NCAA Football Betting - Michigan vs. Notre Dame

Notre Dame has been fighting its way up the NCAA football rankings from Week One. In the preseason Notre Dame was barely inside the Top 25 in the country, then after Week One they climbed to #22, then after Week Two they climbed a few more spots, and now coming into Week Four they are sitting just outside the Top 10 with a 3-0 record. After beating #10 Michigan State last week 20-3, the Fighting Irish are preparing to tackle #18 Michigan this week. Michigan took a tough beating from #1 Alabama in Week One but have since come back to beat Air Force and Massachusetts. Michigan will be looking to return to the Top 10 again with a win as they travel to Notre Dame Stadium Saturday night on NBC.

The tough end of the deal for Notre Dame is that Denard Robinson and the Wolverines have beat Notre Dame the past three seasons in the final minutes of play. In fact, over the past two years it has often been in the last seconds of the game that Michigan and Robinson have prevailed. Importantly, in the past three years the score has never been more than 4 points difference. This week the spread has been set at 5.5 points. Michigan has averaged 36 points a game while Notre Dame has averaged 30, so not a big difference when you consider how varied the strength of opponents is in NCAA football. What is worth remembering is that Notre Dame’s defence has allowed an average of 10 points a game this season which currently places them as the 8th best defense in the country. Most impressive was Notre Dame’s defensive stand last week against then ranked #10 Michigan State. Michigan’s defense has allowed an average of 26.3 points ranking them at 77th.

Notre Dame’s defense will be pressed to contain Robinson this week. In addition to passing for 699 yards and 6 TDs this season, Robinson is also Michigan’s rushing leader with an astounding 351 yards on 40 carries. Michigan’s leading receivers are also having a slightly better season than their Irish counterparts. Gardner and Gallon of Michigan are at 155 and 146 yards respectively, both with 8 receptions. Eifert and Daniels of Notre Dame are at 120 and 119 yards with 8 and 6 receptions respectively. However, neither Eifert nor Daniels was involved in the Fighting Irish’s defeat of Michigan State and Notre Dame still put up 20 points.

One important loss in an otherwise potent and versatile Notre Dame defense will be the loss of starting safety Jamoris Slaughter who tore his Achilles tendon last week at Michigan State. While it will hurt, it should not take away from the potency of Notre Dame’s front seven who are earning a name for themselves by causing havoc on opposing offensive lines. The game will be won or lost between Michigan’s offense and Notre Dame’s defense. On the road Michigan has had significantly lower passing and rushing production than at home. Notre Dame has been fairly consistent whether on the road or at home but is probably a better passing team when they are at home. It makes sense that Notre Dame is favored to win this one at home.

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