Notre Dame at Miami
Saturday, 5 pm PT - ABC
CRIS Opener: Notre Dame -2.5 O/U 56.5
CRIS Current: Notre Dame -3 O/U 57.5
High stakes contest at Miami this week which has been thoroughly dissected by national media but may boil down to the simplest of factors. Hurricane detractors continue to point toward the lack of scoreboard dominance exhibited by Miami but last week’s dominant 28-10 win over Virginia Tech has opened some eyes. For the ‘Canes, the formula has not quite been classic Mark Richt style and they may be a bit ahead of schedule but they do have a head of steam built up heading into this game. The team confidence and fan base enthusiasm which have not really been clearly seen since his arrival, are now in full force at precisely the right time. Those elements combined with steady week to week play have Miami priced at a very competitive +3 home underdog versus this Notre Dame team which has been dominant this season with all eight of their victories coming by 11 or more points.
Injuries to Notre Dame studs, QB Brandon Wimbush (hand) and RB Josh Adams (head) were a slight source of concern earlier this week but now it seems as if all systems are go for the Fighting Irish offense. Last week once again, they destroyed a solid defense when they lit Wake Forest up for 710 total yards. They led by 25 points with under 10 minutes to go in the contest and let off the accelerator which led to a back door cover by Wake. However, the Demon Deacons did put up a whopping 587 total yards in the contest which was a season high against Notre Dame and in the process may have opened the door to a potential weakness. In the only two games this season where ND was lit up defensively, proficient dual threat QB’s led the way. Brian Lewerke of Michigan State and John Woolford of Wake Forest both have the running capabilities and passing accuracy that each demanded Notre Dame’s attention. The results were seen mainly through the air as Lewerke passed for 340 yards and Woolford threw for 331. Question is, can Malik Rozier pick apart Notre Dame the same way? Statistically he’s not quite as accurate as Woolford and Lewerke but he’s in the neighborhood. Must also note that Rozier’s primary game-breaking WR threat Ahmmon Richards missed a significant chunk of time early this season due to injury but settled in during the month of October.
Have to believe Miami is ready for this moment. They are the prototypical college football example of progressing week by week and they are now hitting their stride at the perfect time. That being said, Notre Dame has been ultra-impressive this season and they show zero signs of slowing down. From a betting angle there seems to be some room to play the over. Notre Dame’s offensive line is leaps and bounds better than any the Hurricanes have faced this season and the diversity of their offense seems ticketed for 31+ points. On the other hand, Miami has the weaponry and balance to give the Notre Dame defense problems all night the same way Michigan State and Wake Forest did. With the key numbers of 58, 59 and 61 all working here, over figures to be a ticket casher.