After watching the Notre Dame Fighting Irish barely get by Ball State at home last week as a 34-point favorite, the Vanderbilt Commodores are saying there’s a chance for their Week 3 matchup. Not a good one, but there’s still a chance and anything can happen. Looking nothing like a top-10 team, the Irish squeaked by the invigorated Cardinals, who went toe-to-toe with their CFP hopeful opponent. Notre Dame’s offense lacked substance and Vandy has done a nice job restricting opponents, allowing just 17 points total in their two wins.
Kickoff for this regular season Week 3 game is set for Saturday, September 15, 2018, at 2:30 p.m. ET at Notre Dame Stadium. Watch the game line on NBC.
College Football Odds at BookMaker.eu
Vanderbilt Commodores +15
Notre Dame Fighting Irish -15
Over/Under (Check Back Later)
Notre Dame was far from impressive last week, barely getting by Ball State, 24-16, as a massive 34-point favorite. There could have been a letdown after that big win over Michigan in the opener, but more likely they aren’t as good as most predicted. The oddsmakers took notice setting the opening line at Notre Dame -15 with over 58 percent of the early action backing the visitors.
Matchup to Watch
We saw a similar start to last season for the Commodores defense, which allowed less than 200 total yards and just 4.3 points per game while getting out to a 3-0 start. However, once the SEC slate began and the competition stiffened, Vandy was exposed, giving up unheard of numbers in league play. Starting with a 59-0 pounding by Alabama, Vandy surrendered over 43 points per game in the eight league matchups. To combat a similar meltdown, Jason Tarver was hired as the team’s new coordinator.
Through two games, albeit against Middle Tennessee State and Nevada, the Commodores are allowing just 272 yards per game while giving up only 17 total points. The Dores have also forced six turnovers in the two games, including a four-takeaway game last week in their 41-10 victory over the Wolf Pack. Notre Dame was erratic on offense against Ball State with less than 300 yards of offense while Brandon Wimbush tossed three picks.
Player to Watch
As Wimbush goes, so go the Irish. Hidden behind one of the best offensive lines and the country’s No. 7 rushing attack last year, Wimbush got away with plenty. His accuracy was horrible completing less than 50 percent of his throws while taking 24 sacks. He did prove elusive when run out of the pocket by collecting 765 yards and 14 touchdowns on 137 rush attempts.
Coming off their emotional win over Michigan in the opener, the Irish struggled against Ball State from the Mid-American Conference. Wimbush in particular had a tough time dealing with the Cardinals 3-4 defensive alignment. He threw for 297 yards but had minus 7 yards rushing and was sacked four times on top of his three interceptions.
6 – The Commodores had only nine takeaways all last season, but they’ve proven to be much better in forcing turnovers this year. Aided by two interceptions and two fumble recoveries last week, Vandy pulled away from Nevada for the 41-10 victory.
The Dores forced a pair of turnovers in the opener to subdue MTSU 35-7 and their six takeaways are tied for the third-most in the FBS after the opening weeks of the season. Cornerback Joejuan Williams could be the best player on that side of the football for Vandy and he collected the first pick of his career last week.
Free ATS Pick
Maybe Vandy learned a lesson from last season when they strolled into Tuscaloosa with a 3-0 record and one of the best defenses in college football. Last year, the Dores were smoked by the Tide and the season spiraled out of control. They head to South Bend on Saturday for a showdown with the overrated Irish, who were lucky to get by Ball State last week.
With Kyle Shurmur behind center, Vandy has an advantage at the quarterback spot. He’s completed over 67 percent of his passes without a turnover, compared to the erratic performance so far by Wimbush on the other side. I don’t think Vanderbilt has the goods to pull off the upset, but just like Ball State last week, they can cover the spread against an Irish team that looks average at best.
College Football Odds: Notre Dame 27, Vanderbilt 20
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