Notre Dame Looks Legitimate to Go Over 9.0 Regular Season Wins in 2015

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, August 8, 2015 6:56 PM GMT

Our resident college football handicapperl, comes off an outstanding 2014 campaign. Join us in reading this his informative piece pertaining to Notre Dame’s 2015 regular season win total.

2015 Notre Dame Futures Betting Preview
It’s an exciting time of year with college football and the NFL seasons quickly approaching. I’ve always enjoyed, and for the most part been pretty successful, predicting my preseason college football futures pertaining to regular season win totals. In this particular article, I’m going to be focusing on college football betting odds regarding the Notre Dame “Fighting Irish”. Notre Dame opening game is less than a month away when they play host to the Texas Longhorns. Like many people across the country, football season can’t come soon enough for me.

 

The Odds
According to one of our more reliable sportsbook affiliates at Bovada, the current regular season win total posted for Notre Dame is 9.0. Making a wager on going over 9.0 comes at a money line price of -140, and under the number at +110.

 

Plethora of Experience Returning
Notre Dame returns 17 starters from a team that went 8-5 a season ago, and it concluded with a thrilling 31-28 Music City Bowl win over LSU. The defense will be the biggest beneficiary with ten returning first team players.

I look for a drastic improvement from the stop unit compared to the one we witnessed in 2014. That Irish defense wore down as the season progressed. The point is quite evident when you consider that Notre Dame allowed 17 points or less in each of their first five games. However, in their final eight contests, they allowed 31 points or more in each of those games. Their defensive line and secondary should collectively be among the top groups in the country. They will be led by first team preseason All-American choices in junior linebacker Jaylon Smith and junior safety Max Redfield. Smith led the Irish defense in 2014 with 112 tackles which included 3.5 sacks. Redfield was second with 68 tackles.

Notre Dame does return some key offensive skilled position players in 2015. The three leading receivers from 2014 both return. Will Fuller led Notre Dame with 76 receptions for 1094 yards and scored an impressive 15 touchdowns. Chris Brown (40 receptions/539 yards/1 TD) and Corey Robinson (39 receptions/539 yards/5 TDS) also return. That will be a huge asset for redshirt sophomore quarterback Mailik Zaire. The highly touted southpaw passer saw limited time a season ago with Everett Golson still on campus. Golson has since transferred to Florida State for his final season of eligibility, and it’s now Zaire’s show to run. The writing was on the wall for Golson when head coach Brian Kelly opted to start Zaire in last year’s bowl game against LSU. The youngster showed when given an opportunity why he was so highly sought after coming out of high school. He was 21-35 (60%) passing, and also ran for another 187 yards (5.7 YPR). Zaire also tossed 1 touchdown pass in addition to running for two scores. The offense line will be led by first team preseason All-American left tackle Ronnie Stanley (6’6/315).

 

Head Coach
Say what you will about Brian Kelly, but the guy can flat out coach, and his career record of 98-42 at the FBS level speaks for itself. In five seasons since Kelly arrived at South Bend, Notre Dame has been in a bowl game during each of those seasons, advanced to the 2012 BCS Championship Game where they fell to Alabama, and their cumulative record has been 45-20 (.692). They’ve displayed considerable improvement during the previous three years by going a combined 29-10 (.744). Kelly also had head coaching stops at Central Michigan and Cincinnati. Those teams were a cumulative 53-22 (.707) from 2004 to 2009.

 

The Schedule

09/05/15

vs. Texas

09/12/15

at Virginia

09/19/15

vs. Georgia Tech

09/26/15

vs. Massachusetts

10/03/15

at Clemson

10/10/15

vs. Navy

10/17/15

vs. USC

10/31/15

at Temple

11/07/15

at Pittsburgh

11/14/15

vs. Wake Forest

11/21/15

  at Boston College (Fenway Park)

11/28/15

at Stanford

 

The opponents on the schedule for Notre Dame this year had a combined winning percentage of .536 a season ago. In terms of strength of schedule, the 2015 slate ranks somewhere around 22nd to 28th nationally by my estimation. I have circled four games that are bound to be keys in determining how well or not Notre Dame does. They get two of those opponents at home. They’ll host ACC power Georgia Tech on 9/19. Considering the success that Navy had with their triple option rushing attack in recent years versus Notre Dame, Georgia Tech can provide a monumental headache in that regard. The Yellow Jackets run an eerily similar offensive scheme under former Navy head coach Paul Johnson, and led the nation in rushing last year. The Irish will also host USC on 10/17, and will look to avenge a humiliating 49-14 road blowout loss in Los Angeles a year ago. The Trojans are considered to be a legitimate national title contender heading into 2015. They’ll also have two very stern road tests at Clemson, and during their regular season finale at Palo Alto against Stanford.

 

Final Analysis
If Notre Dame can avoid being upset in their other eight games I failed to mention, versus opponents that they’re clearly better than on paper, then their chances look very good to top the regular season mark of 9.0 wins, and should do no worse than a push. At the time of this writing (8/8) I’ll have a lean on going over 9.0 (-140) for one of my college football picks.