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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 9:00 AM

After benching struggling quarterback Brandon Wimbush in favor of Ian Book, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have looked very much like a legitimate threat to reach the Final Four college football playoffs.

If they run the table, there’s no way the committee would keep them out! One of Alabama or Georgia has to lose because they’d play each other in the SEC Championship game if keep winning. And, there’s certainly a chance for either of those two, or Ohio State or Clemson to drop a game along the way.

Of course, there’s also a chance for Notre Dame to get upset too. The Irish will be favored in every game the rest of the way, but are far from a sure thing to go unscathed against this remaining schedule…

Saturday: vs. Pittsburgh

October 27: vs. Navy (in San Diego)

November 3: at Northwestern

November 10: vs. Florida State

November 17: vs. Syracuse (at Yankee Stadium)

November 24: at USC

Before the season began, the 2018 schedule looked BRUTAL! But, you can go down that list and recite many disappointments. Navy somehow fell off the map (looking awful at Air Force in a Commander-in-Chief game). Florida State is a shadow of its usual self. Syracuse has its moments, but really needs its injury-prone quarterback to be healthy. USC is suddenly rebuilding from a much lower level than expected.

Yet…that’s only two home games in a sport where anything can happen if the favorite comes in flat. Notre Dame’s biggest enemy vs. Pittsburgh will be complacency. Can you get up emotionally when you just passed two huge tests vs. Stanford and at Virginia Tech (two additional teams that turned out not to be as good as expected this season).

Here’s JIM HURLEY’s advice for betting Notre Dame the rest of the way…

*There’s nothing wrong with riding them as long as they keep covering. Oddsmakers clearly underestimated how good Book was going to be, and how the team as a whole would respond to his leadership. You just watched blowout covers vs. Wake Forest, Stanford, and Virginia Tech. When will the line catch up? If you’ve been riding the streak already, you end 3-1 if they don’t cover vs. Pitt. What if they keep covering? Simple strategies are often the best.

*Look for signs that the team is reading too many press clippings about how great they are. That could happen as early as this week, but will always be a lingering concern. Not great news that the team will be visiting media centers of southern California, Chicago, New York, and then southern California again the rest of the way. Big cities, bright lights. Not like visiting Wake Forest of Virginia Tech in terms of media interest. If anything is going to foreshadow a flat spot, it’s going to be arrogant comments that find their way into social media or a local newspaper.

*Don’t decide NOW that this team is as good as Georgia, or Clemson, or Ohio State. Won-lost records aren’t the same as team quality. Does what you see below rate as “Final Four material?”

Total Offense: #46 in the nation

Total Defense: #49 in the nation

Strength of Schedule: #18 in the nation (according to Sagarin of USA Today)

Okay…the offense is better than THAT after the quarterback change. Let’s call Notre Dame #20 or so on offense with Book pending more results. That’s still not a mix that’s going to scare Alabama. Not with a defense around #50. It’s still likely ND would be a neutral field underdog to the others currently in the championship chase.

What’s weird about 2018 is that there’s a virtual CHASM between the obvious national powers and the rest of the pack. It’s possible to be the #5 through #10 team in the country while still being way behind the elite in true talent. Notre Dame’s in the second tier. We need to see more games between that second tier and the elite to draw better conclusions.

For now, Notre Dame is very much on NETWORK’S radar because of the market edges it has been showing in recent action. Our SCOUTS AND SOURCES are following developments closely waiting to see if overconfidence sets in. Our STAT HANDICAPPERS and COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS are hard at work evaluating Book’s performances as compared to other QBs who faced those same defenses. And, our friends behind the line in Las Vegas and offshore are monitoring what the Wise Guys are doing in early betting.

The full TEAM HANDICAPPING approach created by JIM HURLEY decades ago will make sure you’re playing the right side in every big Notre Dame game, and any other marquee matchup on the schedule.

You can get our top college football plays (plus NFL, MLB, and soon NBA) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about long term or combination packages that include both baseball and football, please call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.

If you’re like many “do-it-yourself” bettors, you’re just now realizing that beating the market is harder than you expected! You dug yourself a hole in September. You need help digging out in October. The man with the plan is PROVEN WINNER JIM HURLEY. History has made it clear that you’re going to GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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