The Notre Dame Fighting Irish (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) are 18-2 straight up in their last 20 games but are 5.5-point underdogs to Wisconsin, a questionable line considering their sustained strong play, especially with it being a neutral-site game. Two slim winning margins for the Irish recently were clearly factors in the Badgers (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) being favored here.
Opening Odds Analysis
This opening line seems a little strange. Two of Notre Dame’s three wins have come by three points and while the Fighting Irish haven’t been overly impressive, neither have the Badgers. That’s particularly true of the Wisconsin passing game, which ranks 10th in the Big Ten at just 175.5 yards per game. For a team that can’t score quickly, 5.5 points is a hefty number.
Notre Dame News & Notes
In the first two weeks of the season, Notre Dame faced clearly inferior competition, yet let their opponents hang around and won each game by only the margin of a field goal.
Notre Dame was favored by 7 and 16.5 points respectively against Florida State and Toledo, but failed to separate in either game, taking both down to the wire.
However, in their third game, the Irish appeared more the team people expected, defeating a tough Purdue team 27-13 and covering a 7.5-point spread for their first ATS win of the season. That gave coach Brian Kelly some room for positivity, telling the media: “Our level of preparation rose this week, and certainly our performance did.”
That performance bodes well for them going forward with Wisconsin the first in a tough stretch that sees them face Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, USC and UNC in consecutive weeks.
Wisconsin News & Notes
After a hard-fought battle against Penn State, Wisconsin responded as it should have – by whupping Eastern Michigan 34-7 to cover a big 26-point spread. The Badgers held Eastern Michigan to 92 total yards in the game and were up 27-0 before taking their foot off the gas.
Head coach Paul Chryst was clearly happy after the win over Eastern Michigan. “You know, again, a lot of guys contributed to that and that’s always good to see,” he said. “I thought defensively (we) played — obviously played really, really well.”
If the Badgers defense plays the way it has so far, they should be in good shape in what is sure to be a battle on Saturday.
Staff Betting Pick: UNDER 46.5
Notre Dame getting 5.5 points is a really tempting option considering there is not a big talent differential here. However, getting 46.5 points as a totals option is the best choice, with both Wisconsin games to date landing below that total.
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