The #3 overall Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-0) travel to Illinois this weekend to take on the Northwestern Wildcats (5-3). Kickoff is set for 7:15 PM EST at Ryan Field and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Taking a look at the Week 10 college football odds, Notre Dame opened as a 7.5-point road favorite earlier this week. That line has shifted by half a point after early betting, as the Fighting Irish are currently listed at -8. The total for the game is sitting at 53.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Northwestern vs Notre Dame
Notre Dame stayed perfect last weekend after an impressive 44-22 victory over Navy. QB Ian Book continued his string of impressive performances as of late, as he has now thrown two or more touchdowns in each of his last five games. Book has racked up 1,481 passing yards and 13 touchdowns on the season so far – he has also completed 76.5% of his passes. There is certainly no shortage of weapons offensively for the Fighting Irish, as the receiving duo of Miles Boykin and Chris Finke have combined for 908 yards and seven touchdowns. Things have looked solid on the ground as well – Notre Dame is currently averaging 188.5 rushing yards per game. RB Dexter Williams has done most of the heavy lifting out of the backfield, running for 512 yards and seven touchdowns in eight games. As a whole, the offense is currently averaging 34.0 points per game (35th overall) on 447.3 yards of total offense.
Things have also been very impressive on the other side of the ball, as the Fighting Irish currently giving up an average of 19.1 points per game (20th overall) on 341.3 total yards of offense (30th overall). Notre Dame has really done a great job of shutting down opposing teams through the air, allowing an average of just 194.4 passing yards per game (32nd).
Northwestern won their fourth consecutive game last weekend after upsetting Wisconsin 31-17 on the road. The Wildcats are really playing inspired football right now and look to be well on their way to another Bowl appearance. However, QB Clayton Thorson will need to play much better here in Week 10 than he did against the Badgers. Thorson only managed to throw for 167 yards and one touchdown while also getting picked off three times. RB Isaiah Brewer was a beast out of the backfield, as the freshman rushed for 117 yards and a touchdown on a whopping 31 carries.
The stifling Northwestern defense really was the big story against Wisconsin last week, as they forced and recovered three fumbles and held the Badgers to just 17 points. The Wildcats are currently allowing 23.6 points per game on 366.8 yards of total offense.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Notre Dame -8
Northwestern has been an extremely tricky team to judge so far this year. They have really played well against ranked opponents over the last several weeks, including winning games against both Michigan State and Wisconsin. However, they have yet to face a team as talented on both sides of the ball as Notre Dame. The problem for the Wildcats heading into Week 10 has been their lackluster play on offense. Thorson is really struggling right now and the defense has continually had to bail him out. I’m not sure they will be able to keep things close for four quarters against a Fighting Irish offense that is averaging over 30 points per game. Notre Dame is also no slouch on defense, as they have held opponents under 20 points per game.
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The Fighting Irish are a very impressive 4-0 ATS over their last four road games. They are also 4-1 ATS in their last five conference games and 4-1 ATS over their last five games overall. Northwestern has managed to cover the spread in five out of their last six games of a 7+ point underdog but are just 1-5 ATS over their last six non-conference games. The Wildcats are also only 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games following a win and 1-4 ATS over their last five home games against teams with a winning road record.
Northwestern has really been on a roll as of late but I think they might run out of momentum against a tough Notre Dame squad this weekend. The defense has had to rescue an anemic offense that is really struggling to move the ball through the air right now. As long as the spread stays under double-digits, I think the Fighting Irish offer pretty good value in this particular spot. I’ll lay the points and take the road favorite.