Notre Dame vs. Michigan: Odds, prediction, trends, matchup

Jonathan Daniel

Notre Dame is a growing underdog against Michigan as it looks to repeat last year's win over the Wolverines. But the odds point to UM and so do computer predictions.

The Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan plays host to the 41st all-time meeting between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Michigan Wolverines this Saturday night. Michigan is a 3.5-point home favorite at most places as of Wednesday, but had already moved to 4 points at one shop.

Notre Dame's brilliant 12-0 SU and 7-5 ATS regular season last year was fueled by the Fighting Irish defense, which allowed just 10.3 points per game, the lowest total in all of college football. The defense looked sharp in Notre Dame's season opening 28-6 win against the Temple Owls. But we'll really get a chance to see what the unit is made of this week against the dangerous Michigan Wolverines attack. The Irish failed to cover the spread as 27.5-point home favorites last Saturday and the OddsShark.com college football prediction computer says they will fail again in 2013.

Michigan also started its season with a soft opponent last Saturday, demolishing Central Michigan 59-9 to easily cover the 31.5-point spread in its tune-up game. Michigan scored at will in this one, racking up eight touchdowns through the first three quarters before eventually pulling back in the fourth. Starting quarterback Devin Gardner looked good on his feet with seven carries for 52 yards and a touchdown, but threw for just one touchdown while throwing two interceptions in the contest.

In seven meetings since 2006, Michigan has enjoyed a 5-2 SU and ATS edge over Notre Dame, including three straight last-minute comeback wins from 2009 to 2011. Last year, Notre Dame edged out a 13-6 win while forcing six turnovers to come out on top.

Both of these teams have some big question marks, and we won't have more answers until this game is in the books. While QB Tommy Rees was sharp in the win over Temple, he's known to be mistake-prone.

Could the same be said about Gardner? How will Notre Dame's defense, without Manti Te'o, look against a tough Michigan offense? Considering how close these teams look on paper and the fact that 18 of the last 28 games in this series have been decided by a touchdown or less, we'll take the points with Notre Dame.

PICK: The computer says 36-28 Michigan, we like Notre Dame +3.5. Follow @OddsShark on Twitter for line updates, injury reports and more.

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