Irish Favored Over Struggling Georgia Tech As They Look To Stay In CFP Hunt

Notre Dame needs to close with two wins and get help elsewhere to reach playoffs
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Eighth-ranked Notre Dame looks to stay in the College Football Playoff chase Saturday when it hosts Georgia Tech.

The Fighting Irish (9-1) are trying to reach the national semifinals for the third time in four years, but they need plenty of help to get there while trying to close with victories over the Yellow Jackets and Stanford on the road next weekend. They do have a chance to move up this weekend, considering No. 4 Ohio State and No. 7 Michigan State square off and No. 3 Oregon enters its game at No. 23 Utah as a slight underdog.

Brian Kelly’s team has won four straight games after stifling Virginia 28-3 on the road last weekend. Jack Coan threw three touchdown passes while Kyren Williams and Logan Diggs combined for 134 rushing yards as Notre Dame kept the chains moving. The Irish converted seven of 11 third downs and rolled up 423 yards of offense.

The defense, which did not have to contend with injured Cavaliers standout quarterback Brennen Armstrong, did its job by forcing two turnovers and recording seven sacks while holding Virginia to 278 yards. The Irish have won 23 consecutive regular season games against ACC opponents since a 41-7 loss to Miami on Nov. 11, 2017.

Georgia Tech (3-7) is on its way to a third consecutive sub-.500 season and opens a brutal two-game closing stretch that includes a trip to top-ranked Georgia next weekend. The Yellow Jackets have lost four in a row, including a 41-30 defeat at home to Boston College last Saturday. Jahmyr Gibbs had 194 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns, including a 98-yard kickoff return for a score, but Tech’s defense was pulled apart for 505 yards and gave up 8.7 yards per play.

Since a 45-22 upset of then-No. 21 North Carolina on Sept. 25, the Yellow Jackets have struggled to stop anyone. They have allowed an average of 37.8 points and 544 yards over the last six games, yielding 26 or more points in each contest.

Notre Dame also cruised to a 31-13 victory at Georgia Tech last season as Williams had 76 yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. The Irish have won 40 straight games versus unranked FBS opponents, the longest active streak in the country.

The Irish a heavy favorite

Given the trending directions of both teams, it is not surprising oddsmakers have installed Notre Dame as a heavy favorite. The Irish are more than two-touchdown favorites versus the Yellow Jackets, with many sportsbooks opting to ride the hook on both sides of 17 points.

FanDuel is the lone operator choosing to offer the low side of Notre Dame -16.5, offering -118 for what could be termed a favorable play. Most others, however, are challenging bettors to take the high side at -17.5, with PointsBet and WynnBET offering the most value at -105, followed by BetMGM (-110) and the Kambi platform powering BetRivers and Unibet (-112).

DraftKings, theScore Bet, Caesars, and Betway are opting to play the middle at Notre Dame -17, with DraftKings leading the pack at -105. TheScore Bet lists the Irish at -110, while Caesars and Betway are both offering -115 on the flat number.

The over/under has four options for bettors, with FanDuel on the low side at 57.5 points with a -115/-105 split and increasing in half-point increments to 59, where BetMGM is offering -110 in both directions. PointsBet and WynnBET are both offering 58 at -110 both ways, while 58.5 points has varying listings. Those interested in the over can get even money at DraftKings and Betway, while the -110 from Caesars and theScore is top value for the under.

Purdue and Indiana with Big Ten battles

The Boilermakers (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) are double-digit favorites at Northwestern (3-7, 1-6) as they try to extend their faint hopes for a division title. Purdue, which was thumped 59-31 at then-No. 6 Ohio State last weekend, is an 11-point favorite at most books, though BetMGM is offering -10.5 at -110. Those confident in the Boilermakers may want to consider FanDuel, which has the Boilers -11.5 for -106.

The Hoosiers (2-8, 0-7) can do their archrivals a favor by toppling Minnesota (6-4, 4-3) on the road, but oddsmakers do not see that as likely to happen. Indiana, which is trying to avoid its first seven-game skid since closing the 2011 season with nine consecutive losses, was manhandled 38-3 at Rutgers last weekend.

Indiana has been outscored 203-67 during its losing streak, and the near-consensus offering is +7 at home versus the Gophers. On the flat touchdown, DraftKings is offering even money (+100) and PointsBet is close behind at -105. Riding the high-side hook with the Hoosiers +7.5 is available at FanDuel, but it comes with a price at -122.

Photo: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY 

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