Notre Dame early in the week, but would not hesitate to take it again up to -6.
ND has the ingredients to shut down Stanford’s one-dimensional offense, not to mention a fatigue factor could set in after a boatload of offensive plays in Week 4 for the Cardinal.
The pick: Notre Dame -5.5