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WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 04: Jack Plummer #13 of the Purdue Boilermakers warms up before the game against the Oregon State Beavers at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 4, 2021 in West Lafayette, Indiana. Michael Hickey/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Michael Hickey / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

The Purdue Boilermakers are a tasty college football pick for Saturday’s matchup with the No. 12 Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Purdue Boilermakers vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Saturday, September 18, 2021 - 02:30 PM EDT at Notre Dame Stadium

How many college football titles have the Notre Dame Fighting Irish won in their storied history? That depends on whom you ask. The Fighting Irish themselves officially claim 11 championships, but they could have as many as 22, stretching all the way back to 1919. This is the most storied franchise in all of college sports, the team that gave us Knute Rockne and Rudy and the Gipper. They’re supposed to be good each and every year, forever.And yet the Irish come into the 2021 campaign trying to win their first (official) title since 1988. And if we’re reading the tealeaves correctly, they’re over-valued as 7-point home favorites on the college football odds board at BetOnline (visit our Sportsbook Review) for Saturday’s matchup with the Purdue Boilermakers. The early consensus reports show 78 percent of bettors on Purdue. Perhaps we should join them.

Numerology 101

The computers are on our side. Jeff Sagarin at The USA Today has Notre Dame ahead by 6.49 points using his overall “Rating” numbers; that half-point between the projections and the NCAAF odds doesn’t leave much profit margin, but the fact that we’re on the magic number 7 does give a slight lean towards Purdue some merit.Then again, ESPN’s Football Power Index likes Notre Dame to win 71.7 percent of the time, which works out to a fair moneyline of –253 using that most holy gambling calculator, the SBR Odds Converter. The Irish are still overvalued here at –280 or thereabouts, but at press time, the best price we can find on the Boilers is +240 at GT Bets. If only there were such a thing as a magic moneyline.

Third Down and Pray

Timing is everything, of course. There’s a non-zero chance that the public will swarm all over the NCAAF lines and push Notre Dame to –7.5 before kick-off; that would give Purdue considerably more betting value, allowing us to make a larger wager on these loveable road dogs – who are already off and running at 2-0 SU and ATS. The Irish, on the other hand, are 2-0 SU and 0-2 ATS, failing to cover against Florida State (+7 at home) and Toledo (+16.5 away). They could easily be winless right now.Maybe this was bound to happen. Brian Kelly has built a strong program in South Bend, but he has a big hole to fill at quarterback with Ian Book, who used up all his eligibility last year and is now a member of the New Orleans Saints. Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan is a steady hand, but not a dual-threat like Book – which will make it harder for the Irish to sustain their ridiculous 49.7-percent third-down conversion rate (No. 7 overall). They’re already down to 45.2 percent (No. 47) this year. That’s the way the prolate spheroid bounces; let’s see if it will bounce our way in this matchup, too.

College Football Pick:  (visit our Sportsbook Review)

*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.