NCAA Football: Toledo Rockets vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/11/2021

by James Q

NCAA Football:  Toledo Rockets vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish Prediction, Odds and Preview - 09/11/2021

Game Time: 2:30 pm ET, Saturday, Sept 11th, 2021
Venue:  Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
Where to Watch:  Peacock (streaming service) 


Opening NCAAF Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings:  Spread:  Notre Dame -16.5; Over/Under:  53.5 points
BetMGM:  Spread: Notre Dame -16.5; Over/Under: 54 points
PointsBet:  Spread:  Notre Dame -16.5; Over/Under:  53.5 points

Season Record

Toledo:  1-0 (Mac West) 
Notre Dame:  1-0  (Independant) 

Toledo had a big win over Norfolk State 49-10.  Norfolk state isn’t a powerhouse by any means, but it was a solid way to kickoff the college football season.    Notre Dame had a close call in game 1.  They beat the Florida State Seminoles 41-38.  Notre Dame has an exclusive contract for home games through NBC but NBC must not think much of the home opener against Toledo since they are dumping the game onto their Peacock streaming service.  They will probably air something fun like an infomercial for cookware or an extreme vert ramp skateboarding competition where every kid falls ten times before hitting a trick.

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Toledo Rockets vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish Preview and Analysis

Recent Form
Toledo had a game scheduled against Michigan State on September 19th, which was canceled due to the pandemic.  On August 8, 2020, the Mid-American Conference announced a cancellation of the fall football season, citing health and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  So, they ended up trying to play in the Spring.  The result was a 4-2 record in the MAC.  Toledo realizes they are the appetizer to the next game on the Notre Dame football schedule against the Purdue Boilermakers.  They also realize this is a road game.  They also realize they are bump on the calendar underdog.
Notre Dame played a full Atlantic Coast Conference schedule during the covid restrictions of 2020.  Locked out of playing the power five schools, Notre Dame went 10-2 in 2020, 9-0 in the ACC.  They ended up being ranked 4th in the College Football Playoff rankings. Notre Dame lost to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Rose Bowl 14 - 31.  Alabama would go on to win the National Championship Game.  Notre Dame’s other loss was to Clemson in the regular-season conference title game.  The Irish schedule won’t be as easy this year.  This is a Notre Dame football team that wants more but may not get it.

Offensive Analysis

Toledo scored 2 touchdowns off of blocked punts in the first half of their 49-10 win over Norfolk State.  They will not block a single punt against Notre Dame.  The rest of the offense was Toledo’s QB Carter Bradley ( son of Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley) , passing 8-11 for 184 yards and 1 TD.  Then they split time at QB with Dequan Finn who passed for 38 yards and rushed for 82 yards and 1 TD.  Then when it was a confirmed blowout they snuck in Tucker Gleason at QB for 1 pass for 15 yards.  Tucker and Dequan won’t play QB against Notre Dame unless Carter gets hurt or they are being lapped by the pace car.

Head coach Brian Kelly won’t be fooled by the Notre Dame odds in this one.  He will have the offense prepared and clicking when they host Toledo. Wisconsin transfer Quarterback Jack Coan was 26-35 against Florida State for 365 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception barely getting the overtime win.  Deep breath.  On to the easy wins for now.

Defensive Analysis

Toledo’s defense will be in for a long day. LB Joanthan Jones and LB Jamal Hines led the team with 7 tackles a piece in the opener.  They will need more help against Notre Dame.  A DE or S or CB is going to have to have a big game to beat the spread.
Notre Dame defense struggled to put FSU away.  LB JD Bertrand had 11 tackles… DL Jason Ademilola and DL Justin Ademilola combined on a sack, getting ½ a sack for each of them.  I’m betting that is not the first thing they have ever shared.  This opponent shouldn’t be as taxing but they can’t relax.  It would be hard to come out of Sep with a loss this big and bad… especially with big games coming up on their slate… USC, North Carolina, Navy, Georgia Tech (though they should be a cake-walk).  The starters will want to get it done in front of the home fans. 


Toledo vs Notre Dame Prediction

This is a David vs Goliath scenario.  It should be a long day for Toledo and if it isn’t Notre Dame can only leave with egg on their face.  For bettors this an easy prediction.  The Irish are at home with fans against a smaller program who is starting a sophomore quarterback and has a soft offensive line.
Our prediction for Saturday, September 11th is….   Notre Dame 48 -  Toledo 10
Notre Dame with the spread and the Over.  Bet it. ( I don't usually say that… “bet it”... it sounds so certain ) 
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NCAAF Betting Trends

The total has gone Over in 9 of Toledos last 13 games.

The total has gone Over in 5 of Toledos last 6 games on the road.
Toledo is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games.
Notre Dame is 20-0 su in their last 20 games at home.
The total has gone Over in 6 of Notre Dames last 9 games played in September.
Notre Dame is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games played on a Saturday when playing at home.

Key Injuries

Toledo:  N/A
Notre Dame:  N/A

Players to Watch
Toledo:  Bradley Carter: This kid needs to step it up and start playing like an actual college quarterback.  I know he’s an RS SO… but still the stat line has to get stronger as the son of a coach who will be tied to football through nepotism forever.
Notre Dame:  Kevin Austin:  Kevin was suspended for all of 2019 due to an unspecified issue. Then we had the shortened Covid mess.  If the senior wants to leave any mark at all on this school’s history he will need a big season.  It's like that.

Notable Quotes

 “The Rockets are coming off a convincing 49-10 victory over Norfolk State in the Glass Bowl on Sept. 4. Toledo used all three phases of the game to win its season opener.”  - The Toledo University website.  Not all of that sentence is true about the three phases.
"I'm in favor of execution. Maybe our entire team needs to be executed after tonight. We just didn't execute very well," ND’s Head Coach Brian Kelly told to ABC’s Katie George.   (Someone should tell coach Notre Dame is a Catholic University and the Vatican is decidedly anti-execution… I know he was joking but ughh)

Starting Lineups

QB Bardley Carter
RB  Bryant Koback
WR Danzel McKinley-Lewis
WR  Bryce Mitchell
WR  Devin Maddox
TE  Drew Rosi
Notre Dame
QB  Jack Coan
RB  Kyren Williams
WR  Kevin Austin Jr
WR  Branden Lanzy
WR  Avery Davis
TE  Michael Mayer

Statistical Leaders

Passing:  QB Carter Bradley 183 yards
Rushing:  RB  Dequan Finn   82 yards
Receiving:  Devin Maddox  91 yards
Notre Dame:
Passing:  QB Jack Coan 366 yards
Rushing:  RB Kyren Williams 42 yards
Receiving:  TE Michael Mayer  120 yards
Toledo:  Jason Candle (let the bad puns start with “light the way”
Notre Dame:  Brian Kelly - he’ll be here all week folks.

Weather Forecast

Partly Cloudy, 83*, wind 16 mph.  

James Q

About the Author:

James Q. has been involved with sports and gambling his entire life. A former division 1 scholarship basketball player, James understands sports (and especially basketball) inside-and-out. Following his basketball playing days, James parlayed his gambling skills into a semi-pro poker career. James resides in Los Angeles, and especially loves the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Dodgers. And when he isn't betting on sports (and writing about it), James can be found performing stand-up comedy on the Sunset Strip.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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