College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions: Your Saturday Betting Guide for Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin (Sept. 25)

College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions: Your Saturday Betting Guide for Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin (Sept. 25) article feature image
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Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Jack Coan.

Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin Odds

Notre Dame Odds +6.5 (-120)
Wisconsin Odds -6.5 (+100)
Moneyline +190 / -235
Over/Under 44 (-115 / -105)
Time 12 p.m. ET
TV FOX
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Back in May, the first Game of the Year numbers were posted, and Notre Dame and Wisconsin in Week 4 became my first selection off the board.

Fast forward to this past weekend, the opening betting odds for this game were near the Game of the Year number of Wisconsin -3.5. Heavy betting action in favor of the Badgers has sent this number near a touchdown, leaving early Wisconsin investors the option to buy out or let it ride.

Notre Dame has had the luck of the Irish thus far in the season, surviving an overtime in Tallahassee followed by a come-from-behind field goal victory over Toledo.

Despite having the lesser Success Rate, Notre Dame covered against Purdue thanks in part to two turnovers by the Boilermakers. Wisconsin will be fresh off two weeks of rest after a heavyweight knockout loss against Penn State and a thrashing of Eastern Michigan.

The sample-set is limited for the Badgers, but early wagers have been all “On, Wisconsin!”


Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin Betting Preview

Saturday, Sept. 25
12 p.m. ET
FOX

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Jack Coan Redemption 

With the Ian Book clock expiring, Notre Dame was in the market for a new quarterback.

Jack Coan had been under center for Wisconsin since the 2017 season, leading the Badgers to a blowout victory over Miami in the 2018 Pinstripe Bowl.

Head coach Paul Chryst favored freshman Graham Mertz to be the starting quarterback, giving Coan the chance to talk with other teams through the transfer portal.

After Notre Dame’s loss to Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal, Coan officially made his way to South Bend.

there he goes ✌️@jcoan17 @Kyrenwilliams23 | #GoIrish pic.twitter.com/9JbiQns6bf

— Notre Dame Football (@NDFootball) September 18, 2021

The super senior threw a game free of turnover-worthy plays against Purdue, logging four big-time throws despite four drops by receiving targets.

Coan has been under constant harassment with 15 sacks and 42 pressured dropbacks in 118 attempts. Mobility has always been a concern with Coan behind any offensive line, and Notre Dame’s rank of 116th in Havoc Allowed and 122nd in Line Yards points out the struggles for the Irish offense.

Despite heavy blitz from opposing teams, Coan has yet to record a turnover-worthy play in pressured dropbacks.

Until head coach Brian Kelly is ready to field a highly-touted freshman under center, Coan will continue to play game manager despite a 7-of-22 mark on passes over 20 yards.


Kyle Hamilton: Best Safety in College Football?

Notre Dame has arguably the best safety in college football.

No matter how the PFF rankings are sliced, Kyle Hamilton is a top-five safety in slot coverage, interceptions and opposing NFL quarterback rating when targeted.

Hamilton changes the game plan for opposing offenses and supports the Notre Dame rank of top 35 in Defensive Havoc and 35th in coverage.

🚨 KYLE HAMILTON INT 🚨pic.twitter.com/Nscgd1dULP

— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 18, 2021

Mertz has played it safe through two games against the Nittany Lions and Eagles.

The Wisconsin quarterback has thrown 23 passes between zero and nine yards between the hash marks compared to 29 attempts to all other zones on the field.

Notre Dame’s pass coverage in short-yardage situations between the tackles is paramount to the Irish’s success.

Although Notre Dame has run a 4-3 scheme with new defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, expect Hamilton to be involved in every single play.

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Wisconsin Badgers

Explosiveness Eludes Wisconsin Offense

In a two-game sample set, Wisconsin is one of the worst offensive explosiveness teams in the country, recording just three plays over 20 yards.

Isaac Guerendo and Chez Mellusi each had plays of 60 yards on the ground against Eastern Michigan, but the passing game failed to record a single 20-yard pass against one of the worst secondaries in the MAC.

ROCKET MAAAAN 🧑‍🚀

🚀 @isaacguerendo pic.twitter.com/fTfGr9pX3T

— Wisconsin Football (@BadgerFootball) September 16, 2021

The highlights on the ground give the impression that the Badgers running back unit is back to the days of Jonathan Taylor or Montee Ball.

Both Guerendo and Mellusi average less than 2.8 yards after contact, and no Wisconsin running back has created more than six missed tackles.

This is a highly successful ground unit with a 59% Success Rate in standard downs and a Stuff Rate well below the national average, but the Badgers have recorded just two explosive drives in 24 offensive possessions.


Stuff Rate Specialists

Wisconsin is sure to have rushing attempts in standard downs snuffed out on the defensive side of that ball against Notre Dame. The Badgers rank second in Defensive Rushing Success Rate and 12th in Line Yards.

In 32 opponent rushing attempts, Wisconsin has stuffed more than half and allowed just one run to go past 12 yards. Notre Dame is 124th in Offensive Rushing Success Rate, which spells trouble for Irish running back Kyren Williams.

Notre Dame will be forced into passing downs ahead of schedule, allowing an opportunistic defense to create turnovers.

We LOVE a @BadgerFootball pick by @burton_donte.👏 pic.twitter.com/GUQ2C131SI

— Wisconsin On BTN (@WisconsinOnBTN) September 12, 2021

The Badgers were the best defense in the nation at stopping explosive plays in 2020. This season has been more of the same.

Wisconsin stands top-25 in Defensive Havoc but has really shined when opponents are in scoring range. After games against Eastern Michigan and Penn State, the Badgers have allowed 1.8 points per opponent drives past the 40-yard line.


Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin Matchup Analysis

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

Notre Dame Offense vs. Wisconsin Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
124
2
Line Yards
122
12
Pass Success
78
8
Pass Blocking**
23
70
Big Play
41
11
Havoc
116
24
Finishing Drives
92
7
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Wisconsin Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense

Offense

Defense

Edge

Rush Success
24
17
Line Yards
63
42
Pass Success
13
50
Pass Blocking**
93
66
Big Play
120
58
Havoc
25
29
Finishing Drives
124
82
**Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling
19
49
PFF Coverage
35
113
Middle 8
96
106
SP+ Special Teams
50
62
Plays per Minute
36
110
Rush Rate
51.2% (85)
66.5% (12)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin Betting Pick

While the spread has been hammered in the market by investors grabbing a line on the Badgers, the key number of seven is where Notre Dame is expected to see buy-back.

Notre Dame struggles offensively to keep drives on the move and converted into points, evidenced by a Finishing Drives mark of 92nd in the country. Coan deserves credit for a constant attack in a crowded pocket, but sustaining drives will continue to be an issue for the Irish.

As for Wisconsin, asking an offense that is in the bottom 10 in offensive explosiveness with a Finishing Drives rank of 124th to cover a spread of a touchdown may be too much without an assist from a chaos-minded defense.

The Badgers will move the chains, and with a tempo rank of 110th in FBS, there will be plenty of opportunity for the sold-out Soldier Field crowd to grab an Old Style beverage and not miss a score.

With our Action Network projection at Wisconsin -4.5, the side is a no-play with the consideration to Notre Dame at a flat +7.

With both offenses running slow tempo without explosiveness and both defenses ranking top-25 in Havoc, there is every reason to think there will be numerous drives ending in a punt.

With an Action Network totals projection at 45, there could be some value in letting these teams try to establish the run through the first half.

The Wisconsin defense will limit all explosive plays from Notre Dame, while the Irish will have Hamilton patrol the hash marks, where Mertz is most comfortable.

Without a running back generating yards after contact on both sides, the first-half under is the play.

Pick: First Half Under 23 or Better

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