Notre Dame is riding a 7-1 straight-up streak against the Purdue Boilermakers, and will try to continue that success in West Lafayette on Saturday as a 20.5-point road favorite.
The Notre Dame defense ain't what it used to be. One year after allowing just 12.8 points per game and only six points to Michigan, the Irish were on the wrong end of a shootout last Saturday in a 41-30 loss as a 4.5-point underdog.
Still, the prediction computer at OddsShark.com projects a return to dominance this week with a 29-9 final. That would not quite cover the spread. It would also keep the total under the current number of 49 at most sportsbooks.
Tommy Rees' interception problem came back up too, as he threw two interceptions after playing a mistake-free season debut against Temple. Notre Dame has a great chance to get back on track Saturday against a much softer opponent.
Purdue finished last regular season with three straight wins to earn bowl eligibility at 6-6 SU. But the Boilermakers got demolished in their bowl by Oklahoma State, and seem to have picked up where that game left off.
The Boilermakers were blown out 42-7 in their season opener at Cincinnati, and barely scraped out a win at home against FCS opponent Indiana State 20-14 last week as a 17.5-point favorite. Averaging just 255 total yards of offense through their first few games, the Boilermakers look nothing like the offensive juggernaut this program used to be.
This rivalry tends to produce some pretty close games. Over the last 10 seasons, the series has been split 5-5 against the spread, and these two teams have been separated by over 17 points just once in their last eight meetings. Last year, Notre Dame won 20-17 at home as a 14-point favorite.
This spread seems to be a pretty good one. Notre Dame is definitely a deserving three-touchdown favorite on paper, but is this year's offense explosive enough to cover a spread like this on the road? The matchup report data is inconclusive.
Considering how Purdue historically gets up for this game and Notre Dame could be looking ahead to Michigan State next week, we're taking the points.
PICK: Purdue +20.5 | Computer Pick: 29-9 Notre Dame (courtesy of OddsShark.com)