The No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish are 3-0 on the season but it’s not an encouraging 3-0. Those who bet online know that close games with Florida State and Toledo aren’t great signs, and a 14-point win against Purdue doesn’t help the level of confidence. Now it’s time to see what they’ve got. They’re set for a Top 25 matchup and if they don’t play better than they have so far, they’re likely to suffer their first loss vs No. 18 Wisconsin on Saturday. Let’s take a look at the matchup and our college football picks.
|Game: Notre Dame (3-0) at Wisconsin (1-1)
Location: Soldier Field.
Time: Noon ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
Head to Head
The contest between the Fighting Irish and the Badgers is going to make history. That’s because these two schools haven’t faced off against one another in roughly 57 years. Notre Dame holds the series advantage with an 8-6-2 record but not by much. The last time these teams met was back in 1964, a game that saw Notre Dame win. Shockingly enough, in their small number of games played back then, they each defeated the other by 50-plus points during that span.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Next game: vs. Cincinnati
The Fighting Irish were able to take care of business last week and hand the Purdue Boilermakers their very first loss. Both teams came out slow but Notre Dame led 10-3 at the half. However, the Fighting Irish were able to break away in the second half and finish with a 27-13 win.
Jack Coan put together an OK day passing the football, throwing for 223 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. He only completed 50 percent of his passes, a number that has to improve this week. Luckily, Coan has a reliable No. 1 receiver in Avery Davis, who hauled in a team-high five receptions for 120 yards and a touchdown. Kyren Williams got the most carries on the roster with 12, turning them into 91 strong yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, they were just all over the place. The group came up with three big sacks and two interceptions. If this unit can play like it did against Purdue, it will be difficult for Wisconsin to put up points.
Linebacker Paul Moala is questionable due to an Achilles injury. Fellow linebackers Shayne Simon and Marist Liufau are both out indefinitely with injuries of their own. Tackle Michael Carmody is also listed as questionable with a minor ankle injury.
Next game: vs. Michigan
The Badgers cruised last week in an easy 34-7 win over Eastern Michigan. They walked into the locker room with a 24-0 lead at halftime and coasted to victory. Quarterback Graham Mertz wasn’t needed all too much in this contest other than handing off the football. He threw for 141 yards with no touchdown or interceptions.
It was the run game that really stole the show here. Chez Mellusi had 20 carries for 144 yards and a touchdown and Jalen Berger had 15 carries for 62 and a touchdown of his own. Two other running backs ran in for touchdowns as well. The defense only had two sacks and one forced turnover but was able to stonewall the Eagles. The only touchdown that was allowed came late in the fourth quarter in garbage time.
Cornerback Deron Harrell is questionable to make it for this game with a leg injury. Tight end Jack Eschenbach is questionable as well with an arm injury. Offensive linemen Logan Brown and Jack Nelson are also questionable for this matchup. Running back Berger suffered a leg injury of his own after taking 15 carries and is questionable.
Betting on the Game
Both teams have had one major test and basically failed before picking up wins against cupcakes. Wisconsin lost at home to a good Penn State squad and then stomped Eastern Michigan. Notre Dame beat Florida State in its opener but needed overtime to do it, so the Fighting Irish are fortunate to be 3-0.
The reality here is that both teams have issues at quarterback and whoever has the better ground game will win. With the Badgers at home, they’re likely to get that extra charge from the crowd to get it done.
Notre Dame’s Coan comes back to Wisconsin to face his former team. However, given how he’s played so far, it’s hard to have much faith in him. Revenge will be on his mind but Coan is going to be going up against an excellent defense. Don’t expect him to have a ton of success here, so look for the Badgers to not only win but cover the NCAA odds.
The 46½ points seems a bit too high for these two teams. Notre Dame only hit 40 total points in its last game with Purdue while Wisconsin hit only 41 against Eastern Michigan. Both of these teams have talented defenses with offenses that love to establish a tough run game to set the tone. With each team attempting to do that, the game will slow down and become a battle of time of possession. The under looks really tempting in this matchup.