Pinstripe Bowl Odds
Posted by Jimmy Boyd
The Notre Dame Fight Irish (8-4) are set to take on the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-6) in the 2013 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:00 EST on Saturday, Dec. 28 at Yankee Stadium and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Oddsmakers aren’t exactly expecting this to be a highly contested game, Notre Dame is currently listed as a 15.5-point favorite with the total set at 51 points.
Why Rutgers Will Cover:
The Scarlet Knights looked like they were well on their way to a bowl game after an impressive 4-1 start, but wouldn’t qualify for postseason play until the final week of the regular season. Injuries played a huge roll in Rutgers poor finish. Several players missed time and 10 different players suffered season-ending injuries.
On paper I think the majority would agree that Notre Dame is the more talented team, but that doesn’t always translate to bowl success. Motivation is one of the key factors that has to be taken into consideration. While the Scarlet Knights had higher expectations than finishing 6-6, you have to think they are happy to be in a bowl and will be focused on beating the Irish. As for Notre Dame, this is a bit of a difficult spot after playing in last year’s BCS Championship Game. This becomes even more of a factor with a 15.5-point spread.
There’s a key system telling us to take Rutgers based on how these two teams fared against the spread down the stretch. Underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points who come in having failed to cover the spread in 3 out of their last 4 games against an opponent who covered the spread in 2 out of their last three are 216-135 (61.5%) ATS since 1992. Adding to this is the fact that Notre Dame is just 5-18 ATS in their last 23 games when they come in having covered the spread in at least 5 of their last 7 games.
Underdogs of 10.5 to 21 points who come in having failed to cover the spread in 3 out of their last 4 games against an opponent who covered the spread in 2 out of their last three are 216-135 (61.5%) ATS since 1992.
One of the key factors in this game that could benefit Rutgers is the injury suffered to Notre Dame’s star defensive linemen Louis Nix. He was the anchor of the Fighting Irish defense and the most important piece to their 3-4 scheme. While the Scarlet Knights rushing attack comes in ranked 97th in the country at just 133.7 ypg. A big reason for that is star running back Paul James missed four games and struggled to return to form. James rushed for 573 yards and six touchdowns prior to getting hurt and just 260 yards and three scores in his final four games after returning to the lineup. The extra time between the end of the regular season and the bowl game, should have James looking like he did early on.
Why Notre Dame Will Cover:
This might not be the season the Fighting Irish envisioned after last year’s visit to the National Championship Game, but I think this team knew they weren’t going to get back to play for a title this year. Not with the loss of starting quarterback Everett Golson before the season ever started. It become even more clear when the Fighting Irish lost to Michigan in their second game of the season. It’s not the best of bowl games for a high profile school like Notre Dame, but that doesn’t mean they won’t show up.
Maybe the biggest factor favoring Notre Dame is that they haven’t won a bowl game since knocking off Miami in the the Sun Bowl back in 2010. On top of that, they have quite a bit to prove after the way they were embarrassed by Alabama in last year’s BCS Championship Game.
While both of these teams have played at Yankee Stadium previously, I think the site could actually favor Notre Dame more than it does Rutgers. You can pretty much count on the conditions not being ideal in the Bronx come late December. When scoring figures to be at a premium, it’s hard to not like your chances with the team who features the better defense.
The Fighting Irish may be without Nix, but their still far superior to what Rutgers will send to the field on the defensive side of the ball. The Scarlet Knights finished 66th in the country in total defense (416. ypg) and their 311.4 passing yards allowed per game was the 110th worst mark in the country. Notre Dame is an impressive 17-4 ATS in their last 21 road games vs defenses who allow 250 or more passing yards/game and have won these contests by an average score of 32.2 to 16.5.
Notre Dame is an impressive 17-4 ATS in their last 21 road games vs defenses who allow 250 or more passing yards/game and have won these contests by an average score of 32.2 to 16.5.
Rutgers poor pass defense and Notre Dame’s lack of a running game this season puts all the pressure on senior starting quarterback Tommy Rees, who hasn’t exactly been the most praised quarterback in school history. I have to believe this game means a lot to Reese and I don’t think he could have picked a better defense to go out against. One of Rees’ biggest problems has been throwing costly interceptions. Lucky for him, Rutgers has allowed 31 touchdowns and intercepted just 8 passes all season and it’s not like they haven’t played some pretty bad quarterbacks.
Early Lean – Rutgers +15.5