One of the top showdowns on the slate in Week 1 of the new football season pits the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Kickoff from Notre Dame Stadium is slated for 7:30 p.m. this Saturday night on NBC.
The Wolverines started last season with four straight-up wins, but all anyone remembers is their three-straight losses to close things out at 8-5. They went a costly 5-7-1 against the spread with the total staying UNDER or ending as a PUSH in eight of 13 games on BetAnySports closing line. Michigan was 3-2-1 ATS in six road games.
Heading into this season, head coach Jim Harbaugh is already feeling the heat given last year’s disappointing finish. He will turn to former Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson as his starter for Saturday’s opener. He threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns last season ahead of making the move to Michigan. The Wolverines’ strength still lies in their ground game and shutdown defense.
Notre Dame posted a SU 10-3 record in 2017 highlighted by a 21-17 bowl win against LSU as a slight one-point favorite. The Irish sunk to 8-5 ATS after failing to cover in four of their last five games. The total stayed UNDER BetAnySports’ closing line in four of their last six outings and they went 4-3 ATS in seven games played at home.
Head coach Brian Kelly has named Brandon Wimbush as his starting quarterback for Notre Dame’s season opener. He was under center for 12 games last season with mixed results after completing just 49 percent of his passing attempts for 1,870 yards and 16 touchdowns. However, Wimbush showed excellent mobility with another 803 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground. The Fighting Irish lost Josh Adams as their leading rusher from last season and they will turn to Tony Jones and Jafar Armstrong to help fill the void.
The pressure has been dialed up on Michigan this season following last year’s collapse, but I am still going with the Fighting Irish at home both SU and ATS in this high-profile opener on Saturday night.