Notre Dame isn’t off to the best start in 2022.
It was not surprising they lost their opener at Ohio State. They actually made it respectable, as the Fighting Irish covered the 17 points as an underdog.
It was surprising they lost at home to Marshall this past week. They were a 20.5 point favorite. Now, QB Tyler Buchner is out with a shoulder injury.
In college football, it’s a good idea to react to early season performances. Players and coaches change, and I have found that a predictive system that makes aggressive adjustments leads to more accurate predictions.
However, a predictive system can also overreact. This preseason, I had Notre Dame as 15 points better on a neutral field than California. Now, the markets favor Notre Dame by 11.5 points at home.
With Buchner out, Drew Pyne will take over at QB for Notre Dame. Both of these players competed for the job this off season. While Pyne doesn’t run the ball as well as Buchner, he should sustain the passing game.
This does not mean the passing game will be good. But the passing game wasn’t good under Buchner either. The pick six he threw against Marshall was worse than Nathaniel Hackett’s clock management.
Fine, it wasn’t worse than how Denver managed the last minute at Seattle on Monday night. However, a 38.7% passing success rate isn’t reminding anyone of Joe Burrow in 2019 either (40.4% college football average this season).
California is a program looking to break through in their sixth season under Justin Wilcox. While they have been good on defense under Wilcox, they only ranked 64th in my adjusted success rate in 2021.
California is hoping to get better on offense with Purdue transfer Jake Plummer at QB. This season, they’ve had two not so impressive wins over UC Davis and UNLV. My metrics have adjusted them downwards by about the same amount as Notre Dame.
While I had Notre Dame overrated this preseason, that was mostly because the preseason AP poll had them at an absurd 5th in the nation. They should be a top 20 team.
Notre Dame was expected to have a strong defense. While this unit failed against Marshall, they did hold down Ohio State in the opener and should return to form at home against Cal.
My member numbers like Notre Dame by 18.1 points, and this suggests value in Notre Dame -11 at home against California.
Football betting with a PhD edge
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