NCAAF Match Preview: Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Louisville Cardinals

Time: 8:00 p.m. EST

Notre Dame has made it a habit of playing well here in the regular season – it’s just the College Football Playoff games that have given them the most trouble. Tonight’s game against Louisville is a very important one, considering they’ll be facing a tough Georgia team in three weeks. If the Fighting Irish stumble in their season opener, it could make that Georgia matchup even that more difficult.

Notre Dame Betting Form

The Fighting Irish return quarterback Ian Book, who has the starting job all to himself. That should give him a lot more confidence going forward, and ultimately could make this Notre Dame offense even more explosive in the process. However, injuries to key players at wide receiver and tight end could make this a slow start out of the gate.

Notre Dame typically boasts one of the best recruiting classes year after year, but some of the injuries could be too much to overcome – at least from the aspect of being a dominant team. The Fighting Irish will have a much better roster than most of the teams they play this season, and tonight is one of those instances.

Louisville Betting Form

Last season was an uncharacteristic one for Louisville, as it went 2-10 overall and 1-11 against the spread. Under new head coach Scott Satterfield, we should see this team have a renewed sense of purpose in trying to get back to the glory days, which weren’t too long ago.

The key for Louisville keeping this game close could be the defense, which is now led by Bryan Brown from Appalachian State. His 3-4 scheme will help put that unit in a much better position to succeed, given the personnel that’s on this roster.

Betting Pick: Louisville (+18.5)

Brian Kelly usually has this Notre Dame team ready to roll, but this 18.5-point spread is a huge number to cover – especially on the road. Missing tight end Cole Kmet and receivers Michael Young and Kevin Austin could very well get this offense off to a slow start, and the Fighting Irish will also have a new kicker and punter on their roster from last season.

A lot of people are sleeping on this Louisville team after last year’s season-long meltdown, but with the new coaching staff and a scheme that fits the personnel much better, we should see plenty of good things.

Al Walsh
Al Walsh Chief Sports Writer