College Football Picks: Michigan State vs. Notre Dame

Jeff Grant

Friday, September 20, 2013 3:46 PM GMT

The Michigan State Spartans and Notre Dame Fighting Irish have played some close games in recent years. What is the best way to bet against the NCAAF odds this Saturday for our sports picks?


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.

It all starts on the defensive end

Michigan State has won all three of its games this season, as the school has been favored by an average of 23.8 points, including a 55-17 victory over Youngstown State last Saturday.

The Spartans rank first nationally in total and pass efficiency defenses, while also ranking second in opponent third-down conversions

Overall, the team is allowing just 2.90 yards per offensive play, which leads the country in that particular category.

Returning home

Notre Dame is set to play its third consecutive game against a team hailing from the Big Ten Conference, as it split a pair of road games against the Purdue Boilermakers (31-24) and Michigan Wolverines (30-41). 

The Fighting Irish have won nine home games in a row, while going 2-0 SUATS as favorites of 3.5 to 7 points in that situation.

Close series 

College football handicappers will definitely have an interest in playing the road underdog, as nine of the last 13 meetings in this series have been decided by seven points or less.

Notre Dame has won 10 of its last 11 overall games when playing in a game with that type of scoring margin under head coach Brian Kelly.

Facing a revenge-minded foe

The Fighting Irish have won the last two games in this series, including a 20-3 victory as 4.5-point road underdogs in 2012—winning the statistical battle by 63 yards.

Notre Dame is 3-14 ATS in its last 17 home games when facing a revenge-minded foe—a betting trend that can’t be ignored when making your college football predictions Saturday. 


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Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Spartans, as Fighting Irish quarterback Tommy Rees will be limited in trying to get the ball downfield due to 15-20 mph winds throughout the game.

Michigan State punter Mike Sadler also gives the road team a big advantage in terms of field position, as he landed on the First-Team All-Big Ten a season ago.

College Football Pick: Michigan State Spartans +4.5 at bet365