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College Football Betting — Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia Cavaliers Athletics

QB Armstrong a Big Question For Virginia Cavaliers against Notre Dame

By Charles Jay

The inclusion of the rankings for the four-team playoff has added a little something to the subtext around college football betting for this weekend. Why don’t we go ahead and take a quick look at one of the games that are on tap, for the benefit of BetOnline patrons.

College Football Betting — Notre Dame at Virginia, 7:30 PM ET

Odds:  Notre Dame -7.5 / Total 63 (Over -105, Under -115)

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Notre Dame is still sitting with a chance to get into the four-team playoff, with only one defeat. The problem for them is that the defeat came at home, and at the hands of Cincinnati, which is ranked four spots ahead of them in the CFP (College Football Playoff) rankings and plays in a conference that may not offer a major challenge in the title game. So it’s an uphill battle.

And now here comes Virginia, which flexes its muscles offensivel;y, averaging 80 plays (sixth nationally) and 545 yards (1st) per game. It’s pretty hard to stop QB Brennan Armstrong, who’s got 27 TD’s and averages 401 passing yards. And then you’ve got Notre Dame, which has yielded 231 yards through the air on average (only 63rd).

College Football Betting — Virginia’s QB may not go

The wild card here is that Armstrong, who has a rib injury, may be an “iffy” call for Saturday night’s game. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall has indicated that something definitive may not be known until shortly before kickoff. If Armstrong can’t go, they have smallish (5-11, 185) freshman Jay Woolfolk ready to play. And they have expressed all the confidence in him, etc., etc. Just keep in mind that Armstrong is also the Cavaliers’ leading rusher (271 yards).

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College Football Betting — Notre Dame mild-mannered on attack end

The Irish are not blowing anyone’s doors off on offense. Jack Coan has had two games this season where he’s thrown for more than 239 yards, and the ground game has averaged 3.7 ypc. So the upset would be possible, under certain circumstances; i.e., Armstrong’s availability.

College Football Betting — Cavs’ defense is invisible

But Virginia’s defense turns ordinary offenses into superheroes. They are coming off an effort where they scored 49 points and still lost by 17, as BYU rambled for 734 yards. It’s a tremendous statement when you lead the nation in yardage, yet are STILL almost outgained by opponents. The Cavs are surrendering 501 yards a game, which indicates there’s something Mendenhall isn’t doing right when constructing this scheme.

If Virginia had a real defense, and a better record, Armstrong would be a Heisman Trophy candidate. So his absence would be very significant on many levels. When you are running an offense that operates at a swift pace, you just can’t plug and play anybody in there and expect the same kind of rhythm. Protection is different too; Armstrong is a southpaw. And Notre Dame hasn’t been bad at sacking the quarterback.

College Football Betting — Our conclusion…. sort of

Mendenhall has said in press conferences that he expects to see Armstrong out there as his team’s quarterback. But the upward movement of this line indicates the oddsmaker doesn’t exhibit the same level of expectation. If Armstrong is able to play, we’d be looking at an “over” bet for sure, but that wouldn’t be something we’d find a whole lot of interest in with the freshman.

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