The resurgent Rice Owls are 7-1 against the spread in their last eight games as underdogs on the road. Meanwhile, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are just 1-6 ATS the last seven times they've been favored by double digits at home.
So the betting trends will not be with the Golden Domers when they host Rice Saturday afternoon in Week 1 of the college football season.
Point Spread: The Fighting Irish opened as 24.5-point favorites; the total was 51.5 at Notre Dame Stadium, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark Computer Prediction: 28.8-28.5 Owls
Why Rice Can Cover the Spread
The Owls have 12 starters back this season, balanced out with six on each side of the ball. They've got some holes to fill, after the losses of their starting QB, leading rusher and top two tacklers, but enough talent remains in place for a run at a third straight winning season. Two years ago, Rice had only 10 starters back and won seven games.
The Owls are 17-10 straight up and 16-10-1 ATS over the last two seasons, which includes covers at plus-21 at Tulsa two years ago and at plus-28 at Texas A&M last season. Rice is probably not going to win this game, but it has shown it can cover on the road.
Why Notre Dame Can Cover the Spread
The Irish may not have everybody they thought they'd have available for this contest, but they're very happy to have back the QB who took them to the national championship game two years ago then sat out last year on suspension.
Everett Golson went 10-1 as a starter in 2012, hitting on 59 percent of his throws, compiling a 12-6 TD-INT ratio and just generally making things happen.
Notre Dame also returns last year's top rusher and three along the offensive line. If Golson can shake off the rust and the defense can limit the Rice running game, the Irish could cover the number.
Both teams have holes to fill, but Rice has one at quarterback and Notre Dame doesn't. However, the Irish are likely to be missing those three projected starters, two on defense, who are waiting to hear about an investigation into academic shenanigans.
Two years ago, with Golson at QB, Notre Dame covered numbers like minus-14 against Navy, minus-14 against Miami and minus-24 against Wake Forest. But it couldn't cover minus-14 against Purdue, minus-13 against BYU, minus-17 against Pitt or minus-20 against Boston College.
So despite their offseason losses, the pick for this one is the Owls plus the points.
- Rice is 14-7 ATS in its last 21 games
- Notre Dame is 20-5 SU in its last 25 games
- Rice 7-1 ATS past eight as road underdog
- Irish 1-6 ATS past seven as double-digit home favorites
All point-spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, and all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury updates and line-move updates, and get the free odds tracker app.