Notre Dame Opens Season As Large Favorite Against Temple Owls

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The betting lines for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish’s season opener are set right in “statement victory” range for a team aiming to turn the page on a subpar season.

The Fighting Irish and quarterback Brandon Wimbush are listed as 18.5-point favorites against the Temple Owls with a 55-point total in their matchup on Saturday, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Over the past seven years under coach Brian Kelly, Notre Dame is 15-2 straight-up and 7-9-1 against the spread in home games where it was favored by at least 14.0 points, according to the OddsShark College Football Database. The Fighting Irish are also just 2-4 both SU and ATS in their last six games at Notre Dame Stadium.

The big line also stems from Temple, which was 10-4 SU and 12-2 ATS in 2016 while winning the American Athletic Conference, being a team in transition with first-year coach Geoff Collins and a still-open quarterback competition. The Owls have a promising true freshman QB in Troy Centeio, but it might be too soon to expect him to handle a full game, especially a season opener at Notre Dame.

Temple’s year-over-year roster turnover exacted a toll on its offensive line, pass rush and front seven. The Owls, who are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games, do have a shot at slowing Notre Dame down if RB Ryquell Armstead and their well-stocked receiving corps keep the first-down chains moving regularly.

Notre Dame was 4-8 SU and ATS last season, but looks loaded on offense, where Wimbush will be working with a receiving corps of Equanimeous St. Brown (6-foot-5), Miles Boykin (6-4), and Chase Claypool (6-4) that has more height than a low-major college basketball team. Notre Dame has four offensive linemen back, which in the long run might help with improving a rushing attack that ranked a dismal 80th in the country last season.

On the other side of the ball, Notre Dame’s defense against Temple’s offense, both units have been overhauled significantly since last season. Whichever one settles down first could dictate the flow of the game – and how high the combined total rises.  As noted, Temple will probably use at least two quarterbacks, but the Fighting Irish, with linchpins such as LB Nyles Morgan and CB-S Julian Clarke, will also line up in a 4-2-5 defense for the first time. Notre Dame brought in a new defensive coordinator, Mike Elko, after finishing 62nd in points allowed in 2016.

Notre Dame is 7-3 SU and 6-3-1 ATS in its last 10 home games in September. The total has gone under in four of Temple’s last five road games on the college football betting lines.