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With both teams depleted defensively, Ohio State is out to become the rare Fiesta Bowl favorite to earn an ATS win when they face Notre Dame on Friday.
Ohio State enters the game at University of Phoenix Stadium listed as a 6.5-point betting favorite against the Fighting Irish at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The underdog has covered in seven of the last nine Fiesta Bowls. Ohio State is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games after a win.
Notre Dame is 10-2 SU and 8-4 ATS, with a pair of two-point losses to New Year’s Six competitors Clemson and Stanford. Few connected to coach Brian Kelly’s Fighting Irish need to be told the team is 0-7 SU in its last seven January games, as well as 0-3 SU and ATS in its last three outings against Ohio State.
The big hypothetical for Notre Dame is whether the defense that gives up 4.5 yards per carry can stop Buckeyes rushers such as RB Ezekiel Elliott.
Both FS Max Redfield (violation of team rules) and CB Devin Butler (foot) will not play, which could hamper the Fighting Irish’s pass coverage. Their run defense could get beefed up if NT Jarron Jones is at full effectiveness in his return from knee surgery.
Offensively, QB DeShone Kizer and WR William Fuller are a potent passing combo. Senior LT Ronnie Stanley will be primarily responsible for tying up Ohio State star DE Joey Bosa. Feature RB C.J. Prosise (ankle) could be cleared to play.
Ohio State is 11-1 SU and 5-7 ATS, as well as 5-2 ATS in its last seven bowl games. Bosa will not have starting DT Tommy Schutt (broken foot) alongside him to draw away Notre Dame blockers, but is working against an opponent that has allowed 22 sacks. The Buckeyes, who are 18-1 SU in their last 19 games, can also use cover CB Eli Apple to contain Fuller.
The Buckeyes offense has been sporadic and QB JT Barrett could give way to Cardale Jones, who started during Ohio State’s victorious 2014 College Football Playoff run. Ezekiel Elliott has exceeded 100 yards in 11 of 12 games while working with a three-senior offensive line that will try to impose its will on the Irish front seven.
The total for Friday’s Notre Dame vs. Ohio State betting matchup is set at 57 points at the sportsbooks. The total has gone OVER in four of the last five Fiesta Bowls. The total has gone OVER in five of Notre Dame’s last six games after a loss. The total has gone UNDER in five of Ohio State’s last six games.
The OddsShark Computer is projecting a 39.4-30.7 Ohio State victory.