College Football Week 7 Picks Against the Spread: Stanford Cardinal vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

No. 17 Stanford Cardinal at No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Saturday, 10/13/12, 3:30 PM EST, TV:  NBC
Opening Point Spread:  Notre Dame -9.5
Current Betting Line:  Notre Dame -7.5
Opening Total:  49
Current Total:  44.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Notre Dame’s defense has been incredible this year

Stanford takes a detour from its Pac-12 Conference schedule this week to take on Notre Dame in South Bend, as the team comes off a thrilling 54-48 overtime win over the Arizona Wildcats as 10-point home favorites.  The Cardinal have been listed as underdogs just once this year, capturing a 21-14 victory over the USC Trojans when getting 9.5 points at home on Sept. 15.  The program has won 10 consecutive regular season games against non-conference opponents, including each of the last three in this series.  Stanford is 8-1 in its last nine games outside of conference play.

The Cardinal have won nine straight games in the month of October, while winning their last three games when traveling back East.  Stanford trailed by 14 points in the four quarter last week, but quarterback Josh Nunes led a furious comeback, finishing with a career-high five touchdowns.  He also managed to throw for a career-high 360 yards with no interceptions, which should give him confidence in his second road start of the year.  The running game gained a season-high 257 yards, averaging 6.0 yards per carry in that contest.

Notre Dame has covered the point spread in four of its first five games this year, including a 41-3 blowout win over the Miami Hurricanes as 15-point home favorites.  The Fighting Irish have been led by a stout defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown in three straight games, which is the longest such streak since 1980 for this storied program.  Overall, the defensive unit ranks second nationally in allowing just 7.8 points per game, as it hasn’t surrendered a rushing touchdown.  Notre Dame is 0-2 ATS as a home favorite of 7.5 to 10 points the last two-plus years, with the UNDER going 2-0 in that situation.

The Fighting Irish own a 17-9 edge in this series, as they look to get back in the win column for the first time since 2008, which is the last time they kicked off as a favorite against the Cardinal.  Notre Dame will welcome ESPN’s College GameDay to its campus, which may cause the team to be overhyped, considering the program is 8-11 when being one of the featured teams of that particular event.  Getting off to a good start is crucial, which is possible due to the team outscoring opponents by a 27-3 margin in the first quarter this year.

Sports bettors will likely back the Fighting Irish due to their 4-1 ATS mark in October, while the Cardinal are 1-2 ATS after allowing 37 points or more in their previous game.

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