Free College Football Picks for Stanford vs. Notre Dame

Darin Zank

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 6:27 PM GMT

Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014 6:27 PM GMT

Notre Dame isn't a home dog too often, but that's what the college football betting market is saying as the Irish get ready to battle rival Stanford Saturday afternoon in South Bend.

 

The Betting Odds
As of Wednesday morning most college football odds were chalking Stanford at right around -1.5 points, with a total of 44.5. Those thinking about playing the Irish to win this game outright could find a price of +110 on the moneyline at 5Dimes.

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Cardinal-Irish: Playoff Bound?
The Stanford Cardinal began this season ranked No. 11, Notre Dame No. 17 in both major polls; heading into this game the undefeated Irish are No. 8 in both polls, the one-loss Cardinal No. 14 and No. 16. So as far as contending for a spot in this season's four-team national championship playoff is concerned, this game means more to Stanford than it does to Notre Dame.

The Irish opened this season with a 48-17 victory over Rice, covering as a 20-point favorite. They then concluded their rivalry with Michigan with a 31-0 victory, covering at -4. Notre Dame then defeated Purdue 30-14 but missed on the cover at -30, and last week the Irish beat Syracuse 31-15 at MetLife Stadium, committing five turnovers but still covering at -9.

Stanford, meanwhile, opened with a 45-0 victory over Cal-Davis, covering as 42-point favorites. But the Cardinal then lost at home to USC 13-10, even though they outgained the Trojans 413-291. But a game-winning Kevin Hogan TD pass in the fourth quarter was nullified by an iffy cross-block penalty, and Stanford lost on a late field goal.

The Cardinal then beat Army 35-0, covering at -28, and last week won at Washington 20-13, although they couldn't cover at -7.5 because they gave up a fumble return for a touchdown. Stanford outgained the Huskies 364-179.

On the season the Stanford defense has allowed two touchdowns; but the Cardinal offense has turned the ball over nine times.

 

Cardinal-Irish Recent History
These teams have met every season since 1997, and 25 times since 1988. Notre Dame had won seven meetings in a row, up through 2008, but Stanford has won four of the last five. Last year the Cardinal beat the Irish out on the Farm 27-20, but it was Notre Dame that came away with the cover as a 16-point dog.

Stanford led last year's game 21-6 early in the third quarter, but Notre Dame pulled to within 24-20 into the fourth quarter, although it could get no closer. The Cardinal outgained the Irish 419-263, outrushed 'em 261-64 and won time-of-possession by a 35-25 margin. In retrospect, that spread was probably about a touchdown too much.

The last time the Irish were lined as home dogs came one year ago, when while getting three points from the Oklahoma Sooners they got beat 35-21. Before that the last two times Notre Dame was a home dog was in  2010, when they lost at home to Stanford but beat Utah (the Utes were ranked No. 15 and favored by five points at that moment).

 

Cardinal-Irish Betting Trends
The Irish are 14-1 SU, 9-5-1 ATS in games Golson has started.

The Cardinal are 19-4 SU, 11-10-1 ATS in games Hogan has started.

These two teams are a combined 1-6 on the totals this season.

 

Cardinal-Irish Free College Football Picks
This should be a dandy, a throwback game perhaps, where 17-20 points might be enough to win it. We give the edge on defense to Stanford, but the Cardinal have struggled on offense, especially in the red zone. The difference for us in this pick is Golson, who's been wonderful in his return. So in a close call we'll go with the Irish at home, to win straight up, for our free college football pick in this spot

 

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