Cincinnati vs Notre Dame Predictions NCAAF Week 5 – College Football Pick of the Day

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2021

On Saturday afternoon in the most consequential matchup of the week, Notre Dame hosts Cincinnati.

Both Cincy and ND are ranked in the top 10 in the latest AP Top 25 poll. The Bearcats are ranked at No. 7, while the Fighting Irish come in at No. 9.

The winner of Saturday’s game is likely to be vaulted into the conversation as one of the four teams that qualifies for the College Football Playoff at the end of the season.

Cincinnati, as a Group of Five program in the American Athletic Conference, needs to win Saturday to make the playoff, given its weaker schedule.

Notre Dame must win to make the College Football Playoff conversation because, as an independent, they don’t have the benefit of playing in a conference championship.

Both teams are undefeated, and both have already beaten strong teams that were in the preseason AP Top 25. Cincinnati beat Indiana in their last game, while Notre Dame pummeled Wisconsin last week.

Cincinnati went 9-1 last season, with their only loss being a 24-21 defeat against Georgia in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. In 2020, Notre Dame made the College Football Playoff after beating Clemson during the regular season.

The question for Saturday’s matchup is who can win what is expected to be a low-scoring game, Cincinnati or Notre Dame?

Below, I go over how I think the game will go and my favorite bets.

Best Bet: Notre Dame Moneyline (+115) at PointsBet

For in-depth analysis of this CFB bet of the day and others, continue reading.

Sportsbook Play of the Day

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Read Chris Wassel’s Caesars Sportsbook review for more insight and get your welcome bonus below, or continue reading this analysis for our best Cincinnati vs Notre Dame tipster picks.

Cincinnati vs Notre Dame Prediction

Stylistically, Cincinnati and Notre Dame are very similar. Both teams have strong defenses and middling offenses. However, Cincy is allowing only 19 points per game, while ND is giving up 23.2.

Even though both Notre Dame and Cincinnati rank in the top 30 of FBS teams in scoring, if you look more closely at the games in which they score many points, it was either against weak teams (Miami-Ohio, Murray State, and Toledo) or by luck (special teams and defensive touchdowns).

In my opinion, the winner of this week’s game will win by fewer than two touchdowns.

Another thing that both teams have in common is strong coaching. The Bearcats are arguably the best Group of Five school right now, and part of the reason why is because of head coach Luke Fickell.

Cincy’s only loss since last year was in the aforementioned Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. With Cincinnati recently invited to the Big 12, Saturday’s game is a perfect opportunity for them to become a national powerhouse.

Notre Dame is in good hands under head coach Brian Kelly, who became the winningest coach in the school’s history last weekend. Quietly, Kelly has been one of the best coaches over the last decade, as Notre Dame is almost always a ranked program.

The Bearcats are going to look to establish a short passing attack and a strong running game. Notre Dame is going to look to establish a strong passing game under either regular starting quarterback Jack Coan or one of his two backups.

However, the tenuous nature of the Fighting Irish’s QB situation shouldn’t scare you from betting on them, as they were able to close well last week against Wisconsin with third-string quarterback Drew Pyne.

Prediction: Notre Dame 24, Cincinnati 17

Brian Kelly, Notre Dame

Brian Kelly coached the Fighting Irish to a convincing victory over the Wisconsin Badgers in Week 4 (Image: USA TODAY Sports).

Cincinnati vs. Notre Dame Best Bets

Best Bet: Notre Dame Moneyline (+115) at PointsBet

Wager: 1 Unit

Before the season started, Notre Dame was set as a 3.5-point favorite by DraftKings against Cincinnati. After Notre Dame beat Wisconsin, I do not see how their chances of winning should be downgraded from their preseason projections.

Cincy is a strong team, but on the road against a strong Notre Dame team, they should lose a close, low-scoring game. Even with the QB situation with the Fighting Irish, I have faith in Kelly’s ability to coach them to victory.

Best Bet: Under 51 Points (-110) at DraftKings

Wager: 1 Unit

51 points is a low total for college football, but it still isn’t low enough for Saturday’s Cincy/ND game.

Football bettors who took the Under in last week’s Notre Dame/Wisconsin game cringed as the total went Over. With a total of only 44 points, the score was tied at 10 at the end of the third quarter.

Then hell froze over, as the Fighting Irish scored 31 points in the fourth quarter from a field goal, a kickoff return TD, a passing TD to Kevin Austin (whose name sounds like Kevin’s awesome), and two interception returns.

Last week’s Notre Dame game only went Over because of variance, and we should see a low scoring game on Saturday. Cincinnati has a strong defense and a conservative offense.

As a result, 51 points as a total seems a tad too high for Saturday’s game.

Thanks for reading our CFB Week 5 Cincinnati vs. Notre Dame Predictions! Also check out our CFB Week 5 Best Bets and CFB Week 5 Power Rankings.


Kevin Davis

Kevin Davis is a Betting Analyst at The Game Day residing in Hoboken, NJ. Previously a Bronx resident, Kevin got his start betting on sports at his local Bronx barbershop. When sports betting was legalized across the river in Jersey, Kevin was there on the ground floor making regular trips to the Hoboken PATH station or for soup dumplings in Fort Lee. Previously, Kevin has written for The Action Network, and Vegas Insider.

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