Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:00 AM EST odds are subject to change.
Notre Dame -3½ over South Carolina
TaxSlayer Gator Bowl – TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
3:30 PM EST. Before you wager anything on this game, here are some things you should know. When the Gamecocks ended the regular season with back-to-back wins over top-10 teams Spencer Rattler was showing flashes that previously made him the top player in the country. Frank Beamer got paired up with Notre Dame in a dream bowl scenario where he could get more eyeballs on his budding program, but no one is sticking around. Rattler is going to play for the Gamecocks, but South Carolina will be very thin elsewhere. On the latest depth chart, Nate Adkins is the only tight end listed on the roster after catching eight passes in the regular season. Starting RB Marshawn Lloyd is in the transfer portal. Several other skill position players are also out for various reasons. Offensive lineman Dylan Wonnum, who has 40 career starts, has opted out. Three starters in the defensive secondary are out.
Notre Dame QB Drew Pyne is heading to Arizona State, and All-American TE Michael Mayer has opted out to prep for the NFL. QB Tyler Buchner entered preseason camp as the presumed starter, but a shoulder injury forced him to miss the last 10 games for the Irish. Buchner has been getting first-team reps in practice, and it looks like he will regain his starting spot. Head coach Marcus Freeman and offensive coordinator Tommy Rees have sung Buchner's praises in recovering for this game, but he still hasn't taken a live hit on his surgically-repaired shoulder. Losing Mayer as a safety blanket is a big deal, but Buchner hasn't played or practiced in almost four months. Notre Dame lost some big names, but South Carolina lost a lot of names.
We’re just relaying that info to you. We do not put nearly the same emphasis on who is playing and who is not as the pick-sellers and media because everything is reflected in the price. It’s not privileged information, nor is it inside information. It does not influence us, as our only goal is to find where the value lies.
In that regard, no team made more noise in the back-end of the 2022 college football season more than the Gamecocks, as South Carolina staged not one but two top-10 victories in back-to-back weeks to single-handedly influence the College Football Playoff. As a result, the Orange Bowl has been renamed the “Season Wrecked by The Gamecocks Bowl” as both Clemson and Tennessee were the victims of South Carolina’s antics and both were subsequently relegated from a potential College Football Playoff berth to the Capital One Orange Bowl.
South Carolina’s theatrics have launched them into the top-20 and made them the must-buy commodity of the holiday season. However, doing so now would be buying South Carolina not one, but two weeks too late. Let’s look at what South Carolina was priced at against Tennessee and Clemson: +23½ and then +14, respectively. Had South Carolina not won either of these games and found itself matched up with Notre Dame, would they be this price? Likely not, thus reinforcing the dangers of buying high.
We see this as an opportunity to move in on a short-sold Irish team against some heavy recency bias in South Carolina’s direction. Notre Dame’s résumé is nothing to scoff at. Notre Dame wrecked Clemson 35-14 when it was undefeated and ranked in the top-five to hand the Tigers their first loss of the season. This is far more impressive compared to South Carolina’s narrow shocker, which the market is placing heavy emphasis upon. The Irish also went toe-to-toe with a College Football Playoff participant in Ohio State who was then ranked #2 in the country. That result is long forgotten thanks to the early snares of the Marcus Freeman Experience that saw Notre Dame fall out of the top-10 when it was upset by Marshall in South Bend. However, the Golden Domers also knocked off two other top-16 opponents at the time of contest in BYU and Syracuse, and did so handily beating both by an average margin of 12½ points. Notre Dame at one point was ranked in the top-five itself but a series of early-season letdowns enabled the Irish to fall out of a ranking. There’s plenty to consider here but no matter which way we break it down, we come up with the same conclusion, that being, Notre Dame is underpriced.
Notre Dame -3½ -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)