Week 1 (8224) Notre Dame -6 over Temple on September 2nd.
99% of the time, you don't hear me say that a particular line is off more than a TD. The reality is the books and the markets are just too good to be off a number that much in today's day and age. The exception to the rule comes in the "very soft" off-season markets where for the most part, it is a bookmaker/oddsmaker's line vs my own line. In this case, Tony Miller and the Golden Nugget released some early lines on 13 Week 1 college football games. First, we must all applaud Tony Miller and the Golden Nugget crew for doing this so early in the off-season. Overall, these are pretty good opening lines as only one of them fell more than 3 points off my early handicapping and power ratings' line for Week 1.
However, not only was the above line off more than 3-points, it is the very rare case where the line in my opinion, is off more than a TD. First, let's break down where these teams were at the end of last season. Temple had arguably their best back-to-back seasons in school history winning 10 games each year and they took home the AAC championship in 2016. In the betting markets, they incredibly covered 12 straight games prior to the bowl loss to Wake Forest so they were very well thought of. On the other side, Notre Dame had arguably one of their worst seasons in school history going 4-8 straight up and ATS. According to my post-season power ratings, Temple might have even been a small favorite over Notre Dame on a neutral field so that's a starting point on why this line is relatively short.
Flash forward to this season and I believe the two teams are heading in opposite directions (hence the value on ND). First Temple has an entirely new coaching staff as former head coach Matt Rhule is off to Baylor while they hired Florida DC Geoff Collins who has never been a head coach before. Not only do the Owls have a new staff but they also are very inexperienced as they return only 10 starters (No. 114 in country). They lose their all-time leading passer in QB Phillip Walker and also one of their best RB's in school history in Jahad Thomas. Also because of the coaching change, they were late to the game and signed the worst recruiting class in the AAC (No. 119).
Notre Dame, meanwhile is in much better shape than a year ago as they welcome back 15 starters (only 10 a year ago). They made some upgrades on the coaching staff including hiring Wake Forest DC Mike Elko who just got done prepping against Temple in the bowl game (hidden factor). Keep in mind, ND was much better than their 4-8 record indicated a year ago as they lost 7 games by 8 points or less!
If you count 4-points of home field advantage for Notre Dame, it looks like there was only a slight adjustment made as far as Temple and Notre Dame go from the end of last season. Here's where I think the mistake was made as I downgraded Temple 4-5 points due to their inexperience and new staff while I upgraded Notre Dame 4-5 points off an outlier season. This would mean ND should be favorite by 8-10 points on a neutral and when you add in the home field advantage, the Irish should be laying close to 2 TD's right now.
I'm not the only one who sees value in Notre Dame as the current line at off-shore 5dimes.eu has ND -10.5 and early power ratings from ESPN's FPI (football power index) and also Bill Connelly's S&P ratings say ND should be laying more than 2 TD's here. Add it all up and it's why some of my biggest bets of the entire season are made this time of year.