Its the Music City Bowl and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will take on the LSU Tigers at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. The game has a start time of 3:00 pm (Eastern) and will be televised on ESPN. Current Vegas odds have the Tigers listed as 7.5 point favorites, while the total is set at 52.5.
Analysis: The Fighting Irish spent much of the first half of the year mired in talk as a possible participant in the 4 team playoff, but a loss to Arizona State ended that talk and that started their 4 game slide to end the year. The Irish now stand at 7-5 on the year. The Irish are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 bowl games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games following a SU loss of more than 20 points. The Irish have been a good offensive team this year, ranking 34th in yards, 16th in passing, 84th in rushing and 39th in scoring (33.0 ppg). The defense for the Irish has not been that good this year, ranking 71st in yards allowed, 87th vs the pass, 64th vs the run and 86th in points allowed (29.2 ppg).
The LSU Tigers Finished the year losing 2 of their last 3 games, but still overall they had a nice year, in which they went 8-4 overall and 4-4 in the SEC. LSU is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games in December, but just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 bowl games. The Tigers have been a below average offensive squad this year, ranking 83rd in total yards, 116th in passing, 29th in rushing and 74th in scoring (27.6 ppg). The defense for LSU is one of the very best in the nation, ranking 8th in yards allowed, 4th vs the pass, 39th vs the run and 3rd in points allowed (16.4 ppg).
Pick: I will be looking at the Under in this game. The Irish offense has been solid this year, but they are benching Golson for this one and that means they should struggle to score vs a very tough LSU defense that is 3rd in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 16.4 ppg. The Irish defense has really struggled down the stretch, but they will be facing a QB that has struggled for the most part this year for the Tigers in Anthony Jennings. His struggles have meant that the Tigers have relied more on running the ball with Leonard Fournette and that means the clocks shock just tick away. I also expect that struggling Irish defense to have a good showing thanks to the extra prep time. I do not see this game as a shutout, especially since only one team has a shot at 24 or more points in this one. 24-17 sounds about right for this game.
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