College Football Betting Odds & Pick for Purdue vs. Notre Dame: Fade the Fighting Irish in Week 3 (Sept. 18)
Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Notre Dame standout Kyren Williams.
Purdue vs. Notre Dame Odds
-105o / -110u
|Notre Dame Odds|
-105o / -115u
Not all 2-0 records are created equally, but we’ll see which one is more legitimate when Notre Dame hosts Purdue on Saturday in South Bend, Indiana.
The Irish have embraced every bit of “the luck of,” as they needed overtime to edge a Florida State team that just lost at home to Jacksonville State before storming back for a Week 2 win over Toledo.
Purdue’s two victories have been more straight forward, with victories against Oregon State and a hapless Connecticut program, but the level turns up a notch with the two-hour drive to Notre Dame Stadium.
The Irish opened as seven-point favorites, but can Purdue prove that Notre Dame is a pot of fool’s gold?
Purdue is right where it should be at this point in the season: 2-0 with a pair of wins by a combined margin of 58 points.
The Boilermakers face a real step up in competition in the form of Notre Dame, but it’s still a very winnable game for Jeff Brohm and company that would be a huge milestone for the Purdue program that has only won in South Bend twice since 1968.
As is the case with most Power Five teams at this point in the season, there are a whole lot of bloated offensive numbers to wade through and Purdue’s offense is no exception.
Against Oregon State and a UConn team fresh off a head-coach firing, the Boilermakers have averaged 481.5 yards per game and close to 40 points. Veteran Jack Plummer won the offseason quarterback battle over Aidan O’Connell and has looked good, passing for 558 yards, six touchdowns and no turnovers in three halves (he was pulled at halftime of the Huskies rout).
The Boilermakers have one of the best wideouts in the nation — even after losing Rondale Moore — in the form of David Bell. He has already caught three touchdown passes through three halves for a potent aerial attack that ranks 21st in Pass Success.
And given Notre Dame’s susceptibility to allowing big plays, the threat of Bell breaking for one over the top is real.
Purdue’s Rushing Success of 21st is tough to read into, given most of its damage has been in garbage time against inferior teams, and the Boilermakers only ranked 124th nationally with 81.5 yards per game in 2020.
Considering Notre Dame’s front seven is its strength and Jeff Brohm’s propensity to predominantly feature the passing game, Bell and Plummer will be of most concern for the Irish.
It’s been a slow start for defensive end George Karlaftis to the 2021 season, but he could very easily be the star of the show on national television.
While yet to record a sack this season, Karlaftis led the team in sacks before COVID-19 and injury cut his 2020 season short, and he recorded 17.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks as a true freshman in 2019.
Notre Dame’s offensive line is injured and has been an absolute sieve to begin this season. Purdue, somewhat amazingly, only has a single sack in 2021 (tied for the least in FBS), despite a much more average Havoc ranking of 45 that suggests the Boilermakers are generating pressure, they’re just not quite bringing the QB down.
Going against an Irish team that has already allowed 10 sacks, Purdue’s 4-3 defense is due for a few sacks with someone as talented as Karlaftis.
Purdue’s 17th-ranked Defensive Pass Success is fluffed up by the UConn game. Oregon State was able to passing for 306 yards against the Boilermakers, but Purdue was able to keep the Beavers out of the end zone through the air. Jack Coan should be able to have some success when he has a clean pocket, but Purdue’s secondary also isn’t some sort of huge liability.
Notre Dame’s 2-0 record is about as sturdy as a house of cards, but nonetheless, the Irish are undefeated and ranked No. 12 in the latest AP poll. In fact, no ranked team has a bigger discrepancy to its AP ranking and Collin Wilson’s Power Rating than the Irish do (12 vs. 37).
While Notre Dame has eked out a pair of wins against less-than-formidable foes — although Toledo could be the best team in the MAC — the Irish won’t be nearly as fortunate against a quality Big Ten team this week in Purdue.
Fighting Irish Offense
It’s not a sexy position group to talk about, but Notre Dame will live and die with its offensive line this year. Normally a factory for premium NFL talent, the Irish’s hog mollies have been their biggest liability.
Lack of a future professional at the quarterback position aside, it doesn’t matter who’s under center when the line is allowing 5.0 sacks a game, dead last in the Power Five.
Additionally, Notre Dame’s bread and butter was supposed to be its run game with Kyren Williams, but through two games, Williams’ 38% rushing efficiency rating is the worst ever in the Brian Kelly era among first- or second-string running backs.
Notre Dame ranks 120th in yards per carry at 2.66, a far cry from the 5.02 number in 2020, and the Irish have allowed 10.0 tackles for loss per game, which places them tied for 122nd in the nation, tied with the likes of Kansas and Middle Tennessee.
Now back to Notre Dame’s looming quarterback dilemma. Jack Coan has been fine this year — 605 yards on 47 of 68 passing for six touchdowns and two picks — but he’s about as cement-footed as they come, which is particularly an issue when your offensive line has functioned more like a colander than a wall.
Tyler Buchner saw his first collegiate time against Toledo, completing all three of his passes for 78 yards and a score, as well as recording 68 yards rushing.
Kelly said last Saturday he didn’t think of using Buchner on the game-winning drive led by Coan, but he also did nothing to dispel the notion that he wouldn’t be using Buchner going forward, which is potentially an interesting wrinkle as the offensive line continues to get healthier moving forward.
Fighting Irish Defense
While the issues on offense have been glaring, Notre Dame’s defense has been more of a mixed bag under new defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman.
The Irish have brought it when it comes to Havoc, ranking 22nd in the nation. Notre Dame’s 9.5 TFLs per game rank seventh in the FBS, and its 5.0 sacks per game are good for the the fourth-best mark in the nation.
Where the Irish, however, have struggled is in the explosive play department, ranking 100th in Big Plays Allowed. The defense has allowed four plays of at least 60 yards in length. By comparison the entire ACC has allowed just one, and Notre Dame only allowed three during Clark Lea’s entire three-year tenure in the DC position.
And with big plays come points. Notre Dame is allowing 33.5 points per game, another huge disparity from Lea’s time in South Bend.
The Irish only allowed more than 33 points during regulation twice in 38 games under Lea. Granted it came against inferior teams, Purdue’s offense has scored 30 and 49 points in its first two games.
Purdue vs. Notre Dame Matchup Analysis
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Purdue Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense
Notre Dame Offense vs. Purdue Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Purdue vs. Notre Dame Betting Pick
It seems like a yearly tradition, but Notre Dame continues to garner way too much love in the polls and from the public. It is incredibly lucky to be 2-0 this season against mediocre teams, yet the Irish are still ranked No. 12.
Purdue’s not exactly a threat to win the Big Ten West, but when this line opened at Notre Dame (-11.5), I quickly jumped on that. The number now obviously isn’t as good, but considering it wouldn’t be shocking for the Boilermakers to pull off the straight out upset, there’s still value here.
Notre Dame’s offensive line is going to be its Achilles heel until proven otherwise, and with Purdue having an All-Big Ten-caliber player at defensive end, it could be a long day for the Irish quarterbacks.
Additionally this is a look-ahead game for Notre Dame. The Irish play Wisconsin next week at Soldier Field, starting a five-game slate against four ranked opponents. Who’s to say the Irish won’t be a little distracted?
I’ll take Purdue +7 for a full unit, plus sprinkle a half unit on the Boilermakers via a moneyline wager.