Temple at Notre Dame
Saturday, 12:30 pm PT - NBC
CRIS Opener: Notre Dame -15 O/U 55.5
CRIS Current: Notre Dame -18.5 O/U 54.5
We have seen heavy Notre Dame support in the betting markets with this line up from the opener of -11 to -18/-18.5 at most sportsbooks. There is no doubt Temple faces its share of challenges following last season’s fantastic output in which the Owls were the top pointspread team in the nation and won the AAC. Matt Rhule departed for Baylor and as a result, the Owls have a new head coach in Geoff Collins who was the former DC at Florida. Temple will be installing new systems and schemes on both sides of the football and they must replace their former starting quarterback Phillip Walker. Walker was erratic more times than not so his departure isn’t significant. But there is uncertainty at the position heading into the opener (a starter has yet to be named) although it appears that sophomore Logan Marchi has the inside track at the job. Whoever starts will not be devoid of pieces around him as Temple returns three starters on the offensive line, boasts one of the top receiving groups in the AAC, and features solid running back Ryquell Armstead. The defense is in decent shape despite all the personnel and coaching changes. The Owls welcome back three quality starters in the secondary though the pass rush could be lacking after Haason Reddick’s departure to the NFL along with a couple key players.
Temple going on the road to face a marquee foe with a lot of changes isn’t easy but Notre Dame has plenty of question marks of its own. Notre Dame will have a new starting quarterback in Brandon Wimbush and will also be installing new systems with Memphis’ Chip Long taking over as OC and Mike Elko takes over the reins as DC after a stint at Wake Forest. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly went a long way to upgrade the talent on defense and that group should gradually improve but with coordinator changes and scheme changes on both sides of the ball, there could be some growing pains early. Kelly is on the hot seat and the pressure is on to perform and I’m not necessarily excited about backing teams and specifically coaches in that kind of spot in the first week of the season. Temple is 6-1 ATS in its last seven road games and 10-1 ATS over the last three seasons as an underdog. Notre Dame is just 19-28 ATS as home favorites since 2007. I need to see a strong performance on both sides of the ball from Notre Dame before I can back them in this price range. In the end, I’ll grab Temple plus the points at a generous number.