Notre Dame vs Michigan: Betting Odds, Preview, Matchup Stats And Prediction

Sep 8, 2012; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish running back Theo Riddick (6) runs the ball in the fourth quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium. Notre Dame won 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-US PRESSWIRE

Notre Dame's Fighting Irish will aim for their first 4-0 start in a decade and an end to a three-game losing streak vs. Michigan when they host their good friends from Ann Arbor.

It's the annual showdown Saturday night in South Bend (7:30 pm ET, NBC) and the Irish are favored, while the Wolverines own the recent betting victories.

In the past six meetings, Michigan is 5-1 ATS and they get six points here at most sportsbooks tracked by OddsShark.com. The trend has also been OVER the total when these teams play here in South Bend (5 of 6 since 1995).

Meanwhile, Top Bet had the best UNDER number (51) by mid-week. [ Get updates on line moves and injuries via Twitter ]

Notre Dame is coming off likely its biggest victory under Brian Kelly, a 20-3 stifling of Michigan State last Saturday in East Lansing. The Irish held the Spartans to 237 yards of offense, just 50 on the ground, in winning outright as four-point underdogs.

With their three victories the Irish have moved from the ranks of the unranked in the AP's Top 25 pre-season poll to No. 11 in this week's poll.

Michigan, meanwhile, began the season ranked No. 8 in the AP poll, but is now No. 18. The Wolverines opened with that pounding at the hands of Alabama, then struggled to beat Air Force at the Big House 31-25. Last week the Wolverines broke loose and beat Massachusetts 63-13.

Notre Dame returned 14 starters this year, eight on offense, from a team that went 8-5 last year. Michigan, on the other hand, had 13 starters back, seven on defense, from a team that went 11-2 last year.

Michigan has won the last three games in this series, each by exactly four points. Last year, in a classic, the Wolverines rallied from down 24-7 in the fourth quarter, going 80 yards on two Denard Robinson passes in the final 30 seconds to win 35-31.

Most online sportsbooks opened Saturday's game with Notre Dame favored by 6.5 points, with a total of 51. But as of Tuesday evening most books had dropped the Irish to -5.5.

On an injury note Notre Dame will be without starting S Jamoris Slaughter, after he tore an Achilles tendon Saturday.

Free Pick: The Irish showed us something last week we hadn't seem out of them in a while; a real toughness. And the line on this week's game moved in their favor. We'll take Notre Dame minus the points Saturday night.

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