The No. 10 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish have impressed through their first two games of the 2023 season, but their third game has all the makeup of a team potentially on upset watch in this week’s college football predictions … possibly.
The Fighting Irish allowed just three points in each of their first two games, scoring 42 and 56 points in dominant showings against Navy and Tennessee State.
But as the college football lines show, North Carolina State is a dangerous team when playing at home against Top 25 opponents, and the Wolfpack have a history of pulling off big upsets. The question is, will this NC State team have enough firepower to keep up with Notre Dame? Or better yet, can its stout defense match the defensive excellence we’ve seen from Notre Dame to this point?
Potential for Defensive Battle on Tap
Offensively, Notre Dame has been a force led by two of its top weapons in quarterback Sam Hartman (445 passing yards, six touchdowns, 82.5 percent completion rate) and running back Audric Estime (211 rushing yards, 7.3 YPC, two touchdowns) through two games. They’ve been equally as great defensively, providing a huge challenge for NC State’s offense with new quarterback Brennan Armstrong.
As for NC State’s defense, the Wolfpack completely shutdown Connecticut’s passing game last week, allowing just 113 passing yards and pulling down one interception. It’ll be a different magnitude of matchup against Howell and Notre Dame, but NC State’s defense, even without injured safety Rakeim Ashford, should keep the team in this one at home.
With all that said, if betting online in this one, Notre Dame is floating between a -7 and -7½-point favorite, which realistically, it should still be able to cover, but it’s not an easy call in this week’s college football picks.
Notre Dame Avoids the Upset
Notre Dame has been one of the headliners of college football news to start the season. Hartman appears more than ready for the big stage and the chance to help Notre Dame potentially make a run at the College Football Playoff. As tough as playing at Carter-Finley Stadium has proven to be in recent years, Notre Dame has enough talent to gut out a win here, but whether it’s by 3-7 points or 10-plus is a tough call to make.
Predicted Score: Notre Dame 24 NC State 17
Notre Dame vs NC State Game Information
- Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 9, Noon ET
- Location: Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC
- Notre Dame vs NC State TV: ABC, ESPN
Notre Dame vs NC State Best Bets
If forced to make a call on the current spread of Notre Dame vs. NC State, the lean would go in favor of the road team, especially if you’re able to get it at a touchdown. Taking the angle on Notre Dame to cover the first half as a -4-point favorite isn’t a bad approach, though, but it’s wise to avoid the first-quarter line until the adrenaline and crowd energy wears down a bit for the Wolfpack.
Lean toward Notre Dame in the 1H to cover -4, but there are better ways to play this matchup.
- Pick: Notre Dame 1H -4 (-110)
The over/under on this game is what the target should likely be. Notre Dame’s defense is more than capable of keeping NC State in check, but on the flip side, the only way the Wolfpack have a shot to win this game is if their defense can make plays. I think NC State does enough defensively to keep it close and targeting the under on 51 for the total is a decent angle in this week’s college football picks.
The top play from this game, though, could be to look at a potential teaser with Notre Dame and the under. If taking a six-point tease at -115, it moves the Notre Dame line to either -1½ or -1 depending on what you get the line at, and makes the total pick become under 57½ — both of which have a ton of appeal this week.