The first week of the 2018 college football season is highlighted by a marquee matchup between No. 14 Michigan and No. 12 Notre Dame in the shadow of Touchdown Jesus.
The Irish are slight favourites at Sports Interaction.
Michigan vs. Notre Dame Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Michigan and Notre Dame are the two winningest programs in Division I NCAA history and arguably the two marquee schools in the sport from a national/international perspective – this will surely draw the biggest TV ratings and betting action of any game in Week 1.
The schools haven’t played since 2014 because Notre Dame opted out of games from 2015-17 due to its new agreement to play five Atlantic Coast Conference schools each season. The Irish are full ACC members in most other major sports but remain independent in football. To play the Irish this year and next (in Ann Arbor), Michigan had to cancel a home-and-home with Arkansas.
The betting trends show a heavy lean toward Michigan on the spread and an even heavier one on the under 47 points. These are expected to be two of college football’s best defensive teams this year, especially Michigan. It ranked No. 3 nationally in total defence in 2017.
Michigan leads the all-time series 24-17-1 and is one of only 13 teams that have a winning record against Notre Dame. The home team has covered the past four.
Hard to imagine that Michigan would consider firing head coach Jim Harbaugh as he’s a favorite son and former UM quarterback. However, it’s fair to say the heat is on a bit as Harbaugh is just 1-5 against Michigan’s two biggest rivals, Ohio State and Michigan State. You can all but forget about a spot in the College Football Playoff for Harbaugh should his team lose here because Michigan still has to play No. 4 Wisconsin, at No. 11 Michigan State, No. 10 Penn State and at No. 5 Ohio State. Good luck winning all those; the Wolverines are +1100 to win the national title.
This will be the Michigan debut of QB Shea Patterson, who is +2000 to win the Heisman at Sports Interaction. The former highly-touted recruit spent the past two years at Ole Miss but transferred and was allowed to be eligible immediately because Ole Miss is in NCAA hot water. Patterson already has lost potentially his No. 1 target as receiver Tarik Black recently broke his foot.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Irish coach Brian Kelly was on a scorching-hot seat entering last season but that cooled with a 10-3 record. Irish fans are finicky and with impossibly high standards, though, so a poor season could see Kelly right back in trouble.
The Irish (+3300 for national title) better not lose here, either, to keep their playoff hopes alive because their schedule is murderous too with games vs. No. 13 Stanford, at No. 20 Virginia Tech, vs. No. 19 Florida State and at No. 15 USC. Kelly lost top running back Josh Adams and two first-round NFL offensive linemen off his 2017 team but brings back QB Brandon Wimbush (+3400 for Heisman) among 15 total starters, nine on defence.
Wolverines vs. Fighting Irish Score Prediction
Notre Dame 23, Michigan 21