On Saturday, college football fans will be treated to an exciting Top 25 battle as the #6 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish head out on the road to take on the #24 ranked Virginia Tech Hokies. Notre Dame looks to remain undefeated and in striking distance of the CFP. Virginia Tech hopes to pull off a big upset and reestablish their team as an ACC threat. Kickoff inside Lane Stadium is at 8 PM ET.
|Current S/U record||5-0||3-1|
|2018 ATS Home||2-2||1-0|
|2018 ATS Away||1-0||2-1|
|2018 O/U Home||1-3||1-0|
|2018 O/U Away||1-0||1-2|
These two teams have only played against each other one time before and it was in 2016. The Hokies traveled to South Bend, Indiana, and defeated the Fighting Irish by a score of 34 to 31.
Notre Dame (5-0) showed that they’re a legitimate CFP contender as they demolished Stanford last weekend 38-17. This was the second win of the season against a ranked opponent as ND also defeated Michigan in Week 1. The Fighting Irish look like a new team with Ian Book as the QB. He took over the starting job and Notre Dame has become a powerhouse on offense.
Virginia Tech (3-1) wash the laughing stock of college football two weeks ago as they lost to Old Dominion 49-35. It was one of college football’s biggest upsets in recent years. Last weekend, the Hokies bounced back and pounded a ranked Duke team 31 to 14. Can the Hokies get the last laugh this weekend by upsetting Notre Dame?
Notre Dame opened as the favorite, but the spread has seen some movement from the opening line of 5.5 to a high of 6 points at several online sportsbooks, before settling at the current line of -5. The Over/Under hasn’t seen much movement at all. Depending on which betting site you use, the spread is anywhere from 53 to 54 points. According to BetOnline, the point total is currently 53 total points.
Since changing starting QB’s, the Fighting Irish have looked unbeatable during that 2-game span. Two weeks ago, in Book’s first career start, the Irish scored 56 points against Wake Forest and the QB combined for 5 touchdowns with three coming via rushing. Last weekend, Book had an even more impressive game against a top-tier team in Stanford as he went 24 of 33 for 278 yards and 4 TDs. Book appears to have the Fighting Irish trending upward.
VT’s defense has fallen short of their usual elite level. In fact, they’ve been downright disappointing as they allow 388 total ypg, 20.8 ppg, and 304 passing ypg. These numbers bode well for Book who is averaging 308 passing yards per game with 7 TD throws and 3 TD rushes.
ND’s rushing attack has put up 201.4 ypg, but doesn’t have a clear-cut dominant running back. Additionally, VT has shown a talent for stopping the run by only allowing 84 ypg. So, this game appears to rest on the throwing arm of Book. And, I like ND’s chances.
VT’s offense averages 38 ppg and 479.5 total ypg. QB Josh Jackson has put up 575 passing yards and 3 TDs to just 1 INT on the season. However, he’s now injured and VT is going with Ryan Willis who threw for over 300 yards against Duke last weekend.
The Fighting Irish give up 18.8 ppg. That would be lower if they didn’t allow Wake Forest to score 27 points in a blowout. Against top ranked teams Michigan and Stanford, ND held their offenses to 17 points each with 307 total yards to the Wolverines and 229 total yards to Stanford.
VT has played two ranked opponents Duke and Florida State, but neither team is remotely close to being as good and complete as ND. I like the change at QB and think it opens up the VT offense more, but they are going to be in for a dog fight against Notre Dame this weekend. We’ll see how VT’s Willis responds against a stellar opponent in ND. It’s one thing to play Duke, it’s another to play the Fighting Irish.
The Hokies have performed well ATS in recent years, and it prevents me from taking ND to cover the 5.5 points. VT is 11-4 ATS in their last 15 home games and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games. ND is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a SU win, 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games on grass, and 2-5 ATS versus teams with winning home records.
I believe ND will win and I believe the safe play in this game is the Fighting Irish moneyline at -220. ND is 7-2 SU during Weeks 5 through 9 over the last few years, 8-1 SU following 2 or more wins, 7-4 SU against the ACC, 17-9 SU as a favorite, and 5-0 SU in their last 5 games. VT is 3-5 SU as an underdog.
If you prefer, the Under also offers betting value. For VT, the Under has gone 8-1 in their last 9 games, 7-2 following a ATS win, and 10-4 in their last 14 overall games. For ND, the Under is 7-2 in their last 9 overall games and their last 9 non-conference games.
This will be a tough game for 3 quarters before Book and the ND offense pull away like last weekend against Stanford. I like the Fighting Irish to win 27 to 24.
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