Over reaction? Under reaction? Or just right? Bettors will have to weigh the impact of injuries and previous opponents as the line for Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech is one of the fastest movers of the Week 3 college football schedule.
Date: Saturday, September 19th 2015
Start Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Broadcast Info: NBC
Notre Dame opened at -2, but the line has flipped with most shops listing the Yellow Jackets at 2-2.5 point favorites. Notre Dame’s injury issues in 2015 have been well documented, but before you throw all of your chips toward Georgia Tech, consider the level of The Yellow Jackets first two opponents, Alcorn State and Tulane. Teams that open the year with multiple “cupcakes” often struggle in their first game against formidable competition.
Who to Watch: Who is this DeShone guy? The Irish have the ultimate wild card in backup quarterback DeShone Kizer. With the exception of the last quarter of the Virginia game, there is no game film on Kizer. Will he look to run when things break down? How’s his arm strength? How’s his pocket presence? One thing that’s certain is Kizer should look to Will Fuller early and often. Fuller is currently the only wide receiver listed on Bovada’s Heisman odds board. The junior from Philadelphia has 12 catches this year for 266 yards, including the game-winner with 12 seconds remaining last week.
What’s the Key: Not one…not two…not three… Notre Dame is already down five starting players heading into Week 3 against Georgia Tech. Tight end Durham Smythe (shoulder) joins quarterback Malik Zaire (fractured right ankle), running back Tarean Folston (torn right ACL), defensive tackle Jarron Jones (torn right MCL), and nickelback Shaun Crawford (torn ACL) as starters who will miss the entire season. Georgia Tech has covered nine straight games, including a 2-0 record so far this season. Since the start of last season, The Yellow Jackets have the lowest percentage of plays with no gain or negative yardage (20 percent), the most points per drive (3.6), the highest touchdown percentage (49 percent), highest third-down conversion percentage (58.1 percent), and longest average drive distance (44 yards) in all of FBS. Over the last three seasons, Notre Dame has allowed an average of 319 rushing yards per game to triple-option opponents Air Force and Navy (via ESPN). Georgia Tech’s athletes are bigger, stronger, and faster than those from the service academies.
Where We’re Leaning: It’s one of the oldest sayings in football: A running game travels. And there’s no team in the country that runs it better than Georgia Tech. As great as Notre Dame looked in Week 1 against Texas, it’s clear that the Longhorns are a bad, bad team in 2015. The Irish showed a lot of grit, battling back against a tough Virginia team on the road, but ultimately won the game thanks to a literal slip by a defensive back. The Irish have a slight advantage over most teams that have to play Georgia Tech – They already play an option rushing attack every season in Navy. Notre Dame’s coaching staff has a decent head-start on preparing for the Yellow Jackets rushing attack, but will that be enough? Thanks to the drastic line move, there is definitely value in taking Notre Dame as the home dog, but Georgia Tech’s imposing offense is enough to scare most bettors away. Not us. We’ll be looking at the Fighting Irish in this Week 3 college football free pick, courtesy of WagerTalk.