Cincinnati Bearcats vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Preview: Can Cincinnati Make the Most of Its Moment in the Sun in South Bend?

Matt Wiesenfeld

Is today the day that Cincinnati takes a leap from pretender to College Football Playoff contender? It’s not a stretch to call their showdown with Notre Dame the biggest game in their history. With a win, the Bearcats would have a clear path to an undefeated season, and that could bring a place in the CFP and all that glitz, glamour, and riches that come with an invitation to the party.

Notre Dame might be a bit overvalued coming into this matchup thanks to an extraordinary 31-point fourth quarter against Wisconsin. The number next to their name is in single digits now.

Cincinnati might have hoped that they would be in line for consecutive road wins against highly-ranked teams, but Indiana’s season hasn’t quite gone as expected. Still, if they emerge victorious from their two trips to Indiana, they will be poised for a run at history.

Cincinnati Bearcats (3-0) vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4-0), NBC, 2:30 p.m. ET

Cincinnati Bearcats vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish College Football Betting Odds


  • Cincinnati Bearcats -124
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish +102


  • OVER 50.5 (-106)
  • UNDER 50.5 (-114)


  • Cincinnati Bearcats -2.5 (-102)
  • Notre Dame Fighting Irish +2.5 (-120)

Cincinnati Bearcats vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish college football betting odds are via FanDuel Sportsbook as of Saturday, October 2, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. ET.

Cincinnati Bearcats vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Outlook

If the Bearcats are going to have a special season they have to win this game. Even that might not be enough to put them in the CFP even with an undefeated record, but we know they have no chance without it. If you think they have a chance the oddsmakers agree with you as they are a small favorite in South Bend. This team is consistent on offense thanks to experienced quarterback Desmond Ridder, a dual-threat talent. Running back Jerome Ford is averaging exactly 100 yards per game and has six rushing touchdowns.

Cincinnati was off last week, which gives them a chance to be nice and fresh for this one. The offense can move the ball and put up points, and the defense remains tough, even after losing defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman to Notre Dame. Coach Luke Fickell is a defense guy and there was no reason to expect the unit to slide. Cincinnati has not faced any top offenses yet and won’t in this game either. The strength of that group is a big reason the Bearcats are favored.

Warning: Irish Are Not As Good As They Appear

A 41-13 win over Wisconsin in a marquee game is a nice boon for the Irish. Still, it was not a shock that they are underdogs at home the following week. The offense has not been what we thought it would be this season, and it is not all on quarterback Jack Coan. The offensive line is just not up to the standard you expect from Notre Dame. With that being the case, they are only averaging 80 yards per game on the ground. And this is not an offense that is built to pick apart defenses through the air.

Defensively, the Irish appear to be getting more comfortable with Freeman’s style. Kyle Hamilton is a stud at safety and already has three interceptions. They scored two defensive TDs late against the Badgers to break that game open, which shows some great opportunism. They are going to need that again against Cincinnati, as they are not special enough to just line up and overpower the Bearcats.

College Football Betting Trends to Consider for Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Cincinnati is 5-1 ATS in their last six road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
  • The Bearcats are 4-1 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
  • The Bearcats are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
  • Notre Dame is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as a home underdog.
  • The Fighting Irish are 4-1 ATS in their last five games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • The Fighting Irish are 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. AAC opponents.

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Best Bet

Cincinnati -1.5

I have to admit I have some bias against Notre Dame, they are just one of those teams I love to see struggle. Nevertheless, a loss this weekend will not be an upset according to the lines. Cincinnati is much better at the most important position on the field, and I expect Ridder to make the plays that give the Bearcats the win they need.

This will be a hard-fought game and we will have to endure all the comments about the Freeman matching up against his former team and what that means. Usually the top dogs fare well against their disciples, so I am not expecting any real advantage there for the Irish. This will be a well-played game.

College Football Score Prediction: Cincinnati vs Notre Dame

Cincinnati 27, Notre Dame 17

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