Notre Dame at Michigan Betting Preview
by Strike Point Sports - 9/8/2009
There's no second-guessing which premier matchup takes the cake in college football's second week. Southern Cal travels to Columbus to take on Ohio State at the Horseshoe, so there will be enough coverage of this Top-10 collision.
With that said, we're going to take a peek at another key tilt, our matchup of the week pitting Notre Dame against Michigan. Both the Irish and the Wolverines looked super good in their respective openers, and now the heat is on for the two prestigious programs to see which can continue in the right direction and avoid an early-season loss.
Charlie Weis probably couldn't have asked for a better start against Nevada. Granted, Nevada couldn't muster a score of any kind throughout the game, but it was the consistent and lethal passing game that flourished under quarterback Jimmy Clausen. The junior, who appears to have finally tapped into his potential, threw for 315 yards on 15-of-18 and four scores. His wideouts Michael Floyd and Golden Tate look to be a very dynamic pair, while tight end Kyle Rudolph has all the physical tools to dominate at his position. The running game, however, still seems suspect, and 178 yards overall on the ground against a shaky Wolf Pack defense still doesn't prove much. The Irish easily managed to cover as 14.5-point favorites in South Bend.
The Maize and Blue, just the same, wowed their crowd, but it was new faces that managed to capture the allure of the U of M supporters. True freshman quarterback Tate Forcier tossed three TDs and led the offense for the majority of the game, not making any mistakes. Another first-year star in the making is the speed merchant Denard Robinson, who got some headlines in the offseason for not tying his shoes when on the field. Apparently he needs not to, as a big 43-yard scamper and score showed he knows exactly what to do when the ball is in his hand. Similar to Notre Dame, Michigan took care of business against the number, as a 31-7 victory surpassed the 13 points they laid at home to Western Michigan.
Now to this weekend's game. And the deciding factor with two offenses that seem capable of scoring points should be the defenses and which outfit is more capable of showing up when called upon. Personally, and this is with my pro-Michigan hat off, the Wolverines have a faster and stronger defensive unit. I think they are more capable of pressuring the quarterback, and the secondary seems more likely to hold its own in the passing game. And that will be the test, as Weis will certainly make a firm choice to go down the field and see how able Clausen can be in loosening the back four of Michigan for some action through the air.
The Fighting Irish come in as 3.5-point road favorites. However the line across the board came be found at a field goal if you shop around. I would think the consensus number will stay between 3 and 3.5, and that could be key, as I see a back-and-forth game all day in Ann Arbor. The underdog has covered eight of the last 10 meetings in this series, but Notre Dame is 7-3 ATS in the last 10 against the Wolverines. The Irish's last win in Michigan was in 2005, and U of M has won four of the last five in the Big House over Notre Dame. No total has been released yet, but if I had to throw out a number, I would guess around 44 or 45. Kick-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Saturday.
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