Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press
Notre Dame is 4-0 straight up against Wake Forest over the last seven seasons, including a 48-37 victory last year. But the Demon Deacons are 3-1 against the spread over that span, covering as dogs three times, including last season.
Who’s the smart bet for Saturday afternoon’s clash between the Irish and the Deacons in Winston-Salem?
College football point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as 6.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 35.0-33.4 Fighting Irish (College football picks on every game)
Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread
The Irish are 3-0 on the season after holding off Vanderbilt last week 22-17.
Notre Dame drove the opening possession of the game 74 yards to a field goal, drove its second possession 94 yards to a touchdown and led 16-0 late into the second quarter.
The Irish then allowed the Commodores to pull within 16-10, immediately tacked on an insurance score, then held on from there, making a defensive stop on a fourth down on Vandy’s final drive to secure the victory.
On the day, Notre Dame, which only ran the ball for 121 yards two weeks ago against Ball State, outrushed the Commodores 245-94 and won the turnover battle 3-0.
That’s three weeks in a row the Irish have built a lead and then allowed their opponents to make things close near the end. In the season opener, Notre Dame led Michigan 21-3 in an eventual 24-17 win, and two weeks ago the Irish led the Cardinals 24-6 in an eventual 24-16 victory.
If Notre Dame ever plays a full four quarters it might blow somebody out.
Why the Wake Forest Demon Deacons can cover the spread
The Deacons started 2-0 this season, but they are now looking to bounce back from their first defeat, a 41-34 decision at Boston College last Thursday.
Wake Forest spotted the Eagles an early touchdown and then used a 21-7 run to take a 21-14 lead late in the second quarter.
But the Deacons then gave up a 27-6 run to Boston College, got a late score to pull back within seven points but couldn’t recover an onside kick. They also came up just short of covering the spread as 6.5-point dogs.
On the afternoon, Wake Forest produced 512 yards of offense, 298 on the ground and 214 through the air. And the special teams unit chipped in with a blocked punt for a touchdown.
But two interceptions inside Eagles territory basically cost the Deacons seven points, and they got stopped on downs at the Boston College 8-yard line while trying to take the lead early in the fourth quarter. Convert that play and Wake Forest might win that game.
Smart betting pick
Notre Dame, the better team in this matchup, is playing on the road, where spreads are friendlier toward favorites.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest is playing a freshman at quarterback, and its defense just gave up 524 yards and several big plays against Boston College.
Smart money gives the points here with the Irish.
College football betting trends
The total has gone under in three of Notre Dame’s last four games vs Wake Forest.
Notre Dame is 4-0 SU in its last four games vs Wake Forest.
Wake Forest is 2-11 SU in its last 13 games at home vs teams with winning records.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.