Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, September 27, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Because #8 Notre Dame has started the season undefeated, with all three victories being carried prominently on television, the Irish are naturally involved in many media discussions about the national championship race. Most HANDICAPPERS and SPORTS BETTORS know that Notre Dame is not currently Power Rated anywhere near the top four…and that a brutal schedule awaits them in coming weeks. But, at the moment, they’re on the media radar.
Syracuse would like to knock them right off the radar with a high profile statement upset Saturday Night in East Rutherford, New Jersey (where the Jets and Giants play in the NFL) in a game that will be televised nationally by ABC. Could a distant also-ran in the ACC actually knock off the #8 team in the country? Let’s see how the teams match up…
NOTRE DAME (3-0)
Head Coach: Brian Kelly
Quarterback: Everett Golson (Senior, 7 TD’s, 0 INT’s)
Notre Dame (-20) beat Rice 48-17
Notre Dame (-4) beat Michigan 31-0
Notre Dame (-30) beat Purdue 30-14 (in Indianapolis)
The first two results seemed impressive at the time (both were double digit covers), but more sampling has shown that both Rice and Michigan were much worse than realized this season. Michigan had a similar boxscore in a home loss to Utah. And, if Notre Dame is basically even with Utah, then they don’t deserve to be in any national title discussions! Beating Purdue by only 16 points on a neutral field sure doesn’t suggest greatness either. What would Oklahoma or Baylor do to Purdue in good scoring conditions?
Golson has done a good job so far, granting that it may have come against too easy a schedule. It’s a great sign that he’s avoided interceptions…because tougher tests are still ahead and he’s going to have to make smart choices to keep the Irish in the Top Ten. We’d like to emphasize again that most sports betting Power Rating approaches don’t consider Notre Dame to be as good as their current AP poll ranking.
Head Coach: Scott Shafer
Quarterback: Terrel Hunt (Senior, more dynamic as rusher than passer)
Syracuse (-14) beat Villanova 27-26
Syracuse (-4.5) won at Central Michigan 40-3
Syracuse (-2) lost to Maryland 34-20
If you were only scoreboard watching the Syracuse/Maryland game last week, you may be thinking that the Orange are horrible. They fell behind in that game and couldn’t rally back. You need to read boxscores! Syracuse actually outgained Maryland 589-369, with a stunning rushing advantage of 370-89. Quarterback Hunt rushed for 156 yards on 23 carries all by himself. Note, also, that Hunt only played half of the Villanova game. You can see how important he is to this team!
Obviously the key for handicappers will involve evaluating how Notre Dame can defend against the Syracuse rushing attack. This won’t be a game if the Irish own the point of attack. But, it could very much be a thriller if Notre Dame comes in overconfident because they were scoreboard watching last week instead of reading boxscores!
Check this out:
Syracuse beat Central Michigan 40-3
Central Michigan beat Purdue 38-17
Notre Dame beat Purdue 30-16
That pathway certainly gives Syracuse a chance to compete with the Irish. The raw math suggesting a Syracuse slaughter is way off base because scores don’t always reflect what really happened on the field. But, the market is close to having Notre Dame as a double digit favorite on a neutral field. Is that right? Or is Scott Shafer about to make a name for himself with a high profile upset?
Las Vegas Line: Notre Dame by 9.5, total of 51
JIM HURLEY has been working with his New York area sources to pin down the right way to play this one. It may not end up qualifying with so many great options on the Saturday board. You can purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about seasonal packages, or combination packages for football and baseball, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Don’t forget that the baseball playoffs start in just a few days!
It’s back to the NFL Sunday and Monday in the NOTEBOOK when we look at the prime time games featuring New Orleans at Dallas and New England at Kansas City. Then we’ll have some baseball previews for the postseason Tuesday and Wednesday before returning to big game football previews on Thursday.
Maybe Notre Dame is in the early stages of another SHOCK THE NATION tour. Nobody gave them a shot to reach the national championship game a couple of years ago when Man’ti Teo was making headlines on and off the field. You can bet JIM HURLEY will be making headlines this weekend…cashing BIG, JUICY WINNERS for his clients!