This Saturday the No. 19 Michigan Wolverines will host the No. 8 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish under the lights. Kickoff is set for 7:30 EST at Michigan Stadium and will be televised nationally on ABC.

Oddsmakers opened up this line at Michigan -2.5, but early money has been flocking in on Notre Dame and it’s down to the Wolverines -1 and even a pick’em at some places. The total opened at 49 and has been bet up to 51.

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NCAAF Betting Odds & Vegas Game Preview: Notre Dame vs Michigan

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS)

The Fighting Irish will be returning from their bye week, so they will have had two full weeks to prepare for the Wolverines. Last time we saw Notre Dame was at home against USC. The Irish won that contest 30-27, but failed to cover as 10-point favorite.

The only loss on the schedule for Notre Dame is a 17-23 setback at Georgia. A loss at the time that was viewed as a big positive, as many didn’t feel the Irish could hang with an elite team on the road. Then the Bulldogs were upset at home by South Carolina and did not impress the following game against Kentucky.

Either way, if Notre Dame wins at Michigan, the rest of the schedule isn’t all that difficult. Irish win and they are looking like a 11-1 team and probably back in the playoffs.

Michigan Wolverines (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS)

Things aren’t looking so great for the Wolverines. With last week’s loss at Penn State, Michigan’s Big Ten and playoff hopes are doomed. The Wolverines are 2-games back of Ohio State and the Buckeyes look like they are a class or two above the next best in the conference.

Michigan did cover as a 7.5-point dog at Penn State, as they nearly rallied from a 21-0 deficit. They also had a massive 417 to 283 edge in total yards with 26 first downs to the Nittany Lions 14.

The big question with this team going forward is how much pride do these kids have and where will the motivation come from in these final games outside of the obvious big game against Ohio State.

Matchup History

Notre Dame won last year’s meeting 24-17 as a 2.5-point home dog. Irish have won and covered 3 of the last 4, though all 3 wins and covers came at home. Last time they played at Michigan was 2013 and the Wolverines won 41-30 as a 4.5-point favorite.

College Football Free Pick & Predictions: Notre Dame +1

My early lean here would be to back the Irish and would probably just go ahead and take Notre Dame on the money line if the line stays at 1. For me it’s all about the spot and how difficult it will be for Michigan to pick themselves up after that loss to Penn State and how big an edge it is for Notre Dame coming off a bye.

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I think there’s a lot here that will tempt people to take the Wolverines. Michigan dominated the box score on the road against Penn State last week and I think it surprised a lot of people with how well they played. They were a dropped TD pass from tying the game at 28-28 with less than 2 minutes to play.

That’s great, but I’m looking at it from a psychological perspective. I believe the Wolverines had to win that game to keep any hopes of winning the Big Ten and making the playoffs alive. Given how good Ohio State looks, Michigan has to feel like they got no shot with 2 conference losses.

For a team that came into the season thinking not just winning the Big Ten, but playing for a national championship, where does the motivation come from right now? I get it’s a home night game against a Top 10 opponent, but is playing spoiler going to do the trick.

All of this and I probably would have been on Notre Dame at this price had Michigan won last week. Love that the Irish are coming off a bye and they have to have this one. A win and the Irish are looking at 11-1 and will at worst be in the conversation for a playoff spot. A loss and they will join the Wolverines as a team searching for motivation down the stretch run. Give me Notre Dame +1!