Notre Dame opened up as a touchdown and two point conversion favorite over Northwestern on Sunday on the heels of their 22 point win over Navy and Northwestern’s upset of Wisconsin. The two face each other on Saturday evening at 7:15 PM on ESPN as we found out officially on Sunday as well.
Notre Dame has been hit or miss against the spread this year with the Irish covering four times and failing to cover the other. The four covers for Notre Dame were Michigan, Stanford, Virginia Tech, and Wake Forest. The four times the Irish didn’t cover include the close calls against Ball State, Pitt, and Vanderbilt, and then this past weekend as well. Despite the 22 point win, the Irish were 24 point favorites.
Northwestern is also 4-4 against the spread this year like the Irish. They are 2-3 straight up as well against the spread though. The game will be played in the friendly confines of Ryan Field – the first time the two schools will face off there in over 40 years. The Wildcats covered the 14.5 point spread in their matchup with Michigan earlier this season as well. The Wolverines are the only other currently ranked opponent Northwestern has faced this year though we know from Notre Dame’s head to head win, the Irish are hands down the superior team.
The 8 point spread is probably right about what you would expect in this one. Notre Dame has been a 20+ point favorite four times this season and they failed to cover all four times. In every other game this season, the Irish were a less than 10 point favorite and they covered every time.
Notre Dame has fared better on the road against the spread this year where they are 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread. Notre Dame has won by an average of 24.3 points in their three road games this season.
Northwestern lost their first three games at home this season to Akron, Duke, and Michigan before winning their last two against Wisconsin and Nebraska. Northwestern is a solid program who already gave Michigan a scare and just knocked off a weak Wisconsin team. This game will be their “super bowl” though.