Sun Bowl Betting: Notre Dame vs Miami (FL) Betting
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Irish vs. Hurricanes Preview & Pick
Date: Friday, December 31, 2010
Venue: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Miami Hurricanes Betting Lines from Betus.com
Money Line: Notre Dame +130, Miami -150
Spread: Miami -3
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Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-5)
The Fighting Irish didn’t make headlines this year the way they did in the glory days of Brady Quinn and Jimmy Clausen but they did close out the season on a nice little run, going 6-2 over their last eight games. As under the radar as the Irish were, they actually beat USC, Utah and Pittsburgh.
The Irish aren’t particularly strong in anyone area nor are they particularly weak. They’re 40th against the pass and 59th against the run. Offensively, the Irish appear to be a pass-first team on paper. They have the country’s 29th-ranked aerial attack. But that number doesn’t mean much right now. Starting quarterback Dayne Crist is out for the season with a knee injury.
Tommy Rees has been just average at since replacing him, throwing for 214 yards or fewer in four of his last five starts. He has 10 touchdown passes over his last four games but has also been picked off seven times over that span.
Miami Hurricanes (7-5)
What went wrong for Miami this year? Were the Hurricanes not a popular national or at least ACC title sleeper? Do I need my memory jogged? Their fast, athletic defense lived up to the hype – sort of. Miami is dominant against the pass, allowing a mere 146.3 passing yards per game (second in the nation). However, the Hurricanes are sieve-like too often against the run, clocking in at 84th with 167.3 rushing yards per game.
The ’Canes offense totals 423.2 yards per game, 21st in the nation, but it lacks “wow” factor. This is more of an offense by committee. Damien Berry led the team with just 865 rushing yards but Lamar Miller tallied 633 yards on his own. Jacory Harris battled concussion problems and finished the season with a very disappointing line of 1,756 passing yards, 14 touchdown passes, 12 interceptions and a 54.8 completion percentage. He looks set to return from his injury for the Sun Bowl but the point is that Miami lacks a real go-to guy on offense.
Do you want to pick this game with your heart or your head? If you go with the heart, Notre Dame is the pick. The Irish are happy to be in the Sun Bowl after winning their last three games (even if Rees’ play was overrated) and have a stable coaching situation with Brian Kelly. The Hurricanes’ season is a disappointment and their coach, Randy Shannon, got fired.
However, Miami’s pass defense still overmatches Notre Dame’s offense on paper. The Hurricanes’ offense isn’t amazing but it’s balanced and it didn’t totally flounder in Harris’ absence. Miami is thus the headier pick whether Harris starts or not.
Given its overall superiority in talent, not to mention the motivation of “winning one for Coach Shannon,” I like Miami to end the season on a positive note.
Notre Dame vs Miami prediction: Miami 27, Notre Dame 21
Money Line: Miami -150
Spread: Miami -3
Over/Under: OVER 47
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