Sun Bowl Predictions: Notre Dame vs. Miami Odds and Picks
by Alan Matthews - 12/29/2010
One of college football’s most-heated and best rivalries, which helped shape the sport in the 1980s, is renewed for the first time in 20 years when Notre Dame faces Miami (Fla.) on New Year’s Eve afternoon in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
From 1983 to 1990, UM beat Notre Dame five times and went on to win three National Championships. But the Irish dropped Miami from their schedule after 1990. The schools have signed on to play each other in 2012 in Chicago and then in South Bend in 2016 and Miami in 2017.
Of course, neither program is in sniffing distance from its glory days as both enter this one at 7-5. Miami was the preseason favorite in the ACC and a chic longer-shot NCAA title contender, but the Hurricanes once again underperformed under Coach Randy Shannon, who was fired after the regular season-closing loss to South Florida. Al Golden has replaced Shannon in Coral Gables, but interim Coach Jeff Stoutland will coach the team for this game as Golden deals with other matters like recruiting, etc.
It’s still not clear who Miami will start at quarterback, but it looks like Jacory Harris, who started UM's first eight games before sustaining a concussion against Virginia on Oct. 30. True freshman Stephen Morris replaced Harris and started the final four games. Morris hurt his left ankle after his second snap of practice Tuesday morning in El Paso and had to be helped off the field by training staff. Stoutland said he doesn't want to make any decision until he knows exactly what's wrong with Morris. Harris was awful in the team’s four losses he started, throwing just one TD and seven picks.
The Irish didn’t look like they might be bowl-eligible entering November as they were 4-5 in Coach Brian Kelly’s first season. But then the Irish closed with three wins in a row, including over then-No. 15 Utah and at Southern Cal to close the regular season to end an eight-game skid in that series.
Notre Dame won’t have senior receiver Duval Kamara, who started four of the final five games this season but left the team recently for personal reasons. He had six receptions for 56 yards against Navy, two touchdown catches in the win over Utah and a TD catch in the win over USC. But overall he wasn’t much of a factor, finishing with career lows in receptions (11) and receiving yards (112). Freshman T.J. Jones is likely to take Kamara’s place.
Since 1994, the Fighting Irish are 1-9 in bowls, the worst mark in nation of any team that went to five bowls or more over that span.
Sun Bowl Odds – Notre Dame vs. Miami
UM is currently a 2.5-point favorite, according to college bowl odds, with the total at 47. Miami is getting about a 55 percent lean. The line opened at 3.0 at most books while the total opened at 46. The Hurricanes are 5-7 ATS this year (not covering in four of their final five games) while Notre Dame is 5-5-2 ATS and covered their final three.
Sun Bowl – Notre Dame vs. Miami Betting Trends
Notre Dame is 6-1 ATS in its past seven games as an underdog.
Miami is 2-5 ATS in its past seven as a favorite.
The ‘under’ is 4-0 ATS in the Irish’s past four games.
The ‘under’ is 6-0-1 ATS in Miami’s past seven games.
Sun Bowl Predictions – Notre Dame vs. Miami Betting Picks
These teams did play one common opponent this year, with the Canes winning, 31-3, at Pittsburgh back on Sept. 23 and Notre Dame beating the Panthers, 23-17, in South Bend a few weeks later. There is really no question that Miami has more talent, but how will the players react to Shannon’s firing? He was like a father figure to many of them. I think the players will want to win this game for Shannon and will cover the spread with little trouble. But who knows what you will get from Harris or Notre Dame true freshman QB Tommy Rees, so take the ‘under’.
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