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Notre Dame Unbeaten But Yet To Hit Its Stride

After narrowly escaping upset losses in their first two games, the Irish (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS) seek a more dominant effort when they host Purdue (2-0, 2-0). Notre Dame has won the last seven meetings between the in-state rivals but the teams haven’t faced each other since 2014.

Purdue Boilermakers vs Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  • Date/Time: September 18, 2:30 p.m. ET
  • Stadium: Notre Dame Stadium
  • TV Coverage: NBC
  • Opening Odds: Notre Dame -7.5 | O/U 58.5 (Line History)
  • Purdue vs Notre Dame Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

If this line stays below 10 points, it’ll be just the third time in Notre Dame’s last 17 home games that the Irish weren’t favored by double digits. Early money was on the underdog Boilermakers, moving the spread down to 7 by Sunday night.

Purdue News & Notes

It’s hard to draw many conclusions from a game against UConn, but the Boilermakers should still feel pretty good about their passing attack following a 49-0 rout of the Huskies.

Junior quarterback Jack Plummer misfired on just five of his 24 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns in one half of action, and four different pivots combined to complete 83 percent of their throws for 375 yards, six scores and zero interceptions.

That passing game should come in handy against Notre Dame, especially if the Boilermakers are without starting running back Zander Horvath. The fifth-year senior injured his leg on Purdue’s second possession last week and coach Jeff Brohm told reporters that Horvath will likely miss some time.

Notre Dame News & Notes

Desperate to spark a running game behind a struggling offensive line, coach Brian Kelly turned to a dual-quarterback strategy last week against Toledo. Freshman Tyler Buchner, considered Notre Dame’s quarterback of the future, ran seven times for 68 yards while also completing all three of his passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. Starter Jack Coan still saw the lion’s share of the snaps, however, and directed Notre Dame’s game-winning touchdown drive despite dislocating his finger late in the contest.

While the Irish offense has put up at least 30 points in each of its first two games, their defense hasn’t been close to Notre Dame’s usual standards. Big plays have been the Irish’s undoing so far, a problem Kelly attributes to roster turnover and adjusting to first-year coordinator Marcus Freeman’s system.

“We know why it’s happening,” Kelly told 247 Sports. “We have new players on the field, younger players, inexperienced players, that are going through some growing pains.”

Staff Betting Pick: Notre Dame -7

Preseason look-ahead lines had the Irish favored by 10 points in this matchup, and this short spread seems like an overreaction to Notre Dame’s early struggles. Expect Purdue to get the Irish’s full attention as Notre Dame rolls to its 26th straight win at home.

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Shark Bites
  • Purdue is 8-1 ATS in its last 9 games as an underdog.
  • Notre Dame is 25-0 SU in its last 25 home games (avg margin: 21.0).
  • The UNDER is 14-4 in Purdue’s last 18 road games.