Michigan vs. Notre Dame Pick
SOUTH BEND, IN (The Spread) - Will Michigan pull off the upset today on the road versus Notre Dame tonight at 6:30PM ET?
I like Michigan catching the points in this rivalry game, as this will be the last scheduled matchup between these two teams with Notre Dame opting out of the contract. I will note that the underdog is 21-4 ATS the last 25 meetings and Michigan is 6-2 SU the last 8 vs. Notre Dame. The line opened up at Michigan +4.5, and has since been bet down to +3.5 for good cause. The Wolverines last played at Notre Dame in 2012 and lost 13-6, but actually out gained Notre Dame 299-239. It was six turnovers by Michigan that killed them and I think they have a better quarterback in 2014 with Devin Gardner than Dernard Robinson, who threw four interceptions in that game in 2012.
Michigan comes into 2014 returning 15 starters and looked good in a warm-up game vs. Appalachian State last week. They racked up 350 yards on the ground with a two power backs in the backfield under new OC Doug Nussmeier, who was the OC at Alabama the last two years and has installed more of a downhill running game. Senior quarterback Gardner completed 13-of-14 passes with three TD's to Devin Funchess. a big 6'5" receiver that was a first team Big 10 selection in 2013.
I like Michigan to win this game at the line of scrimmage as they will be able to run the ball vs. a Notre Dame defensive line that loses their top two players, who combined for 13 sacks in 2013. Notre Dame only has one returning starter on the defensive line as projected starter senior Ishaq Williams has been suspended for academics. Four other players including two starters in the secondary have also been suspended. Now Notre Dame goes from having five returning starters to only three and this is a very young defense. It looks to me that Notre Dame has only one senior that will be starting on the defense and this is a Florida transfer that plays cornerback. I look for the Michigan offense to have a big advantage in this game.
I also like the Michigan's defense heading into the new season. They return eight starters and seven of their top 8 tacklers. The Wolverines' linebackers and secondary are underrated in my opinion. They have a Top 20 linebacker and defensive back unit, including Jabril Peppers, who is the #1 safety recruit coming out of high school. This kid is athletic and can make plays.
Look for the Michigan defense to win the turnover battle in this game and in turn, win the game and obviously cover the spread for us.