While the Vanderbilt Commodores scratch and claw their way in the SEC, it’s College Football Playoff or bust for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The teams clash Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET from Notre Dame Stadium. Both teams have gotten off to hot starts. The Commodores crushed Middle Tennessee State, 35-7, in their opener before rolling Nevada, 41-10. The Irish were able to knock off Michigan, 24-17, to open the season with a bang before slipping past Ball State by eight.
Notre Dame opened as a 14.5-point home favorite, but is now laying 13. The over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, has decreased from an opening of 52.5 to 51. Before you make any Notre Dame vs. Vanderbilt picks, check out what the SportsLine projection model has to say.
The model simulates every college football game 10,000 times and produced double-digit profitable weeks last season. It closed last week by hitting 11 of its last 13 top-rated picks, and cashing in huge with selections such as Kentucky against the spread (+13.5) and on the money line (+410) against Florida, and Arizona State against the spread (+4.5) and on the money line (+165) against Michigan State. The model has returned nearly $4,000 for $100 bettors over the past three seasons.
Now, the model has simulated Vanderbilt vs. Notre Dame 10,000 times to produce strong against-the-spread and over-under picks. We can tell you the under hits in 62 percent of simulations, but the model also has generated a point-spread selection that hits almost 60 percent of the time. This pick is available only at SportsLine.
The model is aware that Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush is coming off a poor performance against the Cardinals, in which he threw for 297 yards but was picked off three times. His running lanes were also bottled up during scrambles to gain only 7 yards rushing.
To alleviate pressure on Wimbush, the Irish will try to grind out some first downs with the running game. Last week, their top two backs were stymied in the second half. Jafar Armstrong, who had 13 carries for 66 yards, opened the scoring against Ball State with a 1-yard TD plunge. His backfield booster is Tony Jones Jr., who hit pay dirt twice last week, including a nifty, 31-yard run that secured the insurmountable lead.
Just because Notre Dame struggled last week doesn’t mean it can’t cover on Saturday.
The model has factored in that Vanderbilt will need to give quarterback Kyle Shurmur adequate time to throw. The pocket passer rarely runs and has been known to hold on to the ball a beat or two longer than he should. Because Notre Dame’s front seven possesses such surprising brawn and speed, quick slants to receivers Kalija Lipscomb and Jared Pinkney will be key.
Vandy will also need a big afternoon from running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who rumbled for 93 yards last week on just 11 carries and found the end zone twice.
Who wins Vanderbilt vs. Notre Dame? And which side covers almost 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread you need to jump on Saturday, all from the computer model that ended last week on a sparkling 11-2 run.