Notre Dame has won the last three meetings in its rivalry with Michigan State before the teams stopped playing each other three years ago, and covered the spread in three of the last four. In the renewal of a great old Midwestern football rivalry, the Irish clash with the Spartans on Saturday night under the watchful eyes of Touchdown Jesus.
Point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as seven-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 31.0-28.4 Fighting Irish (College football picks on every game)
Why the Michigan State Spartans can cover the spread
The defending Big Ten champions opened their season two weeks ago with a 28-13 victory over Furman. Michigan State then took last week off.
The Spartans scored a touchdown on their first possession of the season against the Paladins, and led 21-6 into the fourth quarter. Furman made things interesting with a score early in the fourth, but the Spartans eventually iced the game on Tyler O'Connor's third touchdown pass of the day with five minutes to go. On the night, Michigan State out-gained the Paladins 361-226, but several penalties—the Spartans committed 10 for 120 yards—helped keep Furman in the game.
O'Connor, the fifth-year senior making his second career college start, completed 13 of 18 passes for 190 yards and those three scores against one interception. In his first career start, a huge game last year at Ohio State, O'Connor directed the Spartans to a 17-14 upset of the Buckeyes. So he's already got one notch in his belt.
Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread
The Irish recovered from a season-opening double-overtime loss at Texas, beating Nevada last week 39-10 and covering as 27-point favorites. Notre Dame struggled through a scoreless first quarter with the Wolf Pack, then scored 18 points in five minutes, and later added another touchdown to take a 25-0 lead into halftime. The Irish then put the game away with a touchdown on their first possession of the second half and secured the cash by keeping Nevada out of the end zone until about three minutes remained.
For the day, Notre Dame out-gained the Wolf Pack 444-300, piling up 239 yards on the ground. And quarterback DeShone Kizer continued his good early-season play, hitting 15 of 18 throws, including two for touchdowns and running for another.
The Irish, as mentioned above, lost to the Longhorns two weeks ago 50-47 in double overtime, but battled back from a 31-14 deficit to take a 35-31 lead and had chances to win.
Notre Dame owns the edge in the quarterback comparison and of course owns a huge home-field edge; last year the Irish went 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS at Notre Dame Stadium. Michigan State can be pesky, but is probably a good candidate to regress this season. The nod here goes to Notre Dame.
Michigan State is 7-1-1 ATS in its last nine games on the road against Notre Dame.
The visiting team is 1-5 SU in its last six games in this matchup.
Notre Dame is 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in its last seven games at home.
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