Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting: 2021 Win Totals
In the College Football Playoff era, Notre Dame has consistently found itself as a topic of conversation amongst fans and media. The Irish and their lack of conference affiliation has always stirred the pot as it pertains to playoff seeding and deservedness.
What can’t be argued is that during this era, Brian Kelly’s teams have eclipsed this win total all but twice in seven years. From a sports betting standpoint, the lack of conference plays no part in whether or not the Irish will hit that win total.
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At Florida State (9/5)
The Seminoles have certainly fallen from grace following a span of years under former head coach Jimbo Fisher, that featured a national championship and a CFP berth. Fisher has since left for Texas A&M, and Florida State has struggled to bounce back to college football relevance since.
Current coach, Mike Norvell, tries to right the ship in a big opener, and the turnover on the Irish roster may give the Noles a chance to pull an upset in week one. The Irish are currently the favorite (-9.5 per Bovada) on the road.
At Wisconsin (9/25), Vs Cincinnati (10/2), At Virginia Tech (10/9)
This group of games isn’t being listed as an option to parlay bets but is grouped together because this streak of matchups will most likely determine how to view the totals betting for Notre Dame. Wisconsin has experienced success during coach Paul Chryst’s tenure, and rising sophomore quarterback Graham Mertz flashed in a limited 2020 campaign.
Former Wisconsin quarterback, Jack Coan, is expected to be the starter for the Irish this season which could provide additional fuel in a rocking Camp Randall Stadium.
The middle matchup of this stretch comes from the Cincinnati Bearcats, who are coming off a Peach Bowl appearance and a narrow loss to highly ranked Georgia at the end of last year.
Desmond Ridder and company will be circling the game in South Bend as a chance to prove to the nation that they belong in the national conversation.
The Irish will get the Bearcats’ A-game and will need to be ready to go to avoid a home loss. Finally, the brutal three-week stretch ends with a road trip to Blacksburg to take on Justin Fuente’s Hokies.
The Virginia Tech faithful will have Enter Sandman rocking on the PA system and will be more than ready for the Irish. Can Notre Dame get up for a big game for a third straight week, or will there be a sense of fatigue looking forward to the following week’s bye? A 2-1 record through this stretch would likely mean the Irish hit the over in their win total, but a possible 0-3 slide would put eight wins in serious jeopardy.
Vs USC (10/23, Vs North Carolina (10/30)
The Irish come back from a bye week to back-to-back home games against two teams that should be playing for contention in their respective conferences. USC comes to town with quarterback Kedon Slovis who many are expecting to have a breakout season following a freshman season shortened due to injury and a limited schedule during his sophomore campaign.
The Trojans were runners up in the Pac 12’s diminished COVID season and are beginning to stack talent and return to the national conversation. North Carolina shows up on Halloween weekend, led by the third-year starter at quarterback Sam Howell. Howell is the ACC preseason player of the year, and Mack Brown’s team has been on the cusp of breaking through on the national stage.
The Irish bested the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill last season by two touchdowns on the way to the playoffs, so Carolina will be seeking revenge. Another set of back-to-back tough games on the schedule will really test the fortitude of an Irish team, replacing a number of starters on both sides of the ball.
Last season’s fifth-year senior quarterback, Ian Book, showed up in a big way and led the Irish to an ACC Championship game (COVID exception in 2020) and their second College Football Playoff appearance. Book is replaced by the aforementioned Wisconsin transfer, Jack Coan, a once highly rated recruit that looks to capitalize on the opportunity presented to him in South Bend.
The Irish have been known as an offensive line factory under Brian Kelly, including three starters from the 2020 squad that were drafted in this past year’s NFL Draft. Two starters return, but can the Irish replace the production of the three seniors that have moved on?
Tight end Tommy Tremble has also moved on to the NFL, but Michael Mayer showed he could be a problem for opposing defense.
The offense should flow through running back Kyren Williams, who had a phenomenal sophomore outing and should continue to build on that with a solid 2021 season.
Defensively the Irish will be led by do-it-all safety Kyle Hamilton, who projects as a possible first-round pick in next year’s NFL Draft. The defensive line will feature some turnover, but the linebacking core remains intact from a season ago, with the exception of athletic marvel and playmaker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, who will be suiting up for the Cleveland Browns this season.
Under 8.5 wins. The middle of the Irish’s schedule sets up as a true murderer’s row. Replacing Ian Book will likely prove to be a challenge, especially while replacing three starting offensive linemen. The team from a season ago started 17 total players that were either seniors, fifth-year seniors, or graduate transfers.
That loss of experience, coupled with the tough schedule, is what will ultimately lead to the Irish falling short of this win total.
Kyren Williams Heisman Trophy (+8000 BetUS, +7000 Bovada, +3300 MyBookie): This is quite the longshot, but if the Irish are going to repeat the success, they had last year, Kyren Williams will likely be the driver behind that. In 2020 Williams had 1,400+ total yards and 14 touchdowns. Those numbers would likely need to increase by about 50%, but a more focused running game could yield those numbers.