NCAAF
July 13, 2022
BY Lance Cartelli

College Football Odds: Notre Dame-Ohio State Prediction, Odds, Pick and More

Under the bright lights in Columbus, Ohio, THE Ohio State Buckeyes will welcome the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to the Shoe on Sept. 3.  

The Buckeyes, who finished last season 11-2, enter as heavy favorites at +14, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. The Irish also tallied an 11-2 record last year, but the talent clearly favors Ohio State. 

Could new Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman start his Fighting Irish coaching tenure off with a massive upset? 

Here’s why both teams can cover the 14-point spread. 

Why Ohio State Can Cover

Last year’s Rose Bowl champions have revenge on their minds this season after finishing a disappointing second place in the Big 10 to their bitter rivals, the Michigan Wolverines. 

They let out of some of their frustration on Utah in the Rose Bowl last year, thanks to Jaxon Smith-Njigba’s legendary three-touchdown performance. 

It’ll be JSN’s time to shine as the team’s clear-cut No. 1 receiver now that Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson left to join the NFL. Don’t be surprised to see Smith-Njigba take his game to another level as C.J. Stroud’s top threat in the passing game. 

Stroud also should take a big leap this season. The Ohio State starting QB is the betting favorite to win the Heisman Trophy (+200) this season. And it’s no surprise. He’s already the next great Buckeyes QB and a potential top pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, if he decides to leave Columbus early. 

Stroud can start his Heisman campaign with a bang by beating the Fighting Irish in primetime. 

Ohio State has plenty of talent elsewhere which makes them a nightmare to stop. TreVeyon Henderson could overtake Texas’ Bijan Robinson as the nation’s top running back this season, too. 

It’ll be a tall task for Notre Dame and their defense to slow down Ohio State, but the Irish’s new head coach appears ready to heed the call. 

Why Notre Dame Can Cover

Now that Brian Kelly and his fake Southern accent have left for the bayou in LSU, Notre Dame elevated their incredibly popular defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to the top job. In his first game as the team’s official head coach, he has his work cut out for him. But Notre Dame could have a real shot to cover the big point spread. 

Notre Dame offensive coordinator Tommy Rees will take on a much bigger role, too. He’ll coach his third starting QB in as many years as the offensive playcaller. Either sophomore Tyler Buchner or redshirt sophomore Drew Pyne will take over for Jack Coan. In their first start, they’ll get a talented and attacking defense. 

Thankfully for either Buchner or Pyne, they have one of the most reliable and talented tight ends in the nation in Michael Mayer. 

The six-foot-four specimen should be the safety blanket for an evolving Irish offense that doesn’t have a ton of talent outside of Mayer. 

It’s the defense that’ll make the Irish contenders, though. 

Freeman has talented difference makers at all three levels even after losing safety Kyle Hamilton to the pros. The Irish replaced him with All-American safety Brandon Joseph via the transfer portal. He’ll team up with a disruptive defensive line that features Isaiah Foskey and Jayson Ademilola. 

If the Irish defense steps up then Notre Dame could have another double-digit win total in their future, and a potential upset of Ohio State.  

Prediction

Marcus Freeman and the Irish will come out with high intensity that could slow down the Buckeyes initially, but there’s very little chance that Stroud, Smith-Njigba and Henderson don’t light up the scoreboard. That’ll be too much for a young Irish offense to overcome. 

Ohio State wins and covers, 42-21.