Notre Dame Opens as Surprising Favorite Over Michigan State

Notre Dame - Michigan State Betting Line
Photo: Robin Alam // Icon Sportswire

When the first betting lines for this weekend’s college football games were released, Notre Dame opened up as a surprisingly big six point favorite over #8/12 Michigan State (Coaches/AP) at home this weekend.  The Irish, coming off a 29 point victory over Nevada in which they covered the pre-game spread of 28 come into the game ranked at least 10 spots lower than the Spartans.

By Monday, Notre Dame was up to a seven point and a half (7.5) favorite over Michigan State suggesting the early money was being placed Notre Dame.

Michigan State struggled in their season opening win over Furman limping to a 28-13 victory.  That Spartans, a 2015 College Football Playoff team, held just an eight point lead until there was less than five remaining minutes.  Still, being a seven point favorite over Michigan State comes as a bit of a surprise considering the Irish already have a notch in the loss column this year from opening weekend.

Notre Dame has won three straight over Michigan State and were the lower ranked team twice in that three game span.  In 2012, the Irish beat the then 10th ranked Spartans in east Lansing 20-3 and in 2011 an unranked Irish team took down the  15th ranked Spartans 30-13 in Notre Dame Stadium after opening the 2011 season with back to back losses.

It will be interesting to see how the betting line on this one changes throughout the week.  While we normally don’t talk much about gambling or point spreads here, the line movement usually gives a good indication of how bettors are placing their money.

For instance, a big six point opening spread suggests to me that Vegas was trying to make Michigan State an attractive betting option.  Initially at least it doesn’t look like that has happened with the line moving to -7.5 for Notre Dame.  It could mean nothing, but it could also mean that those in the know aren’t convinced that Michigan State’s struggles were just opening week jitters.

Michigan State’s early season bye is working in Notre Dame’s favor as well.  While it is typically a disadvantage to face a big opponent off of their bye week, the Spartans likely started planning for Notre Dame well in advance of their early bye week.  With such an early bye week though, the Spartans didn’t really get a chance to get into a groove following their week one contest either.

Following a lackluster performance against Furman, Michigan State probably would have preferred to have a game this weekend to get some of their new starters more work – including new starting quarterback Tyler O’Connor.

The betting line means very, very little in the end; but for now it is at least a positive sign that not only did Notre Dame open as the favorite, but the line continued to trend in their favor.


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  1. Jesse 3 years ago

    Notre Dame is being led by the ultimate villain, the one that abandoned a team in Cincinnatti that fell apart after the heartbreaking stunt pulled by ND. Brian Jelly promised that team his devotion only to leave them right before their bowl game. And it was their first bowl game. Brian Kelly is bad for ND and ND is bad for the Catholic school image. After the recent scandal involving it’s players ND is now seen as the new ‘Canes. Win at all cost. Pick up players that are among the best in the country. Never mind their character. The Navy and Army team has more solid character in each of them despite having no blue chip players. They win on character. ND wins with thugs. With ND owning NBC as a booster and having all the premier players (albeit all the thugs) get to cherry pick their opponents. Now, ND rests on its fame as a football legend, not on their Catholic values. ND after all has sold itself to the Devil.

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    1. Mike 3 years ago

      I hear that there is a bowl game on Omaha die this pitiful team. They are awful! Could be the last year for BK. Can only hope.

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  2. Ron Burgundy 3 years ago

    And yet here you are posting about it.

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  3. David 3 years ago

    The hate for the best qb Notre Dame has had in decades. Just sad. It’s called being a leader. Frankly, I don’t even know what to say about that criticism.

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  4. David 3 years ago

    Saw some really positive play out of T. Coney. He was flying around making plays. Hope he can continue to make plays and stay healthy. However, very disappointed in the interior line play. Getting blown off the line. Expected much better play on the interior.

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  5. Bruce G. Curme 3 years ago

    I think we need to eliminate the penalties (almost 100 yards in the first half). If we make even a third of those kind of penalties MSU will eat us up.
    On the other hand, when we do not shoot ourselves in the head, we have one of the most explosive offenses in the country.
    By the way, that was a fumble. I was sitting right there in row 30 staring right at it.
    Also by the way – it’s interesting that the Big 12 Commissioner suspended his replay crew, noting that “if a call is egregious enough, it should be replayed” or something like that. He must have found the time to look the word egregious up in a dictionary between week one and week two. The phrase Big 12 replay crew is becoming an oxymoron. Gundy knew the rule, but I guess it’s asking too much to expect these officials to actually know the rules.
    Bruce Curme
    La Crosse, Indiana

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    1. Mike 3 years ago

      Did not deserve to win plain and simple have to man up

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  6. Frank Vitovitch 3 years ago

    @SubwayAlum, Kizer isn’t being a good team, he is being a starting quarterback. That’s his job now and it’s exactly what he should be doing. No one would ever complain if a starter was doing that and say Tommy Rees were the backup at the time. I spent a lot of time this summer writing that I thought Zaire would be the guy, but Kizer has earned the right and he is doing exactly what he should be doing.

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  7. SubwayAlum 3 years ago

    My take after 2 games… it looks like DK wants to run the O and the team at the same time. Might even be taking pleasure in rubbing “I’m #1” in MZ’s face…first he makes the announcement not BK that he was chosen to start game 2, then he takes on a coaching role when MZ is running the O. He counsels players as they exit the field both on good and bad actions. Some will argue that he’s being a good ‘teammate’. I say, sit down, let MZ have his (limited) time in the spotlight w/o you nosing in on everything! Doesn’t it seem like he’s calling his number more often than not when inside the 5? I think he’s a selfish player…me, me, me.

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  8. Mike "King" Kelly 3 years ago

    remember the Zulus at Rorkes drift. The Irish will not be taking prisoners this weekend. Ara will be carried off the field on the shoulders of the Fighting Irish!

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    1. Mike 3 years ago

      If only he was the coach MSU by 7

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