John Raoux/Associated Press
Michigan owns the edge in the recent rivalry with Notre Dame, winning six of the last nine meetings outright, going 6-3 against the spread. However, after meeting almost every season from 1978 through 2014 these teams haven’t met since.
One of the great college football rivalries is renewed when the Fighting Irish and the Wolverines open their 2018 campaigns Saturday night in South Bend.
College football point spread: The Wolverines opened as 1.5-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 27.4-25.0 Fighting Irish (College football picks on every game)
Why the Michigan Wolverines can cover the spread
The Wolverines return 16 starters this season from a team that finished a disappointing 8-5 last term and gave away a bowl game, so they’re looking for a rebound effort this year.
Michigan started 8-2 last year but lost its last three games, including that bowl to an underrated South Carolina outfit.
Seven starters are back on offense for the Wolverines, led by last season’s leading rusher, Karan Higdon (6.1 yards per carry last year), and three along the offensive line.
Michigan also brought in junior transfer quarterback Shea Patterson from Ole Miss (23/12 career touchdowns/interceptions), who brings with him great expectations.
Meanwhile, nine starters are back on what should be one of the best defenses in the country, after limiting opponents to just 271 yards per game last year.
Why the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can cover the spread
The Irish return 15 starters from a team that finished 10-3 straight-up and 8-5 ATS with a bowl win over LSU last year.
Notre Dame started 8-1 last year, the only loss over that span coming by one point to eventual national runner-up Georgia, and it reached No. 3 in the polls. Unfortunately losses to two more pretty good teams, Miami and Stanford, dropped the Irish from College Football Playoff contention.
Six starters are back on offense for Notre Dame, led by junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush (16 touchdowns through the air last year, 14 more on the ground) and three along the offensive line.
And nine starters are back on a defense that held eight of 13 opponents to 18 points or less last season.
Smart betting pick
As the spread here indicates, this is a tough one to pick. These teams are close talent-wise, and while Notre Dame probably holds an edge on offense, Michigan holds the edge on defense.
One big play or turnover could make the difference in this game and with this spread. Whatever the case, the smarter money in matchups like this usually sides with the better defense. Bet the Wolverines here.
College football betting trends
The total has gone over in six of Notre Dame’s last seven games in September.
Michigan is 4-1 SU and ATS in its last five games in Week 1.
The total has gone over in five of Michigan’s last six games in Week 1.
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.