Here is your Notre Dame-Cincinnati betting prediction, in what should be the most important game of Saturday’s slate.
These two teams have almost no history on the field — they played once, and it came in 1900 — but there is plenty of history between the programs. Brian Kelly coached Cincinnati from 2007 to 2009 before heading to Notre Dame. Marcus Freeman left Cincinnati for Notre Dame’s staff in 2020. There are a lot of familiarities here.
And there is a lot on the line in this matchup. The winner will have a marquee win to get themselves in the mix for a playoff spot in a year that Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma all look vulnerable. The loser will likely be the team we end up talking about as “good enough without a good enough resume.”
Longtime college sports writer Rob Dauster, the co-founder of The Field of 68 and The Field of 12 Network is here to break down the tantalizing matchup and provide his Notre Dame-Cincinnati prediction for Week 5 of the college football season.
Check our predictions and bet right now at BetRivers, where you can find valuable odds such as NFL odds.
NOTRE DAME-CINCINNATI PREDICTION:
#7 CINCINNATI (3-0) at #9 NOTRE DAME (4-0)
GAME: 2:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
MONEYLINE: Cincinnati (-117), Notre Dame (-106)
SPREAD: Cincinnati (-1.5)
Before we dive into a full breakdown, I just need to say this: Notre Dame’s 41-13 win at Wisconsin last Saturday was nowhere near as impressive as that score might indicate. They were trailing entering the fourth quarter. They ran up the score (and somehow hit the over, gross) with a pair of pick-sixes in the final two minutes. They did not look the part of a top ten team that could put up 41 points and win by 28 against quality competition.
That said, it does seem like the good folks over at Bet Rivers have figured that out as well, because Cincinnati opened as a 2.5 points favorite, a number that has dropped to 1.5 points since.
At the same time, Cincinnati has wins over Miami, Murray State and Indiana. They did not exactly look incredible in any of those three games, and needed a couple late scores to pull away from the Hoosiers.
Look, I want Cincinnati to win this game. The Bearcats will have a real chance to crash the playoff if they do, but a loss — and an AAC schedule that is not pretty — will eliminate them from contention. But I worry about the matchups. For starters, they are not going to be able to get pressure on Jack Coan the way that other defenses have. They just don’t have that kind of a pass rush, and giving Coan time is not ideal. At the same time, Desmond Ridder is nowhere near as mistake prone as Graham Mertz, but he has thrown some picks, and he will be facing pressure against a team with great safeties.
As much as it pains me to say this, I think the play is taking the home dog’s moneyline.