Notre Dame is still in the hunt for a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Fighting Irish have won three straight since a tough loss at Georgia and are in a good position to make some noise down the stretch with only one game remaining against a ranked team.
That one ranked game happens to be this Saturday, as Notre Dame must overcome a hostile atmosphere at the Big House and defeat a hungry Wolverines squad, licking their wounds after a tough loss at Penn State last Saturday.
Notre Dame (5-1) has found their stride on offense. Ian Book looks fully healthy and has had success managing the game plan, which mostly revolves around RB Tony Jones Jr. The junior churned out a career-high 176 rushing yards in the 30-27 Irish victory over USC two weeks ago. The game featured a season-high 311 rushing yards for Notre Dame, who won their 15th straight home game.
Michigan (5-2, 3-2 Big 10) has looked absolutely dreadful at times, despite having five-star talent all over the field. There were rumors that head coach Jim Harbaugh was considering the NFL, which were later denied. On the field, QB Shea Patterson played admirably last week in a tough “whiteout” environment at Penn State. The senior threw for 276 yards and rushed for a touchdown as Michigan finished with 417 yards total in the 28-21 loss to the Nittany Lions.
Here’s a gambling breakdown for the Saturday night matchup between Notre Dame and Michigan.
Game Details: #8 Notre Dame at #19 Michigan State
Date: Saturday, October 26
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Michigan Stadium (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
Spread: Notre Dame -1
*All odds are courtesy of Covers
- Notre Dame is 4-2 ATS this season
- Michigan is 3-4 ATS this season
- Under is 4-2 in Notre Dame games this season
- Under is 4-3 in Michigan games this season
- Michigan is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games
- Home team is 5-0 ATS in last 5 meetings
- Notre Dame is 0-4 ATS in last 4 meetings at Michigan Stadium
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How Notre Dame -1 Can Cover
Keep playing mistake-free football. The Fighting Irish lead the FBS in turnover margin and have played virtually error-free all season, especially with Book healthy and under center. If Notre Dame doesn’t beat themselves, there aren’t many teams in the country that can beat them.
Get healthy. Cornerback Shaun Crawford should suit up after missing the last two games with a dislocated elbow. Running back Jafar Armstrong is expected to return from a groin injury and have an immediate impact on the Irish offense.
How Michigan +1 Can Cover
Pound the rock. Zach Charbonnet rushed for 81 yards and a pair of touchdowns last week against Penn State, moving within two scores of matching the freshman record set by Mike Hart and Tyrone Wheatley. Notre Dame has struggled at times to stop the run, ranking just 64th in the FBS allowing 154 yards per game on the ground this season.
This line has played tricks on me all week, fluctuating back and forth between Michigan -1 and Notre Dame -1. Usually, when a team flips from the underdog to the favorite it’s a very bullish indication as to which side is the better team, but in this case, I just think it was stubborn Notre Dame fans who were upset their team wasn’t favored against a struggling Michigan squad. The Wolverines have won 12 straight games at home and the Irish haven’t done anything spectacular this season which would lead me to believe they can end that streak. Give me Michigan by a field goal in a tight, low-scoring game in Ann Arbor.
Michigan 23, Notre Dame 20
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith