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Over the last five seasons, Notre Dame is 14-1 straight-up and 9-6 against the spread when taking on non-Power Five opponents. Over that same span, Ball State is 1-4 SU but 4-1 ATS against Power Five foes.
So where does the smart money reside for Saturday afternoon’s Cardinals vs. Fighting Irish in-state battle in South Bend?
College football point spread: The Fighting Irish opened as 35.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 31.9-1.3 Fighting Irish (College football picks on every game)
Why the Ball State Cardinals can cover the spread
The Cardinals opened the season last Thursday with a 42-6 victory over 2017 FCS playoff qualifier Central Connecticut State.
Ball State took a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter, led 21-0 by halftime and 42-0 in the fourth quarter before allowing the Blue Devils one meaningless touchdown with 12 seconds left in the game. The Cardinals also covered the spread as 20-point favorites.
On the night, Ball State outgained Central Connecticut State 654-291, racking up 336 yards through the air and 318 on the ground.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals defense allowed the Blue Devils to drive 56 yards to a missed field goal on the opening possession of the game, then clamped down and forced punts, turnovers or fourth-down failures on their next 10 possessions.
The Cardinals returned 16 starters this season following an injury-plagued 2-10 campaign last year.
Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread
The Irish opened their 2018 season with a bang, beating Michigan 24-17 as three-point home dogs.
Notre Dame drove the opening possession of the game 75 yards to a touchdown, drove 96 yards on its second to another touchdown and drove its fourth 75 yards again to another touchdown.
Meanwhile, the Irish defense held the Wolverines to a single offensive touchdown all day, and that didn’t come until just over two minutes remained in the game. That unit also iced the victory with a strip-sack-fumble recovery near midfield in the final minute.
On the night, Notre Dame outrushed Michigan 132-58 and won the turnover battle 2-1.
Smart betting pick
Notre Dame is coming off a big emotional victory over a big-time rival last week, and it could be ripe for a letdown. The Irish are also almost always overrated on the betting lines.
On the other side of this matchup, Ball State returns almost all its skills players and will certainly be better than last year.
Barring a miracle, Notre Dame will win this game, but the smart money comes down on the Cardinals plus the points.
College football betting trends
The total has gone under in four of Notre Dame’s last five games.
Notre Dame is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 games in Week 2.
Ball State is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games on the road in September.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.