In what is certainly shaping up to be one of the premiere Week 5 matchups, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0) host the Stanford Cardinal (4-0) in a battle of two undefeated teams. Kickoff is set for 7:30 PM PM EST at Notre Dame Stadium and the game will be available on NBC.
Taking a look at the Week 5 college football odds, Notre Dame opened as a 3.5-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has shifted slightly after early betting, as the Fighting Irish are currently listed at -4.5. The total for the game is sitting at 54 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Notre Dame vs Stanford
Stanford pulled off a victory for the ages in Week 4, defeating Oregon by a score of 38-31 in overtime after twice overcoming a 90% or higher loss probability in the second half to improve to 4-0. The Cardinal trailed 24-7 in the 3rd quarter and where about to go down 31-7, as Oregon had the ball on the Stanford 1 yard line. The Ducks proceeded to fumble on the goal line where Stanford recovered the loose ball and returned it all the way for a touchdown – a 14 point swing in one play. Things got even crazier late in the 4th quarter with Oregon leading 31-28. All the Ducks had to do was run out the clock, but the ball was fumbled yet again which allowed the Cardinal to force overtime before eventually winning the game. QB KJ Costello played very well, throwing for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Stanford has yet to get anything really going on the ground, as RB Bryce Love has struggled out of the gate. Love has just 254 yards and two touchdowns over the first four games of the season after rushing for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns last year.
The Cardinal have been great defensively, allowing an average of just 13.5 points per game to opponents. However, they have had some trouble against the pass, giving up an average of 233.8 yards per game through the air (83rd). They will have a chance to get back on track Saturday against a Notre Dame passing offense that is only ranked 71st overall.
Notre Dame is also off to a 4-0 start to their season after an impressive 56-27 road victory over Wake Forest last weekend. After starting QB Brandon Wimbush struggled to get the offense firing on all cylinders over the first several weeks of the season, head coach Brain Kelly gave Ian Book the start against the Demon Deacons. It proved to be a very wise decision, as Book passed for 325 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 43 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground. It will be very interesting to see how Book and the rest of the Fighting Irish offense performs this weekend against a lackluster Stanford secondary.
On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame has limited opponents to an average of just 19. 2 points per game (33rd overall). They are only 62nd in the nation against the run, allowing opponents to gain an average of 145.0 yards per game on the ground. Wake Forest posted a big number last week, rushing for over 250 yards on the afternoon. That is certainly concerning considering they are going up against ultra-talented Bryce Love here in Week 5.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Colorado -10
This should be a great game between two of the best teams in all of college football. While I am a little bit worried about the possibility of Stanford coming out flat after such an emotional victory last weekend, I think this one stays close all game before being decided by a field goal late in the 4th quarter. As good as Ian Book looked last weekend against Wake Forest, he still doesn’t have enough of a sample size for me to fully trust him – especially against a team that is allowing an average of just 13.5 points against per game.
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Both of these teams have performed pretty well against the spread lately. The Fighting Irish are 5-1 ATS in their past six home games against teams with a winning record while also going 5-2 ATS over their past seven games following an ATS win. Stanford is an impressive 6-1 ATS over their past seven games overall and 3-1-1 ATS in their past five road games against teams with a winning record.
Both of these teams desperately want to keep moving up the AP Top 25 standings and will look to move even closer towards entering the top 5 this weekend. I think this might be the week that Bryce Love finally snaps out of his funk, as he showed signs of it against Oregon despite failing to break the 100 yard mark in a game yet again. Notre Dame has looked below average against the run this year and just got torched on the ground last weekend. Bryce Love is a game-breaker and can easily lead Stanford to a win on the road if he has a big game. I also trust KJ Costello a bit more than Ian Book, despite the great performance in his first start last weekend. I think this one comes down to a field goal, and could go either way. Even if Notre Dame wins, I’ll take the 4.5 points and look for the Cardinal to grind out a cover.