In one of the first major games of the college football season, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will head to Columbus to face off against the Ohio State Buckeyes in week one. Both of these teams have been preseason ranked in the top-5 in the AP poll, with Notre Dame coming in as No. 5 and the Buckeyes at No. 2. Both teams foresee College Football Playoff aspirations so making a statement early in the season is crucial for both squads. Let’s take a look into this matchup’s betting odds, picks, and predictions.
Notre Dame vs. Ohio State Betting Odds
Despite this game being a top-5 matchup, Ohio State enters this game as heavy favorites. Playing at home in The Horseshoe with one of the strongest on-paper offenses is a big reason why. Ohio State is currently -788 moneyline favorites and the spread line is currently -16 in their favor. The Buckeyes have Heisman favorite C.J. Stroud and Biletnikoff Award favorite Jaxon Smith-Njigba that will be leading their high-powered offense.
Notre Dame is coming into this game with new Head Coach Marcus Freeman who is an Ohio State alum himself. He will have a lot to prove not only to the Irish faithful, but also to come out strong against his alma mater. Notre Dame will have a new look at QB too with Tyler Buchner, which leads to a lot of unanswered questions. Notre Dame is not just going to roll over as they have high hopes for this year and this game against another midwestern football juggernaut will be a great test for this new look Irish team. These teams don’t match up often but I think this will be a much better game than the odds have it looking like.
Notre Dame vs. Ohio State Picks & Predictions
My pick: Notre Dame +16 (-109)
Ohio State is going to win this game in my opinion. There is a major talent gap between these two teams on the offensive side. I do think the -16 line for Ohio State is a little bit unfair to a very good Notre Dame team. They may have a new head coach but they have a returning offensive coordinator in Tommy Rees. I think Notre Dame is able to cover in this game if you get the line at +16. This will be a 10 point or two touchdown game but nothing more.
New QB Tyler Buchner is a very good running QB as he was second in rushing for the Irish last year. Ohio State’s defense wasn’t bad last season but they did struggle against the run in early games, specifically against Minnesota and Mohamed Ibrahim. If Buchner is able to evade the pass rush and if new starting RB Chris Tyree is able to get a strong footing in this matchup, I think this offense can keep up with the offensive talent of Ohio State and put points on the board. The over/under line is currently at 58.5 and another thing I would like in this game would be the over. I think this will be a very offensive game to start the season off in week one.
Notre Dame vs Ohio State Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Notre Dame vs Ohio State below.
C.J. Stroud/Jaxon Smith-Njigba vs. Notre Dame Defense
If the Irish want to stay in this game, a major contributor will be how they are able to answer to the combo of Stroud and Smith-Njigba. Last year, the duo went for 1,606 yards and nine TDs and with Smith-Njigba moving to the WR1 spot expect those numbers to go up. Stroud ultimately threw for 4,435 yards and 45 TDs and with other receivers like Marvin Harrison Jr. coming to take a big step up, the Ohio State offense through the air will be a very tough team to stop. Notre Dame’s passing defense was some of the top in the country last season as well, letting up less than 20 points per game.
Notre Dame had a very competitive secondary last season and brought in transfers that will be great at being ballhawks and tackling down the field against the Buckeyes talented receiver core. Cam Hart and Clarence Lewis are both very talented corners and the addition of Northwestern Safety Brandon Joseph will raise the defensive talent. Joseph was one of the best safeties in the country at Northwestern and was responsible for six interceptions. Last season, Stroud struggled a bit early and a vet like Joseph could make that become a pattern in this early game.
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