Central Michigan vs Notre Dame Odds & Prediction: Fighting Irish to Roll

Central Michigan vs Notre Dame Odds & Prediction: Fighting Irish to Roll article feature image

Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Hartman (Notre Dame)

Central Michigan vs Notre Dame Odds

Saturday, Sept. 16
2:30 p.m. ET
Central Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
Notre Dame Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAF odds here.

Notre Dame (3-0) is off to a hot start, but Central Michigan (1-1) will look to slow it down.

Sometimes, digging into the metrics can reveal that a team isn’t who you thought they were. But in this case, Notre Dame may be even better than we believe.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at this Central Michigan vs. Notre Dame betting preview.

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Central Michigan Chippewas

I don’t think that we really know who the Chippewas are yet. In Week 1, they had just a 23rd-percentile Success Rate and third-percentile EPA per play against Michigan State. Last week, they took on New Hampshire — a respectable FCS team — and narrowly won, 45-42.

In its second game, Central Michigan's offense looked better, putting up 6.78 yards per play and a 69th-percentile EPA per play.

However, the New Hampshire offense had 8.41 yards per play and a 91st-percentile EPA per play. By postgame win expectancy, this game should have resembled something closer to a double-digit CMU loss (12.4 points).

The Chippewas mostly stick to the ground game, rushing at the 14th-highest rate in the country. As a result, they rank 89th in Rushing Success and 58th in PPA.

When forced to throw the ball, they've struggled. Central Michigan ranks 128th in Passing Success Rate and 120th in passing PPA.

The defense follows a similar path. Against the run, Central Michigan is a respectable 54th in Success Rate.  However, against the pass, CMU ranks 102nd in Success Rate and 120th in PPA. It's also 111th in Passing Explosiveness, which will be an issue against Sam Hartman and Notre Dame.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish

The Irish have outscored opponents 143-30. Easily beating Tennessee State and Navy isn't the most impressive resume in the world, but Notre Dame also went out and took care of NC State, 45-24, last weekend. 

The 21-point win was impressive, but SP+ actually had the adjusted margin of this game — based on post-game win expectancy — at 26.7 points.

Hartman has been one of the best quarterbacks in the country and is averaging 0.51 EPA per dropback. Notre Dame ranks 22nd in Passing Success Rate and eighth in passing PPA.

Overall, the Irish are second in Finishing Drives, 12th in Success Rate and have the 24th-most explosive offense in FBS.

We may still be underrating this offense's ceiling.

The Notre Dame defense hasn't been bad either. It ranks 13th in Success Rate and 35th in Finishing Drives, despite starting with the 104th-best field position.

The rushing defense ranks 44th in Success Rate, but the passing defense has been the strength, ranking eighth in Success Rate and 10th in PPA.

Central Michigan vs Notre Dame

Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Central Michigan and Notre Dame match up statistically:

Central Michigan Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense
Rush Success9043
Line Yards8224
Pass Success1289
Finishing Drives10433
Quality Drives10216
Notre Dame Offense vs. Central Michigan Defense
Rush Success2056
Line Yards6869
Pass Success20118
Finishing Drives5102
Quality Drives18105
Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling1883
PFF Coverage12665
Special Teams SP+44130
Middle 810741
Seconds per Play28.8 (91)30.0 (114)
Rush Rate67.4% (10)56.4% (40)

Central Michigan vs Notre Dame

Betting Pick & Prediction

I think this is a case of two teams trending in opposite directions. Notre Dame has been on a roll, and when looking at the underlying metrics, the Irish have been even better than the scoreboard has shown.

The opposite has been true for CMU, as it should be 0-2 with a loss to an FCS team.

This is a huge number to lay, but I just can’t back Central Michigan. Hartman and the Irish offense will have a field day against CMU, and the Chippewas don’t have enough offensive firepower to put up a fight against Notre Dame. 

I think the Irish can cover the 34.5 points and win with ease if they play like they have been early this season.

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