Temple Owls (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. No. 14 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date and Time: Saturday, August 31, 2014, 3:30 pm EST
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Ind.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TU +30/ND -30
Over/Under Total: 53
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Notre Dames dream season came crashing down on them in the BCS National
Championship game only seven months ago, but the Fighting Irish
get their first chance to pick up the pieces and try and forget it when
they host the Temple Owls in the 2013 season opener Saturday
afternoon in Notre Dame Stadium.
So much has happened in South Bend since the loss too, including the bazaar Manti Teo girlfriend drama, coach Brian Kelly being courted by NFL teams and the dismissal of starting quarterback Everett Golson enough to almost make Notre Dame slip off the radar all the way down to preseason No. 14 on some polls. With another rough ND schedule on the horizon, an opening day test from the Owls could be exactly what the Irish and QB Tommy Rees need to break the seal on Saturday.
Temple will be starting new again at head coach, this time kicking off the Matt Rhule-era as he opens his first year leading the Owls with only three starters back on offense and a host of other issues in Philly. Lets just say it could be rough as an Owls fan this year, with most people who follow Big East football (now AAC) all predicting a last or near last place finish for Temple in 2013.
The boys who set the odds opened Saturdays tilt with Notre Dame as 30-point favorites at home, and for the most part it has held and continues to sit at that same number. There are a few 29.5s listing on the board in Las Vegas, but if youre betting offshore the Irish are still a solid minus-30 at most online sports betting sites. The over/under total opened at 53 at the offshore books, but there are a few 52.5s if youre willing to pay juice to move the number.
Rees does have 18 starts in his Golden Domer career, so its not like Notre Dame is starting from scratch on offense this season. George Atkinson III will have to step up to the feature back role, but the questions for the Irish on offense give Kellys recruiting scores the past few years a chance to play next man in. Temples defense returns all three linebackers from last years team so it should be able to stop the run, but last years Owls defense ended 90th in the country, so be careful what you wish for as they say.
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Still Notre Dames biggest asset is its defense, and even though Teo left for the NFL, guys like Stephon Tuitt, Dan Fox and Louis Nix decided to stay and should give the Irish another championship-caliber unit. Three of the four in the secondary return as well, and considering that Temples coach Rhule has completely changed the Owls from a run-first team to a spread, no-huddle scheme (personnel or not), there could be all sorts of problems for Temple in the opener.
This will be the first meeting in school histories between these two, so youll be hard-pressed to find to many applicable trends or statistics on this matchup. At first Temples 13-3 ATS record against Independents makes you do a double take, but beating Army and Navy shouldnt count and their 1-5 ATS in the last six non-conference games is a more likely result. Notre Dames 1-4 ATS mark in the last five at home doesnt inspire confidence.
If there is a reliable trend it could be the under going 20-7 in the last 27 games in Notre Dame Stadium. Temple does tend to play over a lot (8-0 in L8 vs. Indy), but when you allow 31-plus points a game thats going to happen.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I wouldnt for a second be surprised if Notre Dame covers this number by halftime, but chasing five scores isnt a bet you make unless you’re a gambler. The best value is probably on the under of 53, as I see a 38-10 or 41-7 type of game on Saturday. Ill take the under of 53.
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