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College Football Picks: Ohio State vs. Notre Dame Best Bets
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Ohio State vs. Notre Dame Betting Odds for Week 4
Spread: Ohio State -3 (Caesars Sportsbook); Notre Dame +3.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Total: 55.5 (BetMGM Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Ohio State -155 (Caesars Sportsbook); Ohio State +146 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
The weather will be pleasant on Saturday night in this top-10 battle between the Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish. Ohio State has a little bit of history on its side in this titanic matchup, as it leads the all-time series 5-2, including a 21-10 win in Columbus last season. These teams haven't met in South Bend since Sept. 28, 1996, which was a 29-16 victory by the Scarlet and Gray. In fact, the Irish haven't cracked the Buckeyes since Oct. 31, 1936, a 7-2 win. Taking you back to that day, tickets were $4, plus 40 cents tax, of course. The game was played at 2 p.m. CT, it rained moderately at times, and it had been the largest-ever crowd at Notre Dame Stadium for a game. Ohio State led 2-0 on a safety in the second quarter, but Bunny McCormick scored later in the quarter, wearing those leather helmets of the period, notching the game's only touchdown. We're sure to see a little more scoring on Saturday night, although last season's tilt in Columbus easily cashed the Under. We have a lot more firepower on both sidelines, way more than in 1936 and certainly more than last season. QB Sam Hartman has been a Godsend for the Irish, throwing for 1,061 yards, 13 TD, and no INTs in the first four games, all wins, while completing 71.1% of his passes. When he isn't slinging it, RB Audric Estime is gobbling up huge chunks of real estate. He has 521 yards and 5 TD on the ground, averaging 8.3 yards per tote. The Buckeyes have plenty of firepower, too. RB TreVeyon Henderson has back-to-back games with 2 rushing TDs, while QB Kyle McCord has completed 69.7% of his passes for 815 yards, 6 TD and 1 INT through three games. WR Marvin Harrison Jr. leads the way with 304 receiving yards and 3 TD, and WR Emeka Egbuka is a solid secondary option with 13.9 yards per reception and 3 TD. Don't sleep on TE Cade Stover, either, especially in the red zone, although he has yet to score this season. I wouldn't be surprised to see Stover score Saturday night.
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Ohio State vs. Notre Dame Betting Picks for Week 4
The Buckeyes have history on their side, as mentioned above. Ohio State, sans McCord, also have the experience of playing in a big game. Hartman, while he has been on fire to start, has faced Navy, Tennessee State, NC State and Central Michigan, not exactly a murderer's row. To be fair, the Buckeyes have faced a bunch of cupcakes, too, but they can tap into last season for that experience. Hartman played on a decent Wake Forest team, but this is the big time. The pressure will be on his shoulders, and it will be interesting to see if he can bring the same kind of production into a game against an Ohio State pass defense, which has allowed a Georgia-like 223.7 total yards per game, including just 140.3 passing yards per contest. The latter ranks 7th in the nation, and the Buckeyes have yielded just 6.7 points per game, which is second-best in the land.
The Ohio State offense has racked up 40.3 PPG to rank 22nd in the nation, and the Notre Dame defense hasn't faced anything close to that kind of level just yet. I don't think the Buckeyes are able to move the ball anywhere near as freely against the Irish, but I think Ohio State is able to do a good job running schemes to confuse Hartman and coax him into his first miscues as an Irish.
This game won't be confused for a defensive slog, but we might see a defensive score similar to that 1936 game mentioned above. And while 55.5 is a big number for such a titanic game, these two powerful offenses have gone for 35 or more points in all but one of their combined seven games. For Notre Dame, it's been all gas and no brakes, going for 41 or more points in every outing, cashing the Under in the past three. This could be a game where both teams get into the high 20s or 30s.
Ohio State vs. Notre Dame Expert Pick: Over 55.5 (DraftKings SportsBook)
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Ohio State vs. Notre Dame Predictions for Week 4
While I think we're going to see a lot of scoring, and that would be my primary play, it's hard not to get sucked into 87-year history. Even when these teams met at the Fiesta Bowl on New Year's Day 2016, the guys on the field were kids. The Buckeyes have won five straight in the series. That means something. Head coach Marcus Freeman, a former Buckeyes assistant, would like to change that. But can he? Hartman and Estime are a nice combination, but the Buckeyes have a little more depth with Harrison, Egbuka, Stover, Henderson and RB Miyan Williams, too. The line at FanDuel has the Irish catching three and the hook, and I like that, as I really feel this is going to be a one-possession game and might very well come down to a late field in a 34-31 game or some kind of similar score. I wouldn't take the Irish, at least as heavy, at a flat three.
I would also take a shot on a couple of Anytime Touchdown Scorers. Ohio State's Stover hasn't scored in three games this season, but Cade Stover Anytime TD (+220, Fan Duel) is just too tough to pass up for a chance to more than double your money. And while we've discussed the QB and tailback for the Irish, looking to the wideouts for Notre Dame scoring, particularly Jaden Greathouse Anytime TD (+310, FanDuel), for a chance to triple up. And, if you want to get CRAZY, take the Irish +3.5 (-114), Over 55.5 (-110), Stover Anytime TD (+220) and a Greathouse Anytime TD (+310) for a Same-Game Parlay, paying +3451. Let's make some serious money in South Bend on Saturday.