Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin odds, prediction, betting trends for FOX Big Noon Kickoff game



No. 12 Notre Dame and No. 18 Wisconsin meet in a neutral-site matchup at Soldier Field on Saturday. 

Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. in the Big Noon Kickoff game on FOX. The Irish and Badgers were supposed to meet last year at Lambeau Field, but the game was canceled because of COVID-19. 

Notre Dame (3-0) is an underdog in this matchup despite the higher ranking. Quarterback Jack Coan, a Wisconsin transfer, has eight TDs and two interceptions through three starts. Irish coach Brian Kelly can earn his 106th victory at the school, which would break the record set by legendary coach Knute Rockne. 

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Wisconsin (1-1) had a bye week to prepare and cannot afford a second loss after the season-opener against Penn State. Quarterback Graham Mertz has struggled in those first two games with no TDs and two interceptions, but the Badgers have a nasty defense that allows just 33 rushing yards per game. 

This is a fun matchup with College Football Playoff implications. With that in mind, here is a look at what bettors need to know for the matchup between the Irish and Badgers. 

Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin odds 

  • Spread: Wisconsin -5.5
  • Over/under: 46.5
  • Moneyline: Wisconsin -250, Notre Dame +198

Three trends to know  

— The Badgers are 10-16 ATS against ranked opponents under Chryst since 2015. Wisconsin is 8-3 S/U after a bye in the same stretch. 

— Notre Dame is 14-8 S/U against Big Ten opponents under Kelly. That includes victories in four of their last five games. 

— The Irish are 22-6 S/U with a rest disadvantage under Kelly. So the Badgers’ bye week should not be an excuse here. 

Three things to watch  

— Notre Dame’s offensive line. The Irish have struggled to run the football through three games with an average of 2.9 yards per carry. That’s a departure from their normal standard, and Wisconsin’s run defense is stout. The Badgers have allowed just 1.8 yards per carry and one rushing first down. Kyren Williams’ 51-yard TD against Purdue in Week 3 was a start for Notre Dame, but they must establish the running game against Wisconsin early. 

— Graham Mertz big game. The Badgers have a solid rushing attack around Chez Mellusi (265 yards, 5.2. ypc.), but this is a chance for Mertz, who has yet to throw a TD through two games. Mertz threw two red-zone interceptions late in the loss to Penn State, and Notre Dame has arguably the best defensive player in the FBS in safety Kyle Hamilton, who has 21 tackles and three interceptions. 

— Slow starts. Both teams have had sluggish starts on the offensive side. The Badgers are outscoring opponents 7-0 in the first quarter, and the Irish are being outscored 16-14 by their opponents in the first quarter. Defensive coordinators Marcus Freeman and Jim Leonhard might be more aggressive than usual with their blitz schemes as a result, especially on third down. Coan and Mertz must avoid the big interception in those situations. 

Stat that matters

Wisconsin’s opponents have converted just 20.8% of their third-down tries. Notre Dame has limited opponents to a 37% conversion rate. In a game that will have a slugest feel, staying out of third-and-long on both sides will be critical. Tight ends Michael Mayer and Jake Ferguson will be targeted frequently in those situations. 

Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin prediction 

This is a big spot for Coan, who has played well in three starts for the Irish and must block the distraction of going against his former team. Wisconsin will try to dominate time of possession — their opponents average just 18:46 in TOP per game. If that happens the Irish might not be able to escape with another victory. But in this game, Coan will hit Mayer and Avery Davis for long TDs, and Notre Dame will pull out a last-minute victory. 

Final score: Notre Dame 24, Wisconsin 23 



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