Fiesta Bowl Preview and Prediction


The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Oklahoma State Cowboys meet in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day. These two teams enter the postseason following very successful regular season performances. The Cowboys were an inch away from making their first ever College Football Playoff appearance, but were stopped just short of the goal line on the final play of the Big XII Championship Game to fall to Baylor, 21-16. They closed out the year at 11-2. The Fighting Irish come into the matchup at 11-1, having won each of their last seven contests. The lone loss on the season was a 24-13 defeat at the hands of undefeated Cincinnati. Notre Dame has been a college football best bet since that loss, winning six of their final seven games by double digits.


Notre Dame vs. Oklahoma State

Date and Time: January 1, 2022 at 1:00 PM ET
Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Opening Odds: Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-1.5)
Fighting Irish vs. Cowboys TV Coverage: ESPN

All odds courtesy of SugarHouse online sportsbook.


Fiesta Bowl Preview

Both of these teams win with solid offense and dominant defense. Oklahoma State ranks third in the country and first in the Big XII in yards allowed. They also ranked eighth in the nation in points allowed per game while Notre Dame was a spot behind the Cowboys, coming in with the ninth-best rating in the category.

Oklahoma State allowed more than 24 points just once this season and that was in the regular season finale against archrival Oklahoma. The Fighting Irish, on the other hand, held seven of their 12 foes to less than 17 points. They were, however, vulnerable at times, surrendering more than 28 points to Florida State, Toledo, Virginia Tech, and North Carolina. Can Oklahoma State find a way to break through this unit?

Their best chance may be on the ground, where Notre Dame allows 127 yards per contest. Oklahoma State boasts an 1,100-yard rusher in senior Jaylen Warren and they average 181 yards a night in the rushing department.

In the passing attack, the Cowboys have been a bit less consistent. Quarterback Spencer Sanders finished just shy of a 2,500-yard season but he has a tendency to give the ball away, as reference by his 16:12 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Notre Dame has been a bit better, as they post an average of 35 points per matchup. The Irish possess a top 40 passing offense but they’ll have to get by a Cowboy defense that holds top 10 status both against the run and the pass. Who will come out on top in this postseason matchup?


Betting Trends

Notre Dame has been a bettor’s dream this season, finishing 9-3 against the spread. That includes beating the Vegas betting lines in nine of their final 10 games. They’re also 7-2 as a betting favorite.

The Cowboys finished 9-4 against the spread but failed to cover in each of their last two matchups. They were, however, 3-0 as a betting underdog with three outright wins. They’ll look to keep that streak alive versus the Irish on New Year’s Day.

The point totals have been a little less predictable. The over is 6-6 in Notre Dame games, while it’s just 4-9 for the Cowboys. Points could be tough to come by and Vegas is taking note. The over/under is set at just 45.5 points, the lowest total for either team this season.


Fiesta Bowl Prediction

These two teams seem relatively close in both talent and production. Oklahoma State will look to control the game with a strong rushing attack and solid defense. Notre Dame will hope to find holes in the secondary and create some big plays in the pass game.

Either way, we expect this one to remain pretty competitive throughout. The point total seems about right so we’ll stay away. The spread, though, may have some value.

Notre Dame has been absolutely rolling of late, ending the year with seven straight covers. The Cowboys may enter this matchup a bit disappointed having been so close to a conference championship. Oklahoma State has been dominant on defense, but look for the Irish to have some success moving the ball with their balanced attack.

Notre Dame will lock in on stopping the Oklahoma State rushing game and force the Cowboys to move it through the air. The Fighting Irish hold the advantage on offense and they’ll use that to pull away late and leave with a win.

Back the Irish to cover the 1.5-point spread.

NCAAF Pick: Notre Dame (-1.5)