In this matchup last year, Notre Dame barely won, hitting a field goal with a couple seconds left on the clock. At that point, no one could even imagine the Fighting Irish would go on to be undefeated. Barely beating Purdue at home isn’t the sign of a great team. Now with the Game being in Purdue, and Notre Dame being even bigger favorites on the road, one would think the Boilermakers gained some confidence in last year’s Game. Confidence or not, the Fighting Irish are still -20.5 point favorites on the road. Odds courtesy of GTBets.
Obviously, this line was set fairly high for a reason. Even though the Boilermakers got a new coach, they haven’t looked all that different. They were killed by Cincinnati in their first Game and barely beat Indiana State last weekend. To think they can compete with a team like Notre Dame would be foolish. Or would it? Didn’t we think the same thing last year?
The ever so important betting trends from 5dimes.com show us that a whopping 95% of the action taken in on this Game so far as been on the Irish. No surprise here. The Irish have always been a public team. Add in the woeful Purdue performances thus far and bingo, a wave of Notre Dame money is being pushed through betting windows. Just as interesting here is the fact that the number hasn’t budged all week. Most books opened the Irish -20.5. The early books had The Irish -23, but that was just a couple of shops. By and large, -20.5 was and still is the number.
Purdue has a completely different offense from 2012 with new players at every skill position. The biggest change happens to be at quarterback where senior Rob Henry has the reigns. Through two Games, Henry hasn’t surpassed 161 yards yet and doesn’t have a passing touchdown. Considering Indiana put 73 points on Indiana State, it’s saying quite a lot that Purdue’s QB couldn’t even throw a TD. Henry is joined by Akeem Hunt in the backfield, who’s going to get the ball a lot this year. Hunt ran the ball 22 times last week and will continue to get carries.
Notre Dame’s defense gave up 41 points last Saturday, but that was against a very dynamic offense in Michigan. Purdue is by no means close to Michigan’s level. The previous week, Notre Dame stopped an offensive deficient Temple side. Will they be able to do the same at Purdue?
The Boilermakers’ defense is the main worry in this one. If they can play as well as last year’s matchup that would be perfect for them, but actually doing that is going to take a lot. They allowed 221 rushing yards to Cincy, who eventually got destroyed by Illinois last weekend. Purdue shut down ND’s run Game last year and is a main reason it was able to make a close Game of it. That will be the goal in this Game, stop Notre Dame’s run and let Tommy Rees go to work.
Rees hasn’t been all that bad, but he still has a bit of a turnover problem with two key INTs thrown last weekend. Rees is joined by a lot of new faces from last year. Amir Carlisle leads the RBs right now, but not by much and TJ Jones has slowly made himself a favorite for Rees in the passing Game.
Notre Dame doesn’t have many good numbers against the spread, but neither does Purdue. The Fighting Irish are 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall, while the Boilermakers are a disappointing 1-5 ATS in their last six home Games. If the defenses can step up once more for these teams, the over/under of 49 may not be hit. In the last Four meetings between these schools the under is 3-0-1.
It’s not that the public is always wrong. Heck, they may be right 50% of the time. But when 95% of the action is one way on a Game and the line is able to hold, that’s a pretty good time to step in and take a shot at going against the public. Whatever Purdue brings to the table, it should be multiplied in this Game due to the National TV exposure in prime time. We’d wait for this line to hit at least +21 before taking a shot, which is likely to happen at some point. Purdue +21 or more