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Dec 31, 2021

Fiesta Bowl Picks, Predictions and Odds: Oklahoma State vs. Notre Dame

Jan. 1, 2022
Jonathan Willis
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

The Fiesta Bowl will see the Oklahoma State Cowboys taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a battle of two Top 10 schools. Opening kick is set for 1:00 p.m. ET and will air on ESPN from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Score Prediction

Oklahoma State 28, Notre Dame 23

Best Bets

Oklahoma State +3 (-120) at Wynn-Vegas

Fiesta Bowl Predictions

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have not had much luck in the desert during bowl season. They won their most recent national championship at the Fiesta Bowl at the end of the 1988 season, but they have been blown out in each of their last four trips to Arizona. Despite those disappointing performances, Notre Dame is a short favorite against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on New Year’s Day.

This will be the first time that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish have faced the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Oklahoma State covered nine straight games after squeaking past FCS Missouri State and Tulsa in their first two games, while Notre Dame covered the number in seven straight games to end the season.

The absence of Brian Kelly and Kyren Williams will be felt for Notre Dame. Oklahoma State won’t have defensive coordinator Jim Knowles as he moved to Ohio State in December, but the Cowboys will be able to create enough offense to win this game.

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Fiesta Bowl Betting Odds

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Fiesta Bowl Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big 12 vs. Independent
  • Date: Saturday, January 1, 2022
  • Venue: State Farm Stadium
  • Location: Glendale, Arizona
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 1:00 p.m. ET

Oklahoma State Cowboys Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 11-2
  • ATS: 9-3-1
  • O/U: 5-8

Spencer Sanders has not developed like Mike Gundy was expecting him to this season. Sanders had his best season as a freshman in 2019, but he has regressed in each of the last two years. He threw 12 interceptions this year, and he averaged just 7.3 YPA. Sanders tossed four interceptions in the Big 12 Championship Game against Baylor, but Oklahoma State still nearly knocked off the Bears.

Leading rusher Jaylen Warren missed the Big 12 Championship Game due to injury. Warren is expected to be a full go for the Fiesta Bowl though, and the time off is just what he needed after being leaned on heavily through the first half of the season. After running for at least 120 yards in four straight games, he only surpassed 100 yards once in the Cowboys’ final six games.

Tay Martin is the top receiver for Oklahoma State. Martin has 70 receptions for 942 yards and seven touchdowns. Brennan Presley is the No. 2 receiver with 40 catches for 482 yards and five touchdowns, but no one else has more than 25 receptions on the Cowboys.

The Cowboys rank 5th in Defensive SP+. Oklahoma State was third nationally in total defense and fifth in run defense this year. Malcolm Rodriguez was an ESPN First Team All-American linebacker, and Brock Martin, Jarrick Bernard-Converse, and Kolby Harvell-Peel were all First Team All-Big 12 selections.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 11-1
  • ATS: 9-3
  • O/U: 6-6

It might not be easy for Notre Dame to move the ball without do-it-all running back Williams. He ran for over 1,000 yards with 14 touchdowns, and Williams was tied for second on the team in receptions. Chris Tyree, Logan Diggs, and Audric Estime are all expected to see time as the feature back, and freshman quarterback Tyler Buchner might see more time in certain sets due to his mobility.

Jack Coan proved to be a more than adequate replacement for Ian Book. The Wisconsin transfer had a few hiccups, but he had some big moments too, keeping Notre Dame from losing to Florida State in its season opener. Coan was sacked 19 times in his first four games behind an inexperienced offensive line, but they have given him more time to throw over the last two months.

Sophomore tight end Michael Mayer is a match-up nightmare with 64 receptions for 768 yards and five touchdowns on the year. Kevin Austin Jr. has been Notre Dame’s big play threat, averaging 18.6 YPR this season.

Notre Dame’s defense won’t have its main playmaker as safety Kyle Hamilton has opted out of the Fiesta Bowl in order to focus on the NFL Draft. Cornerback Cam Hart is questionable to play due to injury, so there are real concerns in the secondary. The defensive line should be solid though as Isaiah Foskey had 10 sacks, and the interior line play has been good.

Inside the Stats - Oklahoma State Cowboys

  • Record: 11-2
  • VI Ranking: 7
  • Points Scored: 398
  • Points Allowed: 218
  • PS/G: 30.6 (49th)
  • PA/G: 16.8 (8th)

Inside the Stats - Notre Dame Fighting Irish

  • Record: 11-1
  • VI Ranking: 6
  • Points Scored: 423
  • Points Allowed: 219
  • PS/G: 35.2 (19th)
  • PA/G: 18.2 (10th)

Key Players to Watch

  • OKST: Spencer Sanders - QB (209/341, 2,468 yards, 16 TD, 12 INT)
  • OKST: Jaylen Warren - RB (237 carries, 1,134 yards, 11 TD)
  • ND: Jack Coan - QB (215/318, 2,641 yards, 20 TD, 5 INT)
  • ND: Michael Mayer - TE (64 catches, 768 yards, 5 TD)

Fiesta Bowl Betting Conclusion

There has been a lot for Marcus Freeman to do over the last month. He did an excellent job of keeping Notre Dame’s recruiting class together, and he has won a lot of plaudits from the media. However, the first-time head coach may not have had a lot of time to work on bowl prep with everything else going on, so Oklahoma State has a good chance of pulling off the upset.

Fiesta Bowl Betting Trends

  • Notre Dame has covered the spread in seven of its last nine games when playing as the favorite.
  • Notre Dame has covered the spread in four of its last five games away from South Bend.
  • Notre Dame has covered the spread in seven straight games.
  • Notre Dame has gone UNDER the point total in four straight Bowl Games.
  • Oklahoma State has covered the spread in three straight games when playing as the underdog.


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