College Football Picks: Bet Notre Dame -29.5 vs. Temple

Jeff Grant

Thursday, August 29, 2013 1:26 PM GMT

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will hit the field for the first time since an embarrassing loss in last year’s national title game, as they take on the Temple Owls Saturday. Are we willing to add the Irish to our sports picks with a spread this size?

Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this non-conference matchup at Notre Dame Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

Youth movement 

Temple welcomes back 14 starters from a team that went 4-7 SUATS a season ago, but it’s important to point out that the program has the second-most underclassmen on its depth chart nationally.

The Owls will also be led by first-year head coach Matt Rhule, who has 14 years of experience at the collegiate level

A new beginning

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish went 12-1 SU and 7-5-1 ATS last year, but it was handed an embarrassing 42-14 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2013 BCS championship game.

The Fighting Irish return 14 starters, including eight that have started at least 15 games during their time in South Bend.

Due to the suspension of quarterback Everett Golson, the program will rely on senior Tommy Rees, who has compiled a 14-4 record since arriving on campus.

Question marks on offense

College football handicappers will have a hard time backing the Owls in this spot against one of the nation’s best defenses, considering the offense will be led by junior quarterback Connor Reilly, who was the school’s only male two-sport athlete.

Temple’s receiving corps doesn’t possess much size for Reilly to target, as its three projected starters average a height and weight of 5-10, 180.

Dominating stop unit

It’s hard to imagine that Notre Dame is going to surrender more than a touchdown in this affair, as the stop unit is one of six in college football to allow less than 21 points on average over the last three seasons.

The Fighting Irish possess one of the more feared defensive lines in football—a group that has played a large part in allowing just 13 rushing touchdowns over the last 30 games—fewer than any team in the country over that span.

[gameodds]6/238929/?r3=19-349/us&r-1=19-349/us[/gameodds]

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Fighting Irish with their college football picks, as they’ve gone 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS as favorites of 21.5 to 31 points the last two seasons.

College Football Pick:  Notre Dame Fighting Irish -29.5