‘Over’ the Right Play When Notre Dame Visits Miami

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Willie Bee

Thursday, November 9, 2017 1:40 PM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017 1:40 PM GMT

A playoff atmosphere will fill Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday when Notre Dame comes to Miami as a small favorite on the NCAA football odds.

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Free College Football Pick: Over 57½ (-105)Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Of the three matchups this weekend pitting top 10 teams in the latest College Football Playoffs poll, this one could provide the most intensity. Bad blood has existed between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Miami Hurricanes for four decades now, dating back to the Catholics vs. Convicts days of the 1980s, and ABC is giving this year’s critical clash prime-time treatment with an 8 PM (ET) boot.

It’s an elimination game for the Irish who, despite sitting No. 3 in the rankings, can’t absorb a second loss. Miami is No. 7 on the CFP list and could still find its way to the playoffs with a loss, though that would mean winning out and beating Clemson in the ACC Championship plus getting some help from above. 5Dimes has Notre Dame -3 with 57½ for the total.

 

’Canes Coming Off Impressive Defensive Performance
Following impressive wins over ranked USC and North Carolina State teams, the Irish used a big first half last week at home to take down Wake Forest, 48-37. The Demon Deacons scored two late touchdowns to slip inside the 14½ point spread and stop a string of 6-straight Notre Dame covers. Wake also rolled up a season-high 587 yards of offense against an Irish defense that entered the game allowing 349 per game, but ND ripped off more than 700 yards of offense as well. Quarterback Brandon Wimbush and leading rusher Josh Adams were injured in the win, but are listed as probable this week.

Miami, meanwhile, stopped a string of three consecutive spread defeats with a 28-10 victory over Virginia Tech. The Hurricanes were only favored by 2 on the NCAA football odds, and broke a scoreless tie with two second quarter touchdowns before icing the game with an early fourth quarter score. Miami’s defense held the Hokies to under 300 yards total offense for the first time this season, helping to overcome three Malik Rosier interceptions.

 

Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
This is just the third meeting since 1990, and the Fighting Irish have won the last four to build a 17-1-1 all-time advantage. Notre Dame also covered all four of those wins, the last two as the favorite. Last year’s 30-27 final in South Bend came with the Irish laying two at home, the final margin coming on a short field goal in the closing minutes. That one just stayed ‘under’ a 58½ point scoreboard mark.

Muggy temps in the upper-70s and cloudy skies is the current forecast, along with a 15-20 mph NE wind. Two defenses that force turnovers could set up some short-field scores, which is why my free college football pick is on the ‘over.’

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