The Sun Bowl odds present a battle of teams going through transitions. The Oregon State Beavers face a transition at the head coaching spot, with Jonathan Smith moving to Michigan State to coach the Spartans. This leaves defensive coordinator Trent Bray as the new head coach who will lead the Beavers in El Paso against Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish have a few NFL-level prospects who have opted out for this game and will not play, most notably their elite offensive lineman Joe Alt. However, they also received good news when they learned that underachieving offensive coordinator Gerad Parker left to take the open head coaching job at Troy University. Notre Dame was then able to hire LSU offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, who worked for former Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly in Baton Rouge.
Both teams will be eager to play this game but won’t have their full complement of players. Notably, neither team will have its starting quarterback. That makes this tricky. Let’s take a look at the betting strategy in this one.
Oregon State Beavers vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Date: Friday, December 29th, 2023 – 2:10 PM ET
Location: Sun Bowl Stadium, El Paso, TX
Sun Bowl Odds: Notre Dame -6.5
Oregon State Beavers
Oregon State starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei is in the transfer portal. He will not play in this game. Oregon State tight end Jake Overman, cornerback Jermod McCory, linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold, and safety Akili Arnold are also in the transfer portal and will not play in this game.
The players not playing for Oregon State in this game are the Beavers’ most important players. Just in case you’re wondering, Oregon State’s backup quarterback behind D.J. Uiagalelei, Aidan Chiles, also followed head coach Jonathan Smith to Michigan State, so the Beavers are really shorthanded at the quarterback spot in this game. Not having the Arnold brothers – Easton at linebacker, Akili at safety – is a real loss for this team.
If Oregon State does win this game, it will have to happen on defense. Trent Bray is a very smart defensive strategist. His Oregon State players love him and wanted him to be the coach when Jonathan Smith left for Michigan State. The OSU defense will be really fired up and ready to play. Oregon State’s offense will be very limited for this game, and it won’t have Jonathan Smith’s play-calling expertise and experience, either.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame receiver Tobias Merriweather, tight end Holden Staes, receiver Rico Flores, offensive lineman Joey Tanona, receiver Braylon James, safety Ramon Henderson, defensive lineman Aidan Keanaaina, offensive lineman Zeke Carrell, receiver Chris Tyree, and defensive end Nana Osafo-Mensah are in the transfer portal and will not play in this game.
Starting quarterback Sam Hartman, linebacker Marist Liufau, offensive tackle Joe Alt, and running back Audric Estime are opting out and preparing for the NFL draft. They will not play in this game.
Notre Dame’s opt-outs and transfers are significant players, as is the case for Oregon State, but Oregon State is missing its top two quarterbacks. Notre Dame is missing only its starter but will have its number two quarterback for this game. That might make the difference.
Oregon State vs. Notre Dame Prediction:
Notre Dame 16, Oregon State 6
*Odds provided by BetOnline. For more, check out the BetOnline review.