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College Football: Week 3 Best Bets - Central Michigan at Notre Dame

Notre Dame v NC State

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA - SEPTEMBER 9: Sam Hartman #10 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish drops back to pass against the NC State Wolfpack at Carter-Finley Stadium on September 9, 2023 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Notre Dame won 45-24. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)

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There’s no better feeling than cashing two bets in the same game. Thanks to a great showing from Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman and Audric Estime, we cashed -7, and Estime’s rushing prop over against North Carolina State.

Notre Dame’s excellent 3-0 start has them ranked 9th in the AP Top 25. Because of that fast start, the Fighting Irish are a massive -34.5 favorite this week as they play host to the Central Michigan Chippewas. The total is set at 51.5. All odds courtesy of Bet MGM Sportsbook.

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The Irish are a perfect 3-0 ATS with an average margin of victory of 37.7. The Chippewas are 1-1, but 0-2 ATS. The easy answer to bet this game is to take Notre Dame -34.5, but with big spreads, it’s essential to know if the big favorite is a team that likes to bury their opponent or take their foot off the gas when they are ahead.

With Marcus Freeman only being in his second year, the jury is still out on the type of coach he is. However, against Navy, they threw a 25-yard touchdown pass while up 35-0 in the fourth quarter. Against Tennessee State, they were throwing with backups late in the fourth. In their last game against NC State, they threw three touchdown passes in the fourth, ultimately winning and covering.

Generally, in big games like this, I like to isolate my handicap. Central Michigan will likely struggle to contain both Hartman and Estime. Against Michigan State, Noah Kim was Patrick Mahomes through the air, and Nathan Carter was Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliot.

From an advanced analytics standpoint, all signs indicate trouble for the Chippewas. They are 107th in EPA margin, 56th in defense success rate, and 105th in offensive net points per drive. Those numbers often sound like a bunch of random data. Let’s sum that up by saying they don’t score as often as they should and allow the opposing offense to score at a higher-than-average margin.

There are a couple of angles in this game that I wouldn’t be opposed to you playing. Notre Dame’s team total over 44.5 is fine. They have hit their team total in five of their last seven. If you believe in Central Michigan, the over 51.5 isn’t too bad either. That number has hit in 10 of Notre Dame’s last 14 games.

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However, I am betting Notre Dame -34.5 (-110). I strongly lean on Central Michigan’s team total under 9.5 points. I’d prefer just betting on Notre Dame to win and cover. They are 3-0 ATS, eighth in EPA margin, 12th in offensive, and 14th in defensive success rate. More importantly, they are second in net points per drive.

Through two games, Central Michigan has been sacked six times. They were terrible in third-down success going 3/16 and could not get the ground game going. Notre Dame’s Howards Cross II mentioned how they have taken a step forward, stopping the run. It’s been evident in two games and should continue through their third as they cruise to a win and cover over Central Michigan.

Bet: Notre Dame -34.5 (-110)