The No. 3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish lay their undefeated record on the line as they take on the No. 13 Syracuse Orange at the neutral site Yankee Stadium. Notre Dame kept its perfect season intact without starting QB Ian Book in Week 11, while Syracuse won its fourth in a row, setting the table for an epic game in the Bronx. The Irish are a 9.5-point favorite in this week’s match with the total opening at 64 points.
Notre Dame continues to roll through the season
The Fighting Irish were dealt a blow in Week 10 when starting quarterback Ian Book suffered an injury to his ribs and was forced out of their Week 11 game against the vulnerable Florida State Seminoles. Season-opening starter Brandon Wimbush stepped up to keep the team undefeated, leading the team to a 42-13 triumph while throwing for 130 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. The game ball had to be given to senior running back Dexter Williams, though, as he rushed for 202 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts.
Head coach Brian Kelly has said that Book has made strides in his recovery and is in line to be under center this week. The offense is a totally different look when the junior QB is at the helm as he has thrown for 1,824 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions, opening up the run game for Williams. The Irish are averaging 34.5 points per game this season, which is the 31st-most in the nation, while surrendering just 18.7 points per game, the 15th-fewest in college football.
Syracuse has a dangerous offense
The Orange are on their second four-game winning streak of the season and are seeking their first five-game streak since 2001. Syracuse had its first four-game streak snapped when it visited then-No. 3 Clemson in Week 5, falling 27-23 as the Tigers’ Travis Etienne scored a touchdown with 41 seconds remaining to earn the win. The Orange followed that up with a narrow 44-37 defeat at Pittsburgh the week after, but haven’t faltered since.
Syracuse is led by senior dual-threat quarterback Eric Dungey, who has thrown for 2,193 yards with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions while rushing for 690 yards and 12 more touchdowns. Joining Dungey in the backfield is junior running back Moe Neal, who has rushed for 716 yards and five touchdowns. Overall the Orange average 44.4 points per game, the seventh-most in the NCAA, but are surrendering 27.6 ppg, which is the 70th-most in the league. Their defense is aggressive, though, racking up the ninth-most sacks in the nation (33) and the sixth-most interceptions (14).
OVER Trending in this week’s match
There are signs pointing toward the OVER and Bovada has this week's total has opened at 64 points. Syracuse has gone OVER in six of its 10 games this season with an average combined score of 72, while Notre Dame has gone OVER in six of its last seven games since the reins were turned over to Book. Wimbush stepped up and carried the team to another OVER last week vs Florida State. It’ll be interesting to see where the total comes in for this game. I’m anticipating somewhere in the mid-60s and I would be on the OVER.
My take on Syracuse vs Notre Dame
The OVER could be an enticing bet to make but there hasn’t been a total released yet for the game. Without a total, I’m leaning toward the Irish to cover the 9.5-point spread. Since Book was named the starter in Week 4, Notre Dame has had an average winning margin of 19.71, including last week’s game with Wimbush under center, and its only close game was a 19-14 triumph over Pitt. Meanwhile, the Orange have earned victories over some weaker ACC opponents and although they took Clemson to the edge, the Tigers had lost starting QB Trevor Lawrence in the first quarter of that game, which changed the whole feel of the contest.