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Notre Dame vs. Oregon State: Picks, best bets for Sun Bowl in El Paso on Friday

The Fighting Irish and Beavers meet in El Paso’s biggest annual event. Notre Dame enters the matchup as the favorite.

Notre Dame v Stanford Photo by Brandon Sloter/Image Of Sport/Getty Images

The 2023 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl will take place this afternoon as the No. 19 Oregon State Beavers will battle the No. 16 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, TX. This game will kick off at 2 p.m. ET and will air on CBS.

Oregon State (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12) acquitted itself well during the Pac-12’s final season, winning at least eight games for a second year in a row. The Beavers hung around the league title race late into the year and came up just short of creating chaos in their 22-20 loss to Washington in November. Clemson transfer quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was a nice one-year rental, but has since entered the transfer portal. Head coach Jonathan Smith also departed for Michigan State following the regular season and defensive coordinator Trent Bray was promoted to take his place. Bray will not coach in the bowl gane, leaving receivers coach Kefense Hyndon as the interim for this matchup.

Notre Dame (9-3) had a solid 2023 campaign, but a few setbacks kept it out of College Football Playoff consideration. The team was clipped in the final seconds of a late-September clash against Ohio State and suffered upset losses at the hands of Louisville and Clemson later in the year. Quarterback Sam Hartman, running back Audric Estime, and offensive tackle Joe Alt led a powerful Fighting Irish offense that scored 45+ points in four of their final five games. However, all three have opted out of today’s game, opening the door for backups like sophomore QB Steve Angeli to start.

SP+ Rankings

Notre Dame: 9 overall, 17 offense, 11 defense
Oregon State: 17 overall, 22 offense, 32 defense

List of injuries and players opting out of game

Notre Dame

QB Sam Hartman – Out (Opt Out)
RB Audric Estime – Out (Opt Out)
OT Joe Alt - Out (Opt Out)
WR Rico Flores – Out (Transfer Porta)
WR Braylon James – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR Tobias Merriweather – Out (Transfer Portal)
TE Holden Staes – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR Chris Tyree – Out (Transfer Portal)
WR KK Smith - Probable (Shoulder)
WR Deion Colzie - Probable (Knee)
P Chris Salerno - Probable (Leg)

Oregon State

QB DJ Uiagalelei – Out (Transfer Portal)
QB Aidan Chiles – Out (Transfer Portal)
RB Damien Martinez – Out (Suspension)
WR Anthony Gould – Out (Opt Out)
TE Jake Overman – Out (Transfer Portal)
TE Jack Velling – Out (Transfer Portal)

ATS/Total

Against The Spread in 2023

Notre Dame: 8-3-1 ATS
Oregon State: 6-6 ATS

Total in 2023

Notre Dame: Over 8-4
Oregon State: Over 6-6

Team Pace

Notre Dame: 2.09 plays per minute of offense
Oregon State: 2.06 plays per minute of offense

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Notre Dame -6
Total: 41.5
Moneyline: Notre Dame -225, Oregon State +185

Opening line: Notre Dame -6
Opening total: 42.5

Weather

57 degrees, partly sunny, 5 MPH winds NE

Our Best Bet for the Sun Bowl

Notre Dame ML

It’s hard to prognosticate this matchup considering that both teams are missing vital pieces that carried them throughout the year. However, I trust the overall talent of Notre Dame to prevail in this matchup as this will be a good audition for Angeli and company heading into 2024.