Notre Dame vs. Purdue Prediction: Can Fighting Irish Get Their First Decisive Win?
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Purdue Boilermakers
When: Saturday, September 18
Game Time: 2:30 PM ET
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN
TV Network: NBC
Notre Dame vs. Purdue Spread: Notre Dame -7
Notre Dame vs. Purdue Total: 58.5
Notre Dame vs. Purdue Prediction
It hasn't been pretty for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their first two games of the season, but at the end of the day, Notre Dame found a way to win, escaping with down to the wire, narrow victories against Florida State and Toledo. They ended up going 0-2 ATS as favorites in those two games, and the Fighting Irish will welcome the Purdue Boilermakers to South Bend for this game. Purdue has started the season going 2-0 SU, and ATS notching point spread covering wins against Oregon State and UConn in their first two games.
Notre Dame lost a ton of production from a defense that last year was a very strong unit. We've not seen them play as well on that side of the football in their first two games, giving up some big plays through the air and struggling to stop the run yielding 198 rushing yards per game, ranking them 107th in the nation against the run.
Purdue has a solid offense that will provide another test for this struggling Notre Dame defense. The Boilermakers have gotten strong play from the Quarterback position with Jack Plummer, who has completed 73.8% of his passes for 558 passing yards and a 6-0 TD-INT. Purdue has two outstanding Wide Receivers leading them David Bell and Payne Durham, who have already combined for 429 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns between them in the first two games. It should prove to be a challenge for a Notre Dame defense that has yet to get stops against their opponents to begin the season consistently.
The Notre Dame offense hasn't been without some issues as well. One of those issues has not been their Quarterback play from Wisconsin transfer Jack Coan who has been rock solid under center for the Irish as he has 605 passing yards while completing almost 70% of his passes and 6 Touchdowns in their first two games. In addition, he has support from Running Back Kyren Williams and Tight End Michael Mayer as his two biggest weapons for this Fighting Irish offense. Instead, the offensive line is where the problems are for this Notre Dame team on the offensive side of the football. They lost multiple offensive lineman starters from last year and started a freshman at left tackle before last week. Then he got injured to make an already thin and depleted offensive line an even more significant concern. We saw signs of that against Toledo as the Rockets were able to get a pass rush on the weakened Notre Dame offensive front, registering six sacks in that game. It's definitely troubling that Toledo from a smaller conference like the MAC was able to generate that much havoc against Notre Dame's offensive line, and it certainly points toward the possibility that Purdue might be able to have similar success making things more difficult for Notre Dame's offense to gain traction.
We have Purdue at 2-0 ATS and Notre Dame at 0-2 ATS entering this game. In general, I'm not looking to back teams that are winless ATS, and I'm not anxious to bet against undefeated teams early in the season because it's often a sign that the oddsmakers are off quite a bit with their power rating of those teams. Notre Dame was a rather mediocre +0.6 yards per play in their tight wins against Florida State and Toledo, and they are a combined -17.5 points with their ATS margin in those contests, which is an indication the betting markets are lagging behind on the potential decline from last season to this season with Notre Dame.
From a matchup standpoint, Purdue's defense looks to be improved this season as they have better numbers against the run and the pass than their opponent here in this game over the first couple of weeks. It's worth noting that Notre Dame is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games and 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games as home favorites, and they've struggled as home chalk repeatedly in recent years under head coach Brian Kelly. I expect a battle and not a blowout in this game which has me taking the points with Purdue. Keep an eye on the status of that Notre Dame offensive line heading into this game, and if they get their O-Line healthier for Saturday's game, the Over could also be worth a bet here.