It seems like we’re getting more early-season matchups between heavyweights as teams attempt to bolster their CFP resume. And we have another top-20 battle on Saturday when the unbeaten Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Wisconsin Badgers at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Irish might be the worst 3-0 team in the country after narrow victories over Florida State and Toledo.
They also struggled last time out beating Purdue 27-13. Bucky had an additional week to prep for their former starting quarterback and should have a nice game plan to combat Jack Coan. Oddsmakers positioned Wisconsin as a 5-point favorite on the opening college football betting line.
The Week 4 college football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Wisconsin Badgers will take place at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday, September 25, 2021 and will be televised on FOX.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Wisconsin Badgers Odds
Notre Dame Fighting Irish +5 [BET NOW]
Wisconsin Badgers -5 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 47.5 [BET NOW]
Teams that match up well on the stat sheet and on the field have an odd spread. Unbeaten Notre Dame has looked anything but spectacular in the early season, but the Irish found ways to win, and in the end that’s all that matters. Beating Florida State in overtime and knocking off Toledo by field goal isn’t a confidence booster Irish backers are looking for.
Those teams are a combined 1-5 on the year with the lone victory Toledo’s take down of Norfolk State. The Irish got their first ATS win last week beating Purdue 27-13 as a 7.5-point favorite. Still, it wasn’t the most impressive showing. ND has had plenty of wins the last few seasons going 18-2 SU in their previous 20 games.
The opening loss to Penn State doesn’t look so bad now with the Nittany Lions off to a 3-0 start. Wisconsin rebounded from that setback crushing 26-point underdog Eastern Michigan 34-7 for the cover. They also had last week off to work on getting more from an offense that’s been stagnant. A stingy defense and sputtering offense has under bettors flocking to the Badgers. The UNDER is 2-0 this season and 6-1 in the previous seven games dating back to last season.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Any coach will tell his team a win is a win, and Brian Kelly preached that to his club after narrow victories over FSU and Toledo. ND was a converted touchdown favorite over the Noles and squeaked by in OT, 41-38. Playing at home as a 16.5-point fave against Toledo the Irish were again involved in a close game winning 32-29 on a late Coan touchdown pass. Even last week’s win and cover over Purdue had some drama. ND scored the final 10 points for the 27-13 verdict.
Notre Dame will have to play much better with a stretch of games against classy opponents. Following the Wisconsin tussle the Irish face Cincinnati, Virginia Tech, USC and North Carolina. The good news is that three of those games take place at Notre Dame Stadium. The bad news is that if they don’t play up to the competition the season will unravel in a hurry.
There are some intriguing storylines in this game. Not only are both teams ranked in the top-20, the Badgers face their former starting quarterback who will certainly have some motivation. Coan started 18 games during his Wisconsin career leading the club to a 10-4 mark and Rose Bowl berth in 2019.
The emergence of Graham Mertz forced the transfer to South Bend, and it’s Coan who has the better numbers this season. The Badgers desperately need Mertz to pick up the pace after he struggled in the loss to Penn State. He was more efficient in the EMU contest, but he’s yet to throw a touchdown pass this season.
Mertz can get by being average with a stifling defense backing him up. The Badgers have the worst passing attack in the Big Ten with only 175.5 yards per game. It’s a small sample size but you’d expect that number to be a little better.
The ground game has taken a lot of heat off Mertz averaging 263 yards, but Mertz has to start making plays, especially against equally talented opponents. Defensively the Badgers allow fewer than 200 yards per game and rank first nationally against the run. They allowed 92 total yards to EMU with the only points coming on a fourth-quarter pick six.
Notre Dame vs Wisconsin Prediction
Our Predictions: Notre Dame Fighting Irish +5 and UNDER 47.5
Notre Dame hasn’t looked sharp, but then again neither has Wisconsin. Having a week off to prepare will certainly help the Badgers and their defense is for real. I don’t see enough points to reach the total so I’m backing the UNDER, and the spread is just too big to ignore. As overrated as the Irish are, I’m taking them with the points to cover.
View all available college football odds.