Playstation Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma St vs Notre Dame
Two teams who barely missed the college football playoff will get a chance to make a statement this weekend in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl. The fifth ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish enter Saturday’s game with an 11-1 record, their only loss coming to the 4th ranked Cincinnati Bearcats. The Oklahoma St Cowboys, meanwhile, are coming off an 11-2 finish in the Big 12 with their only losses coming to 6th ranked Baylor Bears and the unranked Iowa State Cyclones. With Brian Kelly already gone for LSU, new Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman ushers in a new era for the Fighting Irish this Saturday. No players entered the transfer portal upon hearing the news about Kelly’s departure, which signals that this team may feel the need to prove something on new year’s day. Similarly, the Cowboys look to wrap up their best season in a decade with their first New Year’s Six Bowl win since 2012. Currently, Notre Dame is a 2.5 point favorite with a -139 moneyline. The over/under is set at 45.5.
Oklahoma St vs Notre Dame Betting Odds
Oklahoma St vs Notre Dame Betting Trends
Cowboys are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 bowl games
Cowboys are 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 games overall
Cowboys are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss
Fighting Irish are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games overall
Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games as a favorite
Fighting Irish are 18-7-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
Oklahoma St Cowboys Betting Odds
This Oklahoma St team is built around their defense. They rank first in the Pac 12 and third in the FBS in yards allowed per game, allowing just 273.6 yards an outing. They’ve been particularly strong against the run, giving up just 89 yards a game on the ground. They have the eighth best scoring defense in all of college football, holding teams to an average of 16.7 points a game. They have struggled at times in the red zone, however, giving up scores on 87 percent of opponent red zone drives.
Offensively, this Oklahoma St team ranks seventh in the Big 12 in total yards per game. They are led by RB Jaylen Warren who has rushed for over 1,100 yards this season on 4.8 yards a carry. QB Spencer Sanders has thrown for over 2,400 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season, though he has been reckless at times, throwing 12 interceptions on the season. The turnover battle is going to be a huge factor in this game, as Notre Dame has one of the most opportunistic defenses in the FBS.
The Cowboys have the second best fourth quarter defense, allowing just 3.1 points a fourth quarter. They also rank in the top 3 in opponent first downs per game and opponent yards per play in a conference that has historically been known for offense.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Odds
While Brian Kelly may have left South Bend, the momentum this team has built over the last 2 months remains. Notre Dame wasted no time in announcing a new Head Coach in Marcus Freeman, who is well respected by the locker room and looking to set the tone for the future of this team with a win on Saturday.
Notre Dame has won their last seven games with an average margin of victory of 24 points. Over the last four games, they’ve held opponents to 6, 3, 0, and 14 points, respectively. They rank 18th in the FBS in yards allowed per game, and eleventh in points allowed. Over the last three games, no team has allowed fewer points a game than the Fighting Irish.
The Fighting Irish average 151 yards a game on the ground, led by Sophomore RB Kyren Williams. QB Jack Coan leads them in the passing game, averaging 262 yards a game on 8.3 yards an attempt. Coan has thrown for 20 touchdowns and just 6 picks on the season. Notre Dame is tied with Ohio State for the seventh best turnover margin per game at +0.8.
Oklahoma St vs Notre Dame Picks & Prediction
Both Oklahoma State and Notre Dame are defensive-minded teams that are able to consistently hold average opponents below 20 points. In a game that’s going to be low scoring, expect turnovers and red zone efficiency to be the deciding factor late. With a veteran quarterback and stout defensive line, Notre Dame has an edge in both categories. While Oklahoma St has proven they’re great against the run, Notre Dame will be the best offensive line the Cowboys have faced all season, and I think Notre Dame’s ability to go play action with Coan and Kyren presents something Oklahoma St hasn’t seen all season. I also think this Notre Dame team is as hungry as they’ve been all season after their head coach left the team a month ago in shocking fashion.
My Pick: Notre Dame wins and covers 29-21, over hits (o45.5)