The other day, after the Irish opened as double-digit underdogs to Georgia, Pete Sampson of the Athletic brought up an interesting piece of gambling trivia regarding Notre Dame as double-digit underdogs in the last 20 years. I’ll leave y’all to answer that question as the research that I wanted to dig into was specifically the Brain Kelly Era.
Here’s the site that helped on this quest because I believe in showing my work and my resources (and let’s be honest, I’m far too fond of degeneracy). What I found was rather interesting and, dare I say, gave me an irrational amount of hope!
The last time the Irish were a double-digit home dog was in 2009 against Southern Cal in the Charlies Weis Era. Under BK, Notre Dame has never been a double-digit dog at home. That’s rather incredible considering some of the train wrecks that we’ve seen *cough*2016*cough*.
The largest spread that ND has faced at home was in BK’s first season against #15 Utah who was a 5.5 point favorite. You may recall this was after the double-whammy of losing to Navy and Tulsa.
Notre Dame won that game 28-3.
On the Road
Notre Dame has been a double-digit dog three times on the road. In those games, they are 2-1 against the spread and 1-2 straight up. Without even looking it up, you probably already knew the sole win was in 2012 at Norman where the Irish were 30-13 victors against #8 Oklahoma.
The cover, but loss came against #8 Stanford in 2013. The #25 Irish were 16-point underdogs, but lost 27-20.
A full boat-race occurred in the 2016 season that we’d all rather forget where an unranked Irish picked up their eight loss of the season as 17.5-point dogs against #12 Southern Cal. That dumpster fire ended 45-27.
If you’re looking for some hope this Saturday, these numbers should excite you. Against SC and Stanford, Notre Dame were dogs by more than two TDs. As double-digit dogs, but less than two TDs, they won. As of this writing, Notre Dame is teetering on this edge as a 14-point dog.
Remember, more than two TDs is the danger zone!
Another interesting anomaly about the OU game is that the Irish were double digit dogs while ranked in the top ten. OU was also ranked in the top ten.
I’m noticing a trend…
Not only were the other double-digit dog ND teams either an unranked dumpster fire or just barely on the edge of the top 25, both games were played in November to close the season. OU was played in October.
Therefore, double-digit spreads are only really dangerous towards the end of the season (or the post-season if you really want to terrify and remind yourself that ND found themselves as 10.5-point dogs to Clemson in the Cotton Bowl and 10-point dogs to Alabama in the 2012 National Title–but why do that to yourself?!).
So, a non-November, regular season, top ten ranked, facing a top ten opponent, double-digit-dog-by-not-by-more-than-two-TDs Notre Dame is clearly the magic recipe for the Vegas upset. In other words…