Purdue Boilermakers vs. Notre Dame Fighting Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

Purdue Boilermakers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. No. 22 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday, September 8th, 2012/3:30 p.m. EST
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: Purdue +14.5/ND -14.5
Over/Under Total: 51.5

Back from Ireland and their special regular season kickoff game across the ocean, now the 22nd-ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish are ready to host their home opener when they welcome the Purdue Boilermakers into Notre Dame Stadium Saturday on NBC.

The Irish may be a little jet-lagged and red-eyed for a while, but at least they have an impressive, 50-10, victory over Navy to show for their extra long opening trip to Dublin. QB Everett Golson was decent in his first start behind center for the Golden Domers (12-of-18, 144 yards, TD), but with running backs Theo Riddick (107 yds., 2 TD) and George Atkinson III (99 yds., 2 TD) carving up big chunks of yards the sophomore quarterback wasnt asked to do too much.

Meanwhile, Purdue launched their 2012 campaign with the obligatory beat-down of a smaller school, scoring a 48-6 victory over Eastern Kentucky last weekend in the opener. Robert Marve threw for 295 yards and three scores, the offense rolled to 547 yards and 33 first downs, and the defense held Eastern Kentucky to just 190 yards of offense, so on paper it looks like the Boilermakers are prepared for the real first test come Saturday in Notre Dame.

The sportsbook managers out in Las Vegas and offshore seem to disagree with the notion that the Boilermakers are ready however, setting the opening betting line with Notre Dame as 14-point favorites. Most of the early public money is heavy on the Irish (go figure), so its up to 14.5 at most online sportsbooks already and could climb higher before kickoff.

The over/under total is only open at a few sportsbooks already, and so far the few with a number on the board are listing the total at 51.5.

With last years starter at QB Tommy Rees now eligible to play after serving his one-game suspension, it will be interesting to see if Notre Dame makes a change from Golson or if he gets a quick hook if he struggles a little. Either way, I dont think it will matter because the Irish will try and force-feed the running game again this week against the Purdue front seven on defense.

The Notre Dame running game is what sparked them to last years 38-10 romp, with Cierre Wood (191 yards, TD) and Jonas Gray (94, TD) leading the way for 287 rushing yards and a 7.2 yards per carry average. Wood will miss this week as week-two of his two-game suspension, but Riddick and Atkinson III looked very capable versus Navy last Saturday.

Purdues offense with Marve was terrible last year, so most Boiler Backers are hoping for something a little better this year. Even with the formidable front seven for the Irish, the Boilermakers have to find a way to get RB Akeem Shavers going on early downs to take pressure off of Marve to make plays on his own if they want any chance at all to hang around in this game. And they certainly cant have five turnovers on offense like they did last week against Eastern Kentucky.

If youre a fan of following trends, then youll like the Boilermakers this week. In the ND-Purdue rivalry the past few years its actually been the underdog that has enjoyed the success (Dog is 5-2 ATS in last seven). Plus, the road team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight.

Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im on the fence in this game. At first look I was all over Purdue as two-touchdown dogs, but after looking deeper I was surprised to see that the Boilermakers werent quite as impressive as I thought in week one (5 turnovers, allowed over 3 yards per carry). Now Im not so sure anymore. Notre Dame is always so over-hyped and such a public team Im generally scared off of them anyway, but since Im struggling internally I usually just stick with my initial gut instinct. So Im taking Purdue plus the 14.5 points. As you can tell from my helter skelter analysis, there are better games on the board this weekend!

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