The betting line for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s opener against the Michigan Wolverines Saturday has been on a near-constant pendulum swing since the first line was unveiled almost nine months ago.
Brad Powers, the lead college football analyst at Pregame.com, said 5Dimes — an online sportsbook — had the Irish open on Jan. 4 as a 2.5 point favorite over the Wolverines, making their first trip to South Bend since 2014. The sportsbook had moved to “pick ’em” by early April. When former Ole Miss Rebels quarterback Shea Patterson was granted immediate eligibility to play for Michigan, the Wolverines became one-point favorites.
At South Point Casino in Las Vegas, the Irish inexplicably opened as a touchdown favorite on May 21. That line was down to a one point Irish advantage after sharps starting laying down bets for the visiting Wolverines — and the Irish were actually favored at the casino’s sportsbook the following morning.
The Irish were two point favorites there as of Aug. 4.
Biggest week one College Football line moves:— Brad Powers (@BradPowers7) August 4, 2018
Michigan +7 to -2 at Notre Dame
Florida St PK to -6 vs Virginia Tech
Tulane +13 to +7 vs Wake Forest
Purdue +2 to -3.5 vs Northwestern
Nebraska -18 to -23.5 vs Akron
Miami, OH +3 to -2.5 vs Marshall
Alabama -20 to -25.5 vs Louisville
As of this writing, the Irish are 1 point favorites at 5Dimes, and “pick ’em” at both MyBookie.ag and Bovada.lv. The over-under — i.e. total points scored by both teams — is 46.5 at 5Dimes and 47 at the other two sportsbooks.
The OddsShark computers have the total going over, with Notre Dame prevailing, 27.4 to 25. The betting site says Michigan is 6-4 against the spread in the Wolverines’ last ten matchups with the Irish.
Other trends, courtesy of OddsShark:
- Notre Dame is 1-4 against the spread in its last five games
- The total has gone under in 4 of Notre Dame’s last six games.
- Notre Dame is 4-2 against the spread in its last six home games
- Notre Dame is 2-4 against the spread in its last six games against Michigan
- Notre Dame is 6-2 against the spread in its last eight home games against Michigan
Notre Dame has stood firm at 35-to-1 odds.
Here are the odds of the Irish’s opponents winning it all, according to the South Point Sports Book:
- Michigan: Opened 12-to-1, now 15-to-1
- Ball State Cardinals: No line offered
- Vanderbilt Commodores: Opened at 500-to-1, remains there
- Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Opened at 200-to-1, remains there
- Stanford Cardinal: Opened at 40-to-1, has slipped to 50-to-1
- Virginia Tech Hokies: Opened at 35-to-1, has fallen to 50-to-1
- Pittsburgh Panthers: Opened at 500-to-1, remains there
- Navy Midshipmen: Opened at 500-to-1, remains there
- Northwestern Wildcats: Opened at 200-to-1, but is now a longer shot at 300-to-1
- Florida State Seminoles: Started at 25-to-1, now down to 50-1
- Syracuse Orange: Started at 300-to-1 and is still there
- USC Trojans: Started at 35-to-1 and remains there
Irish Quarterback Brandon Wimbush’s odds have improved since the initial line appeared June 8 at the Las Vegas Sportsbook. He’s gone from 50-to-1 to 40-1. The only other player to appear is, surprisingly, Jafar Armstrong. The running back, who switched over from wide receiver, is getting 50-to-1 odds. A line of 300-to-1 was set for him back in June.
Here are candidates on the odds list that could improve (or end) their chances against the Irish:
- Stanford’s Bryce Love, who is at 9-to-2 odds. (Oddsmakers like Alabama Crimson Tide’s Tua Tagovailoa, who hasn’t even been named starter, as their Heisman frontrunner.)
- Michigan’s Shea Patterson, who has dipped from his 20-to-1 opening to now 30-to-1 despite being named the Wolverines’ starting quarterback.
- Florida State’s Cam Akers and Deondre Francois, who are both falling quickly already from 25-to-1 to 60-to-1. Francois was named the Seminoles’ starting QB since betting opened in June.
- USC’s Stephen Carr, whose odds have gone from 100-to-1 to 200-to-1.