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Louisville Cardinals vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Picks and Prediction

14 October 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, October 17th
Time:2:30 PM ET
Venue:Notre Dame Stadium
Network:NBC
Spread:ND -17
O/U:64

The 1-3 Louisville Cardinals will go on the road Saturday afternoon to face off with the 3-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 2:30 PM ET in Notre Dame Stadium. You can watch the showdown on NBC. The Irish come in as 17.5-point favorites and we’re looking at 63.5 over/under. The season hasn’t gone to plan for either of these teams, but for very different reasons. Let’s dive into how each team will approach the ballgame and who will end up covering the spread.

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When the Louisville Cardinals Have The Ball

After opening the season with a victory over the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, the Cardinals have fallen in three straight contests. They’re coming off their least impressive showing yet (46-27) in a crucial game against Georgia Tech. Frankly, it looked like a lot of the team gave up. The defense didn’t force a single turnover and there were countless broken tackles in the open field. 

If you’re looking for a silver lining, elite halfback Javian Hawkins continued to roll with 155 yards on 26 carries. They also got Tutu Atwell involved with six catches for 52 yards and a score. Marathon Ford also looked tremendous in a utility role and he hauled in five balls for 89 yards and a TD. Ultimately, this defense is going to have to step up if they want to cover against ND. 

Louisville QB Malik Cunningham has been inconsistent to start the season and they’ll need a strong version of him to come play here. The Notre Dame defense puts pressure on the QB and he won’t have long to make decisions here. The weapons are there, though, and Louisville has all the talent in the world to keep this game competitive. Their season might be over contention-wise, but they can still play spoiler to Notre Dame and that has to mean something. 

When The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Have The Ball

On the Notre Dame side of the ball, they’ve been great in the limited capital we’ve seen them. With two games being cancelled due to COVID, Notre Dame has played just three games to this point. It’s a far cry from the five they were expected to play by now, but they can only take care of the business at hand and they certainly have. 

They’re coming off a 42-26 victory against a Florida State team that looked rejuvenated. It was the running game for the Irish that took over, rushing for 353 yards and four touchdowns as a team. Ian Book wasn’t explosive, but he took good care of the ball and threw two touchdowns on top of 201 yards. The defense locked in after a tough first half and allowed just seven points. 

Running back Kyren Williams has been one of the best backs in the country and he’s put up 359 yards and four touchdowns through three games. He’s complimented in the backfield by Chris Tyree, who’s added another 188 yards and two scores. You then have Book, who uses his body around the goal line and has already racked up four touchdowns runs. 

Book has thrown just three touchdowns through three weeks, which is extremely strange after he threw 34 a season ago. It speaks more to the offense’s ability to run the ball, though, and the passing scores will come with time. He lost his two main targets from a season ago and is slowly picking up chemistry with the new guys. 

Kyren Williams has also led the team in receiving with six catches for 114 yards. Javon McKinley and Tommy Tremble are the only other receiving options over 100 yards and Tremble is a monstrous Red Zone target. Braden Lenzy looked good a week ago and he might have the most upside once he’s rolling with Book. 

The defense can’t wait until the third quarter to show up. This Cardinals offense is a lot better than Florida State and they won’t give Notre Dame the same luxury they got a week ago. The Fighting Irish are the better team here, but it doesn’t mean they can’t lose this one. 

Spread Prediction

Give me Notre Dame to continue the trainwreck that is the Louisville Cardinals 2020 season. It appeared that half of the defense quit a week ago and another massive loss isn’t going to help the morale. The Fighting Irish are a better team on both sides of the ball and they have a lot more to play for. Ian Book hasn’t even gotten started yet, and the Irish are lethal on the ground. 

This is a big number against a talented Louisville team, but Cunningham has turned the ball over a ton early in the season and this ND defense is the most aggressive one he’s seen yet. They’ll be in the backfield all night and it won’t be easy for Atwell to get open. Give me Notre Dame to win this one comfortably. 

The Pick: Notre Dame -17

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

The Notre Dame offense is predicated on running the ball this season and that won’t change once they get the lead in this one. The defense allowed just 13 points through the first two games of the season and it was a new QB under the helm for Florida State that threw them off for just a half. They tightened up in the second and I expect another elite performance here. 

This is a big number and I don’t see any reason to take the over. While both offenses have the capability to throw the ball, I don’t expect that game script to be followed. Whoever has the lead will run a ton and the clock will tick. Give me the under as my favorite bet in this game. 

The Pick: Under 64

Final Score Prediction: Notre Dame 42, Louisville 20

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers
Why is Notre Dame -17 the bet to make?

– Cardinals are 3-11-1 ATS in their last 15 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
– Fighting Irish are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight-up win.

Why is under 64 the bet to make?

– Under is 4-1 in Fighting Irish last 5 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
– Under is 5-2 in Fighting Irish last 7 games as a home favorite.

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