Cincinnati Bearcats at Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Preview

This game may not have the high-profile flash that many College Football games have this season, but it could turn out to be one of the most meaningful.

Notre Dame has found a way to make the College Football Playoff twice as an independent team without conference affiliation (technically, they played 2020 as an ACC member), but Cincinnati is looking to become the first team from a Group of Five conference to reach the end of year party.

If Luke Fickell’s team wants a shot at being selected, a win in South Bend would go a long way. 

According to BetUs, Cincinnati Bearcats are coming into the match favorites, priced -130 to win the match, while Notre Dame Fighting Irish are +110 to produce an upset. If we take a look at the moneyline betting odds at Bovada, we can see that they have pretty much identical odds to BetUS.

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Cincinnati Bearcats Team Preview

The Bearcats are currently sitting at 7th in the AP Poll, meaning they’re within striking distance of being in the College Football Playoff by year’s end. The run started in 2020 when the Bearcats finished 9-0 in the regular season and lost to Georgia on a late field goal in the Peach Bowl.

Fickell turned down some Power Five Conference jobs in order to keep building on the success he’s found with the Bearcats. 

A big reason for Fickell’s return was the stability at the quarterback position, with senior Desmond Ridder returning. Ridder has thrown for 250 yards per game to start the year and has combined for nine touchdowns through the air and on the ground.

Junior running back Jerome Ford has added 100 yards per game on the ground with six scores of his own to give Cincinnati a balanced attack on that side of the ball. 

The defense has been great through the first three games, only giving up an average of 15 points per game while intercepting six passes.

Senior linebacker Darrian Beavers has been a force in creating havoc for opposing offenses, especially in the Bearcats’ most recent game against Indiana, where he had a sack and a fumble recovery. 

On the year, Cincinnati is 3-0 outright but only 2-1 against the spread. The Bearcats came two points short of covering the large spread against FCS Murray State and also failed to reach the over total points betting total for the only time this year. 

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Team Preview

The Irish have been nothing short of exciting this year. A 4-0 record on the year has been earned in a big way while causing fans heart palpitations on a weekly basis.

Notre Dame opened the season at Florida State and walked out with an overtime win after surrendering a lead late. They followed that up with a come-from-behind victory in South Bend over Toledo, thanks to some Jack Coan heroics. 

Coan has had a solid start to the year but was injured last week in the team’s game against his old school Wisconsin. Fortunately, the injury isn’t expected to be serious, and Brian Kelly expects his starting quarterback to return for the game against Cincinnati. 

The cardiac Irish are 2-2 against the spread to start the year, having covered the spread in two straight games after their close opening weeks. All but one of the Irish wins have hit the teams over total set by the oddsmakers.

Betting Preview

BetUS and Bovada have the road Bearcats as 2-point favorites over the Irish in South Bend, with a total betting points spread set at 50.5 total points. 

Whichever team can force the other’s veteran quarterback into forcing a mistake should have the upper hand. Both Coan and Ridder have experience in big games and have the ability to make a big play at any given time.

Both have also shown they can be susceptible to forcing throws and making a mistake. 

Darrian Beavers and Kyle Hamilton will be the defensive forces coming for the ball, and the edge goes to the future top 15 draft pick in Hamilton. The home underdogs are the play here, and the over feels like the more likely scenario. 

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