Oregon State vs. Notre Dame prediction: Sun Bowl odds, pick, best bet
Oregon State and Notre Dame head to El Paso, Texas, for the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, though this could easily be renamed the opt-out bowl.
A plethora of opt-outs from each team as well as some significant coaching changes makes this game incredibly tough to handicap, but betting on bowls is always fun, so lets make a pick anyway.
Notre Dame is going to be down eight offensive starters and Oregon States top two quarterbacks entered the transfer portal.
In a game with a low total, where points could be limited, Ill take the side getting almost a touchdown.
So, Im betting Oregon State +6.5.
The Beavers got off to an impressive 8-2 start but lost their final two games to Washington and Oregon.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame won four of its final five games to finish the regular season 9-3.
We can look at regular-season stats and metrics if we want, but theyre not all that relevant given the obscene amount of starters not playing, coaching changes and transfer-portal activity in this game.
Not only is the bulk of Notre Dames starting offense sitting this one out, but OC Gerad Parker has also left after taking the head-coaching job at Troy.
Sophomore QB Steve Angeli, who appeared in six games this season, is slated to make his first career start for the Fighting Irish.
Steve Angeli will start for Notre Dame. Getty ImagesThe former three-star recruit saw a decent amount of playing time this season (19-of-25 for 272 yards, four touchdowns, one interception), but this will be his first start and he wont have the usual cast of playmakers at his disposal.
Thats not an ideal situation.
Of course, Oregon State isnt in an optimal spot either though I do feel the Beavers have a quarterback advantage.
Sophomore Ben Gulbranson only threw one pass this season as he was third on the depth chart, but he did play in 10 games (eight starts) in 2022.
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In fact, he was named MVP in last seasons Las Vegas Bowl.
Not many teams have a third-string quarterback with that much experience, and that should help the Beavers here.
Oregon State will certainly need Gulbransons leadership and experience because itll be without head coach Jonathan Smith, who took the Michigan State job, and defensive coordinator Trent Bray, who has been promoted to head coach but will miss the bowl game as he prepares for the 2024 campaign.
The absence of running back Damien Martinez is also a massive loss for the Beavers, as he rushed for nearly 1,200 yards this season and averaged a little more than six yards per carry.
Like the Fighting Irish, the Beavers will also be without a few starters on the offensive line.
On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame has opt-outs on every level of the defense.
Oregon State will also be without a few defensive starters, including linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold, the teams leading tackler.
Neither of these teams is likely to resemble what we saw in the regular season, but Oregon State has the more experienced quarterback and is catching points.
Without a ton of conviction, give me the Beavers.
Bet: Oregon State +6.5 (-115, BetMGM)
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