The No. 7 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-1 SU, 5-7 ATS) won’t get to defend their National Championship, but they do get to play in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day. Their opponents: the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS). Kick-off from the University of Phoenix Stadium is at 1 PM ET on ESPN. Notre Dame is a 6.5-point underdog, and the total is 57 as we go to press.
The Buckeyes are widely expected to win this game. Sports-Reference has them valued roughly five points higher than the Fighting Irish using the Simple Rating System, and OSU head coach Urban Meyer is 9-2 in bowl games, while Notre Dame counterpart Brian Kelly is 4-4. However, the Irish should have betting value as the underdogs facing the former champions.
Ohio State will go into Friday’s contest without a pair of defensive tackles. Adolphus Washington was suspended after getting caught in a vice-squad sting operation, while Tommy Schutt is out with a broken foot. Notre Dame is sixth in the FBS in rushing at 5.8 yards per carry, powered by the trio of CJ Prosise, Josh Adams, and quarterback DeShone Kizer. They’ve run for 25 touchdowns combined this season.