After surviving a play-in game to begin this NCAA tournament, the Michigan Wolverines are now 9-2 straight up and 8-2-1 against the spread over their last 11 tournament contests.
Can they keep the good times rolling when they take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a No. 6-vs.-No. 11 matchup Friday night in Brooklyn, New York?
Point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as three-point favorites; the total was 143, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (see line updates and matchup report).
March Madness pick, via Odds Shark computer: 68.2-66.9 Fighting Irish
Why Michigan can cover the spread
Michigan already owns one win/cover in this tournament after holding off Tulsa in a First Four game Wednesday night in Dayton, 67-62. The Wolverines led by eight points at the half, fell down by a point with a minute to go but got a huge three-pointer from Zak Irvin to give them the lead for good. Five free-throws later, they secured the cash as two-point favorites.
On the night, Michigan only shot 41 percent from the floor but went 13-of-16 from the line and committed just eight turnovers to the Hurricane's 10. Since their 1-4 finish to the regular season, the Wolverines have won three of their last four games, hitting clutch shots near the end of each victory.
Why Notre Dame can cover the spread
The Irish lost a couple of key people from the team that reached the Elite Eight last season but still managed to win 21 games this season, going 11-7 in ACC play, and picked up enough quality victories to make the NCAA tournament for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons.
Notre Dame owns wins over fellow NCAA tournament teams Iowa, Stony Brook and North Carolina, and two over Duke, most recently in the ACC tournament.
On the season, with five players scoring in double figures, the Irish are shooting 47 percent from the field, 37 percent from three-point land and 74 percent from the line, all of which are pretty good for college teams.
Smart betting pick
Offensively, these teams are about a wash, but Notre Dame plays slightly better defense and does a little bit better on the boards. Also, that offensive diversity creates advantages, and they're playing on a full week's rest. The smart money on the college basketball odds here rides with the Irish.
March Madness betting trends
Michigan is 3-0 SU in its last three games against Notre Dame.
The total has gone under in six of Notre Dame's last eight games.
Notre Dame is 1-4 SU and ATS in its last five games against teams with winning records.
Michigan is 3-1 SU in its last four games against teams with winning records.
All point-spread and lines data courtesy of Odds Shark, and all quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and get the free odds tracker app for iOS or Android.
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