College GameDay Odds: Ohio State At Notre Dame Preview, Picks, Predictions, Betting Tips
For the first time this season, we have a showdown between two top-10 teams. Both ESPN CollegeGameDay and Big Ten Saturday Night will be there. The No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes (3-0) travel to South Bend, Ind., to take on the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0). Ohio State is a road favorite while Notre Dame carries underdog odds on the moneyline. The best college football betting sites line this game with a -point over/under. Ohio State at Notre Dame kicks off Saturday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. on NBC and Peacock.
Ohio State at Notre Dame Odds
Compare odds for Ohio State at Notre Dame from the best sports betting sites below. Click on odds in the table or anywhere in this article to bet on college football.
Notre Dame Vs. Ohio State Quick Look
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview
It’s safe to say Notre Dame’s exceeded preseason expectations through four games. According to Kelley Ford’s KFord Ratings, the Irish have improved three points over their preseason projection. Sam Hartman expectedly elevated the offense, folding in a new, dynamic downfield pass threat not seen in South Bend since at least 2010. Audric Estime also continues to chew defenses up in between the tackles. The junior co-leads the nation with 27 forced missed tackles and averages 4.73 yards after contact.
The most pleasant surprise of the young season has to be the receiving corps. In the preseason, Phil Steele ranked the unit 57th nationally, behind teams like North Texas, Rice, and Boston College. However, Hartman’s made due and the Notre Dame pass game does threaten downfield. The Irish have 21 passes of 20+ yards thus far, most among teams with four games under their belt and third-most overall.
However, it’s the defense that’s turned Notre Dame from a good team into a legitimate threat. They stand 10th in success rate allowed (31.3%!) and the second-level defenders – led by APEX Jack Kiser and linebacker Marist Liufau – clean up rushes before they develop. Benjamin Morrison earned All-America honors this preseason, but the weakness of the Notre Dame defense thus far is allowing explosive plays in the passing game. Even in Week 3 against Central Michigan, the Irish allowed receivers in the backend to run open, though the Chips were unable to complete those passes (same story in Week 0 against Navy).
This weekend, those open receivers will have the ball completed to them.
Ohio State Buckeyes Preview
Two sluggish starts to the season had Ohio State faithful wondering if Kyle McCord was the guy. Despite working with the nation’s best-receiving corps, the Buckeyes’ offense appeared remedial against Indiana and inopportune against FCS Youngstown State. But in Week 3, Ohio State came alive. They dropped 35 points in a single quarter against hapless Western Kentucky, highlighted by a long Marvin Harrison Jr. score and two touchdowns from Emeka Egbuka. Explosive back TreyVeon Henderson and Arizona State transfer DeaMonte Trayanum make up a dynamic and effective backfield.
But it’s been the offense line that’s worrisome. San Diego State transfer Josh Simmons has performed at below-replacement level in the run game, although he’s secured the left tackle spot in the passing game. Simmons has three penalties and three pressures allowed already this year. This weekend, he’ll be faced with a real test in Notre Dame’s front.
In Year 2 under Jim Knowels, Ohio State’s taken a noticeable step forward. While not much was learned from their games against Indiana and Youngstown State, the Buckeyes showed up big against offensive juggernaut Western Kentucky, forcing four turnovers, two of which went for Ohio State touchdowns. Their havoc rating so far on the year is in step with Georgia’s defense and their linebacking corps led by All-American Tommy Eichenberg allows few breakaway runs.
The Buckeyes also roster one of the top pass-rushing duos in the country in JT Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer. As a unit, their defensive front has generated 22 pressures, although just two of those have resulted in sacks. Against a quick-trigger Hartman, Ohio State’s pass rush must close the gaps quicker.
Week 4: Notre Dame vs. Ohio State Preview
This matchup has everything a blockbuster game requires. Last year’s edition saw Ohio State snag a 21-10 win in Columbus thanks to a stingy defensive effort on both sides. However, Notre Dame comes into this season with a seriously improved offense, spearheaded by Hartman. Last year, it was Tyler Buchner (now buried on the Alabama depth chart) who turned in a hapless performance. The upgrade at QB cannot be understated.
It’s strength versus strength in the trenches as Notre Dame’s top-flight offensive line handles a disruptive and extremely talented Ohio State front seven. Hartman’s left side of the line, led by All-American Joe Alt and Pat Coogan, has yet to allow a pressure and, folding in center Zeke Correll, half the unit has yet to allow a sack. NC State is the closest Notre Dame’s come to an Ohio State pass rush – a far cry from what they’ll face Saturday.
Ohio State will look to capitalize between the tackles to generate explosive runs. Henderson is one of the most explosive backs nationally and Notre Dame’s been gashed at times inside. They currently stand 54th in EPA per pass and 39th in rushing success rate.
On the other side, Hartman should be able to find success through the air should he take what Ohio State gives him. The Buckeyes allow a 40.2% success rate through the air, but just five opposing passes have gone for 20+ yards. Hartman has just three turnover-worthy throws on the year and it’s likely he’ll take the chunk plays available.
Home Field Advantage?
Columbus, Ohio, sits just four and a half hours from South Bend. Regionally, the Buckeyes dominate fandom and, nationally, they’re the biggest fanbase. Historically, Ohio State fans travel well (just see any game in Ann Arbor) and they don’t have far to go for this road trip. Expect a strong showing of scarlet and gray on Saturday.
Both teams are well-rested and warmed up for this game. But losing the overwhelming crowd factor for Notre Dame could be a serious issue. Be sure to have the volume up on the TV for “O-H-I-O” chants reverberating across Notre Dame Stadium.
KFord Rating assessment
Find Kelley Ford’s work here at TheLines all college football season long!
Very little separates these teams based on in-season data, but the Buckeyes get the edge when we factor in preseason priors, even with this game being in South Bend. I have Ohio State -6.5, with a 33% chance Notre Dame pulls off the upset at home and registers one of the best wins of the season so far.Kelley Ford, TheLines College Football Podcast
Ohio State at Notre Dame: Best Bets
The best of the Notre Dame line is long gone. FanDuel Sportsbook posted odds for Ohio State at Notre Dame back in May and the spread has had many iterations since. The Irish were as high as +8.5 home dogs before the season began, and now sit at . Market resistance kicks in at -3 for Ohio State, though. Most books posted -3.5 by midweek and -3s are bought quickly.
Though both teams have looked stout coming into Week 4, they both have some defensive shortcomings that can be taken advantage by the other side. For Notre Dame, it’s the propensity to allow explosive runs between the tackles – a specialty for home run hitter Henderson. For Ohio State, it’s allowing too much through the air and not closing the deal on the pass rush. Notre Dame fields one of the nation’s best offensive lines and Hartman throws a terrific deep ball.
However, the number of athletes on Ohio State’s offense combined with their newfound confidence on defense makes me lean Ohio State -3. At the current offering, I cannot recommend a bet on Notre Dame. Bettors looking to back the Irish may want to lay their bet on the moneyline rather than the spread, even on this side of three points. Should the Irish control this game, they’ll likely win it outright in front of the home fans.
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