College GameDay Odds: Notre Dame At Duke Preview, Picks, Predictions, Betting Tips
ESPN’s College GameDay crew heads to Durham, N.C., for the first time. The #11 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-1) visit the #17 Duke Blue Devils (4-0) on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Duke is a home underdog, while Notre Dame is listed at on moneyline odds. This is just the eighth meeting between the schools on the gridiron, with the Irish winning each of the last two matchups (2019-20). Catch the game on ABC or ESPN3.
Find the full slate of Week 5 college football odds here.
Duke Vs. Notre Dame Odds: College Football Week 5
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Duke Vs. Notre Dame Quick Look
|3.07 (29th)||PPD||3.36 (16th)|
|0.48 (2nd)||PPD/A||1.38 (25th)|
|6.3 (26th)||YPP||7.3 (6th)|
|4.0 (4th)||YPP/A||4.4 (21st)|
Table key: Power (TheLines aggregate power rating), KFord (KFord Rating), PPD (points per drive scored), PPD/A (points per drive allowed), YPP (yards per play), YPP/A (yards per play allowed)
Duke Blue Devils Preview
The 2023 Blue Devils arrived on the scene with a bang. Although Duke upended Clemson 28-7, the Tigers couldn’t get out of their own way, coming up empty in four red zone trips and giving the ball away four times. Duke then took care of business against three out-matched opponents in Lafayette (FCS), Northwestern, and UConn. Its +26.3 average scoring margin is the seventh-highest nationally.
Defense is what Mike Elko’s crew hangs its hat on. The surface-level numbers are terrific – Duke stands in the top five in yards per play and points per drive allowed, but also the underlying metrics like EPA per play and passing efficiency. The stop unit forced six turnovers beyond the Clemson game, bringing their season total to 10. DeWayne Carter leads one of the better defensive fronts in the ACC and the secondary grades out as the best coverage unit, per PFF. As a result, Duke has forced the fourth-fewest EPA per pass and the 11th-lowest passing success rate.
Offensively, Duke continues to lean on star Riley Leonard. He’s the most dangerous when scrambling, forcing 19 missed tackles on the season and averaging 5.7 yards after contact (fourth-most among QBs, min. 10 rushes). Leonard has four scores on the ground, but just two through the air. Running back Jordan Waters co-leads the ACC with seven rushing touchdowns and he averages 6.6 yards per carry.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview
Sam Hartman undoubtedly changed the identity of Notre Dame football. Through five games, it’s clear he’s the best quarterback the Irish have seen in at least a decade. Only three quarterbacks nationally have a better QBR than Hartman (143.4), and only Caleb Williams has a better touchdown-to-interception ratio (14:0). Against Ohio State was the first time Hartman appeared human, missing on a couple of long throws.
The Wake Forest transfer maintains ultra-efficient numbers despite Notre Dame rostering a very average receiving corps. Tight end Mitchell Evans emerged as a difference-maker against the Buckeyes, and running back-turned-slot receiver Chris Tyree provides a downfield threat against softer competition. But a true No. 1 receiver has yet to present himself in the offense.
Instead, Notre Dame runs through Audric Estime. The junior has 29 missed tackles forced in the early season and leads the country with nearly 600 rushing yards at 7.8 yards per attempt. For being nearly 230 pounds, Estime has true breakaway speed, with 50% of his yards coming on breakaway runs (15+ yards). Running behind an elite offensive line with All-American tackle Joe Alt certainly helps his cause, but Estime creates plenty of his own production.
Week 5: Duke Vs. Notre Dame Preview
Notre Dame not rostering an elite group of receivers may be an issue in this game. Per Elko, top corner Myles Jones is expected to return this week after being held out of the UConn game as a precaution. Jones allows under a 50% catch rate and notched two interceptions on the year. Slot corner Brandon Johnson will be tasked with guarding the speedy Tyree, but Johnson’s allowed a paltry 1.8 yards per reception and a 57% catch rate when targeted.
On the ground, Duke allows efficiency but not explosiveness. They rank 28th in EPA per rush, but their 45% allowed success rate is a bottom-20 number nationally. The Irish will absolutely take what opposing defenses give them, even if Estime’s explosiveness is limited. However, when lines in between the tackles are removed, and Estime is forced to spill outside, he loses a lot of his effectiveness, as seen in the Ohio State game.
On the other end, Notre Dame is faced with a difficult decision – stack the box to force Leonard into more passing situations or field lighter personnel like dime packages to remove Leonard’s rushing from the equation. No team yet has successfully kept Leonard in check this season. Lighter defensive packages likely leads to more work and production for Waters, while heavier boxes likely lead to a ton of rushing production for Leonard himself.
Jekyll or Hyde?
Coming off such an emotional loss to Ohio State last week certainly has an impact on Notre Dame’s roster. Which way to they respond?
One school of thought would lead one to believe the Irish will rebound with motivation and take their frustrations out on their next opponent. Another would be that the loss was so emotionally and physically draining that they lay an egg on the road against a very juiced-up Duke team. After all, this will be a sellout crowd with never-before-seen energy at Wallace Wade Stadium for hosting GameDay for the first time.
Ultimately, there’s no way to project this before the game. But keen bettors can tune into a drive or two and make a live play based on Notre Dame’s momentum.
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KFord Rating assessment
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Despite the loss to Ohio State, Notre Dame’s power rating improved compared to last week. The Irish improved nearly four points since the preseason as and their regular season win total projection improved from 8.7 to 9.3. The defense is No. 12, but it’s the Sam Hartman-led offense that’s been better than expected, rising from No. 27 in the preseason to No. 10 currently.
For Duke, the offense and defense are both top 25 now, and the Blue Devils’ overall power rating is up from No. 50 in the preseason to No. 24 currently.
Bottom line, I have Notre Dame -5.5, with a 35% chance Duke wins at home and moves to 5-0 on the year.Kelley Ford, TheLines College Football Podcast
Notre Dame at Duke Odds: Best Bets
The spread sits in a square dead zone of numbers, far enough away from 3.5 or 6.5 to make a move. As a result, the spread remained unchanged as bettors largely appeared disinterested in taking a 5.5 either way. Likely, patient bettors will wait until the weekend to make plays. This could be a number on the move at the last minute.
I fall into the same school of thought—no reason to play a side earlier in the week.
But the total is one I’m interested in betting. The initial feeding frenzy ate up a very brief 55.5 total posted, and that number now sits at . I’m still interested in betting under this number, so long as it stays above 51 points. Duke matches up well defensively and may not have the overwhelming offensive firepower to crash this total with a flurry of points. I anticipate two run-heavy approaches, further milking the clock and shortening the game.
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