Notre Dame faces a really rough road test this Saturday against Virginia. For one of your college football picks I suggest backing the Virginia Cavaliers as a solid +12.5 home underdog.
College football oddsmakers have Notre Dame as the favorite in this spot at around -11. At some places you get college football odds of -10.5 all the way up to -11.5. For my pick I will back the Cavaliers at +11.5 with a little higher juice of -115 at Bookmaker.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Last week versus Texas, Notre Dame scored 38 points, produced 527 total yards, 6.9 yards per play, and a solid third-down conversion rate of 57.14%. They dominated this game on both sides of the ball but they looked great offensively. All signs are pointing to a resurgent Notre Dame team this year and they had a nice balanced attack rushing for 214 yards and passing for 313. Still, they were at home and Texas is a shell of the team they used to be so let's not get over excited yet.
Defensively they were solid allowing just three points, 163 total yards, 2.9 yards per play, and holding Texas to a third-down conversion rate of 15.38%. Like the offense the defense should be better this year with some good returners, but yet again I don't want to get overzealous for them beating up on one of the worst ranked offenses in Division I football last year in the Longhorns (105th ranked in 2014). This Saturday they face a much better offense in Virginia on the road with some decent returning skill players, a quarterback that fought for his starting spot, and several returners on the offensive line.
Last week on the road at UCLA, Virginia scored 16 points, gained 336 total yards, had 4.8 yards per play, along with a poor third-down conversion rate of 30.77%. I believe that was a pretty tough spot for them to come in and play well against a UCLA team that will most likely make some noise this year in the Pac-10. They came in with a balanced attack but could not get a lot going. My outlook is that they're going to let quarterback Matt Johns go ahead and throw the ball around against the Irish. Virginia has some solid receivers, and as mentioned their offensive line is well intact.
Defensively Virginia allowed UCLA 34 points, 503 total yards, 7.0 yards per play, and a third-down conversion rate of 53.85%. Those numbers are not pretty to look at but again I think they were in a tough position on the road against a very good UCLA offense. One of their strengths coming into the season would actually be their defense. They return some solid starters in the secondary which held opponents to an average 123.1 passer rating last season. They should be tough on the defensive line as well with several returners, but their linebackers will need some work. Expect them to want to avenge themselves from last week's poor performance.
Let's not jump ahead of ourselves and take one game and make it more than it really was. I am anticipating Virginia, who has talent, to be extremely focused and fired up against ninth-ranked visiting Notre Dame. Don't expect the Irish to produce the same kind of firepower they did against Texas, and look for Virginia to capitalize being at home. As far as your college football picks, again I suggest adding Virginia to one of your plays as a live home underdog getting double-digit points.
College Football Picks: Virginia +12.5 (-110) at 5Dimes