Notre Dame Fighting Irish Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
This is the ninth year of the Brian Kelly era at Notre Dame. I am surely not the only person with no personal connection to the team who wonders how the team has stayed patient with him for this long. He's far from the worst coach in college football. But he's a long way from the best as well. He has a way of teasing to raise expectations and then destroying hopes just when things get tough. This is yet another Kelly-esque season that we are heading into. The ceiling is quite high, but the floor is frustratingly low, too - and nothing would be a particular surprise. Last year his defense let him down, and he lacked clarity at quarterback. This year things may be better - or they may not. Kelly is not a friend to people who make predictions for a living.
2017 in a Nutshell
It was a rocky year last year with a lot of changes in players and coaches. And after a dismal 2016 the team bounced back reasonably well, winding up 10-3. The problem, though, is that they lost to the three best teams they faced. They lost narrowly at home to Georgia early on and then lost badly at Miami and Stanford at the end of the season. They did beat three ranked teams, but all were overrated - USC, NC State, and LSU in their bowl game. They were ranked as high as No. 3 heading into the Miami game but fell with the two losses and wound up at 11th after the bowl win. Promise leading to disappointment - the Brian Kelly formula.
Key Additions and Departures
The team lost only four players to the draft, but two of the losses will hurt badly as the offensive line lost two stars in the Top 10 picks - guard Quenton Nelson went sixth, and tackle Mike McGlinchey was ninth. The Irish had arguably the best offensive line in the country last year, so these losses obviously have a significant impact. They are breaking in a new offensive line coach - Jeff Quinn - as well to make things more complicated.
The incoming recruiting class was pretty much the same type of class that Notre Dame always brings in - a solid group with a good share of star-potential players. Combine that large and solid class with a roster full of more fifth-year players than most teams and you have the bookends of another strong team.
Biggest Area of Concern
That offensive line has to be an issue. The left side was just incredible, and now it is gone. And even with that great line there were plenty of issues at quarterback. Only two linemen have things nailed down at this point, so while there is plenty of talent there is also a lot of uncertainty. The longer the adjustment period for this new line, the tougher things will be - and they start out by facing one of the best defensive lines in the country, which really won't help.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish Schedule Analysis
The end of the annual showdown with Michigan was a travesty, so it is very good to have it back. It's a rough way for this team to start things out, though. The game is at home, but Michigan is loaded and matches up very well with the Irish. It will be a tough test, but the momentum if Notre Dame can win will be significant. They have an easy stretch after that with Ball State, Vanderbilt, and Wake Forest. But then they host Stanford and visit Virginia Tech in a tough two-week stretch. Pitt is tough for Notre Dame most years, and so is Navy. They travel to Northwestern for what should be a win and then host a Florida State team that should be better than last year. They play a novelty game at Yankee Stadium against Syracuse then finish out at USC. This is a tough schedule, but Notre Dame is as used to that as any school out there.
2018-19 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Odds and Trends
Notre Dame is at +4000 to win the national title, which puts them behind 14 other teams, including two teams they play. They are not a top contender in the eyes of oddsmakers. The season win total is set at 9.5, with the "under" strongly favored.
2018-19 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Predictions and College Football Picks
I don't have particularly high hopes for this team. I am not convinced that the defense is dramatically better, the quarterback position is not guaranteed to be a success, and the offensive line isn't what it was. The schedule is tough, and there are plenty of places to trip up. I expect them to start off with a rough loss, and it will be tough to recover from there. I don't see a ton of value in the under on the win total, but I certainly wouldn't bet the "over". This will be another frustrating year in the Kelly era.
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