Notre Dame Miami Spread Line and Sun Bowl Predictions

This year’s Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX on Friday December 31 (2:00pm ET) will feature the independent Fighting Irish of Notre Dame (7-5) squaring off against the Miami Hurricanes (7-5) from the ACC. Miami and Notre Dame will be meeting for the first time since 1990, when the Irish won 29-20. The two teams split four meetings from 1987-1990 in the memorable “Catholics vs. Convicts” games when both teams were competing for the National Title. Notre Dame leads the series 15-7-1. Interim Head Coach Jeff Stoutland will be calling the shots for Miami as the Hurricanes fired Randy Shannon and will be bringing in Al golden from Temple next season.

The Fighting Irish will be without starting quarterback Dane Crist, true freshman Tommy Rees who has filled in admirably going 3-1 in the last four games with wins over Utah and USC, will get the start in this game. Rees has completed 63% of his passes for 905 yards, but he threw three interceptions against both USC and Tulsa and he will need to avoid costly turnovers against Miami. Notre Dame does not run the ball well out of Coach Brian Kelly’s spread-option offense, averaging only 122.8 yards per game, 97th in the nation, so Rees will need to carry the load against Miami. Defensively the Irish allow 20.5 points per game, but have only allowed 233.3 yards per game during their three-game winning streak to close the regular season after allowing 393.1 yards per contest prior to that.

Miami is uncertain who will start at quarterback Jacory Harris, who started for most of the season, or Stephen Morris who saw extensive playing time late in the season when Harris missed time with concussion issues. Both quarterbacks had issues protecting the football, with Harris throwing for 14 TDs with 12 INTs and Morris throwing for 5 TDs with 8 INTs. Whoever gets the start will be looking for receiver Leonard Hankerson, who set a school record with 12 TD receptions this season. The Hurricane defense ranks second in the nation in pass defense with an average of 146.3 YPG allowed. They rank 18th in total defense with 313.7 YPG allowed and 21st in points allowed with 19.7 per game.

The Hurricanes are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games in December and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite. Notre Dame is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games as an underdog and 1-6 AST in their last 7 bowl games. The under is 9-1 in Notre Dame’s last 10 games against the ACC and 16-7 in their last 23 games as an underdog. The under is 6-2 in the Hurricanes’ last 8 bowl games as a favorite and 39-16 in their last 55 non-conference games.

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Notre Dame vs. Miami Spread, Line and Betting Odds:

Spread:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish +3
@ Miami Hurricanes -3

Game Total:

Over 47 (-110)
Under 47 (-110)

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Notre Dame vs. Miami Prediction for Sun Bowl:

Spread Prediction (Top Play) – The Fighting Irish look like the smart play at +3 in this game. Miami has issues at the most pivotal position, quarterback, and an interim head coach who is an unknown quantity. The Hurricanes propensity to turn the ball over has hurt them all season, and shoddy play at the QB position hurt them down the stretch in back-to-back losses to Virginia Tech and South Florida to end the season. Note Dame comes in on a roll, having beaten quality teams at the end of the season and shoring up their defense in the process. The momentum, and most likely the game should be with the Irish.

PREDICTION (TOP PLAY) – Notre Dame +3

Over/Under Prediction – Take the under here with conservative play and hard-hitting defense likely to be the order of the day. Miami has shown a tenacious defense all year long, and with the Hurricanes ability to rush the passer (37 sacks) and defend the pass points will be tough to come by for Notre Dame. Conversely, the Irish’s improved play on defense should make this a relatively low-scoring affair down in El Paso.

PREDICTION – Under 47