With Notre Dame moving to a part-time ACC schedule, a great Midwestern rivalry comes to a close when the Irish host Michigan on Saturday night in South Bend.
Notre Dame has lost six of their last eight meetings with the Wolverines, going 2-6 ATS over that span, and got mocked with the “chicken dance” after losing at the Big House last year. Might the revenge factor be in play for this one?
Point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as 6-point favorites; the total was 55.5, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 35.4-30.0 Wolverines
Why the Michigan Wolverines can cover the spread
The Wolverines opened their season with a 52-14 victory over Appalachian State, covering as 28-point chalk. In fact, Michigan had that line covered at halftime, leading 35-0.
They out-gained the Mountaineers 560-280, piling up 350 yards on the ground. Michigan returned 15 starters this year, seven on offense, led by senior quarterback Devin Gardner, who threw just one incompletion last week. There are three returning starters along the offensive line, and eight on defense.
Last year, Gardner had one of his best days as a collegian against Notre Dame, throwing for 294 yards and four scores and running for 82 yards and another touchdown. UM has covered just seven of 23 road games, but this is a number they can handle, and the computer is picking the upset.
Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread
The Irish, with QB Everett Golson back behind center, dispatched of Rice last Saturday 48-17, covering the spread as 20-point favorites.
The Golden Domers scored twice in the last three minutes of the first half to take a 28-10 lead into the locker room and pulled away from there. Notre Dame piled up 576 yards of offense on the Owls, as Golson threw for 295 and two scores and ran for three more.
The Irish are now 11-1 SU and 7-4-1 ATS when Golson starts. Notre Dame, without Golson, lost at Ann Arbor last year 41-30, missing the cover as four-point dogs, but that game was up for grabs midway through the fourth quarter.
Michigan has held the upper hand in this rivalry recently, and with 15 starters back they should not be intimidated by playing in front of a hostile crown at Notre Dame Stadium.
This rivalry has also featured several close games recently; from 2009-11 the Wolverines won three straight games by four points before the Irish won by a touchdown in 2012.
And as mentioned above, last year's game was a four-point affair until Michigan scored with four minutes to go to win by 11. So for what should be another close game, the smart pick is with the Wolverines and the points.
- Michigan is 4-1 ATS in its last five games
- Michigan lost nine of 10 SU as an underdog since start of 2012 season
- Notre Dame is 26-2 SU in its past 28 games as favorites
Note: All point spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, all quotes gathered first-hand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury updates and line move updates, and get the free odds tracker app.