College Football Picks Against The Spread - Stanford vs Notre Dame

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Matthew Jordan

Thursday, October 13, 2016 1:21 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016 1:21 PM UTC

Stanford and Notre Dame were Top-10 teams in the preseason Top 25, but both programs are unranked and struggling heading into Saturday's matchup in South Bend. Our capper checks the college football odds and provides his pick

 Cardinal In Shocking 2-Game Slide

Either Stanford or Oregon has won the Pac-12 North Division in its five years of existence but that's absolutely ending this year. The Cardinal (3-2) were the preseason favorites to repeat as Pac-12 champions but now they have to simply try and get bowl-eligible and avoid the program's worst season since going 5-7 in 2008, Jim Harbaugh's second year at the school. Stanford has played in a major bowl five of the past six years but that's out the window.

The Cardinal are never the most talented team as the academics at the school mean that many recruits can't get in. They have been winning this decade by playing smart and being more physical on both lines of scrimmage against opponents. But Stanford has been completely pushed around the past two weeks in losing 44-6 at Washington and then 42-16 at home to Washington State last Saturday.

Stanford always has one of the nation's best O-Lines, but in those losses the Cardinal totaled 90 yards rushing and their quarterbacks were sacked 11 times. Running back Christian McCaffrey set the NCAA record for all-purpose yards in 2015 and finished second in the Heisman voting. He was a preseason favorite this year but has totaled 84 yards rushing and 35 receiving in the back-to-back losses. McCaffrey also is banged up and questionable for this game. Shaw says he might not know until Friday. Safety Justin Reid will miss the first half against Notre Dame because of a targeting ejection vs. WSU.

The Cardinal are 3-2 ATS on college football odds and 2-3 O/U.


Irish Even Bigger Disappointments

Notre Dame (2-4) almost surely will not be eligible for a bowl game with a loss this week as the Irish still have to play ranked Miami, Navy and Virginia Tech as well as visiting improving Southern Cal.  Notre Dame hasn't finished with a losing record since a 3-9 mark in 2007 under Charlie Weis. The school last finished with a non-winning record in 2009 at 6-6, after which Weis was fired. Brian Kelly replaced him and probably won't lose his job this season but will be on the hot seat entering 2017.

I will admit I was dead wrong on the Irish at +2.5 last week at NC State. If those teams play in normal conditions, I believe Notre Dame easily covers. But they played in hurricane conditions in Raleigh and Notre Dame lost 10-3 and managed just 113 yards while going 1-for-15 on third down and  turning it over three times. The only TD in the game was off an Irish punt being blocked. Irish QB DeShone Kizer, who had been having a fine season, was sacked five times and was 9 of 26 for 54 yards. On the bright side, the struggling Notre Dame defense only allowed 198 yards, but I'm not ready to call that unit fixed yet. That defense has allowed 28 plays of 20 or more yards and six plays of 50-plus yards.

Notre Dame is 2-4 ATS on college football picks and 4-2 O/U.

The Irish lead the series with Stanford 19-11 and are 12-3 at home. But they lost in Palo Alto 38-36 last year when both teams were ranked in the Top 10. Conrad Ukropina hit the winning 45-yard field goal as time expired. Kizer had given the Irish a one-point lead on his 2-yard run with 30 seconds left. McCaffrey had 228 all-purpose yards.

Give the points -- shop around for 2.5 if possible -- and go 'over' the total. The 'over' is 9-1 in the Irish's past 10 after a loss. Remember to drop by SBR's list of the best-ranked bonuses, and find out which of the top sportsbooks is offering the top rated sportsbooks.


Free College Football Picks: Notre Dame -3Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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