Fiesta Bowl: Notre Dame vs Ohio State
Notre Dame ended the regular season with my #1 rated offense, on the strength of the #1 run offense and #11 pass offense. If starting QB Zaire hadn't been injured a couple of the games into the season, who knows? Maybe ND would be undefeated and the #1 seed in the playoffs right now. As good as backup Kizer has been, Zaire had a higher QB rating and yard per carry average than Kizer, though over a pretty small sample size of play. ND ended the season with 5 "best" running games in their final 6, against an average ranked rush defense of 30. Solid. OSU with their 22nd ranked rush defense better be ready. Unfortunately for ND, their run defense needs to be even MORE ready, as the disparity between their run defense and OSU's run offense is even greater with respective rankings of 61st and 7th. ND's pass defense isn't as good as my final ranking of 30th for them either, honestly. They benefitted from playing Texas early, Clemson on a super soaked field and doing a good job against Navy on a limited number of pass atttempts (6). Teams with above average pass offenses were able to throw the ball well against ND in the second half of the season. Much has been made of OSU's QB controversies on and off the field this season. From week #4 on, though, their passing game was pretty good, averaging 0.9 yards more per pass than their opponent usually allows. The only time in that stretch where they at least failed to match the opponent's usualy defensive average was in the nightmare game against Michigan State. Where many teams may have not given their best effort in their final game after a probable playoff eliminating loss, OSU apparently had some good practices because their offense turned in their best performance of the season in a rout of Michigan. Maybe some of that spunk will carry over into the Bowl game. When Urban Meyer is the coach you should never bet on a letdown. Anyway, the moral of this story is that both offenses rate to have pretty good days, and being balanced units as they are there's no cheating against the run or the pass. My numbers don't show any value on the spread, but the opening total of 53.5 provides tremendous value on the Over (still only 54 as I write this), as this game should score into the low 60s.
Recommended investment: Over 53.5 1%