The Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s football program hasn’t experienced the type of success it currently has since the Lou Holtz days. From 1991-93, the team logged an impressive 31-5-1 record. But over the last three seasons, Brian Kelly has led the team to 11, 12 and 10 victories to go along with a pair of bowl wins. That said, it hasn’t transpired into much national notoriety with the lone big appearance ending with a thud after the Clemson Tigers romped them 30-3 in the CFP semifinal matchup in the Cotton Bowl. The Duke Blue Devils came a win short of going back to a bowl a third straight season in 2019-20. With that, David Cutcliffe has once again assumed control of the offense which should have the Dookies in a position to have a fighting chance of covering the enormous 19.5-point spread online sportsbooks currently have this game lined at; the total currently checks in at 54.5.
Watch this Week 2 matchup on Saturday, September 12, 2020, at 2:30 p.m. ET from Notre Dame Stadium.
College Football Odds at BookMaker.eu
Notre Dame -19.5
Though 58 percent of the betting handle has surfaced upon the home based fighting Irish for Saturday afternoon’s tilt, the betting line is on the decline. Notre Dame initially hit the board as 20.5-point home favorites, but the impost now stands at -19.5 with even juice on both sides. Though Ian Book is back to lead the Fighting Irish’s offense and Duke is breaking in a grad transfer to take over its offensive reigns, Cutcliffe is still receiving respect from the betting markets even though he’s just 1-3 ATS the last four times his kids received at least two touchdowns from linemakers. With the strength of ND’s offense coming along the front wall and Cutcliffe once again calling the plays in Durham, the total has been bet up to 54.5 from the 53.5-point opener.
With Clemson transfer Chase Brice the new QB1 of the Blue Devils offensive attack, the absence of experienced center Jack Wohlabaugh could lead to some major issues with the senior unable to suit up for this game due to suffering a torn ACL in his right knee. The offensive line is however one of the more deeper positions on this year’s team, so the next man will have to step up and be capable for the Dookies to have any shot in this game. As for Notre Dame, there isn’t a single player listed on the current injury report so it’s full speed ahead right from the season’s outset!
Player to Watch
Ian Book: The success of the 2020-21 Notre Dame Fighting Irish ultimately hinges upon Book in his final year of eligibility with the program. He was magnificent in his first full season as the Irish’s QB1 back in 2018-19 when he threw for nearly 2,500 yards and a 19:6 TD/INT ratio. His 162.5 QB rating was the highest of his career. Though he improved upon those outputs last season in throwing for nearly 2,800 yards and a rock solid 33:6 TD/INT ratio, there were a few too many games in which he failed to make an impact. That can’t happen this season if Notre Dame is to make a run at another College Football Playoff appearance. Duke’s secondary loses stud safety Dylan Singleton but returns everyone else. It was the strength of the stop unit a season ago. With that, Book must bring his “A” game to the gridiron on Saturday as he works in a completely revamped receiving corps.
Free ATS Pick
The Fighting Irish went into Wallace Wade Stadium and handed the Blue Devils an ugly 38-7 defeat as touchdown favorites a season ago; Duke was outgained 469-197! That’s the type of loss that sticks in your craw, so it’s pretty safe to assume Duke invades South Bend determined to put forth a much better showing. Though Notre Dame currently ranks out as the No. 10 team in the land, it has a number of questions that need to be answered on both sides of the ball. The Dookies are the side that brings with it the more experienced defense. On top of that, most of those guys got their breakfast, lunch and dinner served up to them by Book and company last season. With that, the Dookies are salty dogs in this matchup and the betting markets suggest as such with the number to beat trickling down the closer we get to kick-off. I’m not going to call for the outright upset, but I do foresee the Blue Devils being in this one all the way through provided Brice does a good job of running the offense and doesn’t kill the team’s chances by committing costly turnovers. I’ll be paying up to see just how good the Irish are this Saturday!
CFB Pick: Notre Dame 30, Duke 24
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