Free NCAAF Pick: Louisville at Notre Dame

The Louisville Cardinals will try and notch their eighth straight up victory of the season with a trip to South Bend to square off against the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium this Saturday afternoon. The game is set to kickoff at 3:30 p.m. (ET), and it will be available nationally on NBC.

The Cardinals finished their inaugural run through the ACC with a SU 5-3 record in conference play after beating Boston College 38-19 on Nov. 8 as three-point road favorites. They come into this matchup with an overall record of 7-3 SU, and they have a 6-4 mark against the spread. The total went “over” the 45.5-point closing line against the Eagles after in stayed “under” in five of Louisville’s previous seven contests.

Notre Dame’s run to a spot in the four-team national playoffs most likely came to an end with a 55-31 loss to Arizona State as a three-point road underdog on Nov. 8, but it dropped deep in the national polls this past week after suffering a stunning 43-40 overtime loss to pesky Northwestern last Saturday as 17-point home favorites. The Irish are now 7-3 SU on the year, with an even 5-5 record ATS. The total has gone over in four of their last five outings.

Louisville at Notre Dame Betting Storylines

Louisville has to be somewhat content with its first season in the ACC. It gave both Clemson and Florida State all it could handle in tough losses, and its only bad loss this season was a two-point setback to Virginia as a four-point road favorite. The Cardinals did struggle to cover as heavy favorites this season, but they have performed well in the role of underdog, especially on the road. The offense may have taken a step backwards with Teddy Bridgewater moving onto the NFL, but a rock-solid defense has more than filled that void.

The Cardinals are still averaging a respectable 31.6 points a game with first Will Gardner and now Reggie Bonnafon running the show at quarterback. The passing game is averaging 239.3 yards per game while adding another 148.1 yards on the ground. Bonnafon will be making his first start of the season for the injured Gardner, which is always cause for concern. With the exception of the 42 points it gave up to Florida State, Louisville’s defense has not allowed more than 23 points in any of its other nine games. Overall, this unit is ranked 10th in the nation in points allowed (17.8).

Notre Dame’s season has taken a dramatic turn for the worse, and to add injury to insult, Fighting Irish quarterback Everett Golson injured his throwing shoulder in the loss to Northwestern. It doesn’t appear to be serious given a “probable” playing status for this game, but the situation bears watching as we get closer to game time. Golson has been this team’s offense this season; throwing for 3,044 yards and 27 touchdowns while also being the team’s second-leading rusher with 339 yards and eight touchdown runs.

The bigger concern in this matchup could be Notre Dame’s defense. This unit did not allow more than 17 points in any of the team’s first five games this season, but starting with a wild 50-43 victory over North Carolina in early October, it has now been torched for an average of 42.2 points a game in its last five outings. The Irish jumped out to a 20-9 lead against the Wildcats in the first quarter of last Saturday’s game before things started to go south.

Louisville at Notre Dame Betting Odds and Trends
Pointspread: Notre Dame -4.5
Total Line: OFF

The betting trends have listed the Cardinals as 23-8 ATS in their last 31 games on the road and 17-4 ATS in their last 21 road games against a team with a SU winning record at home. The total has stayed under in 10 of their last 14 nonconference games.

The Fighting Irish are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a SU winning record, but they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a SU loss. The total has gone over in four of their last five games.

This will be the first meeting between the two as part of Notre Dame’s newly-expanded schedule against the ACC.

College Football Picks: Louisville at Notre Dame Betting Predictions

As mentioned earlier, Louisville has been a tough out as an underdog this season, but it is walking into a hornet’s nest this week in South Bend. The Fighting Irish are a much better team than what they have shown on the field the past two weeks, and they will be looking to take out these frustrations on the Cardinals.

Take: # 178 Notre Dame (-4.5) over Louisville- 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22

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