Just the Facts

How have Brian Kelly's Irish fared as favorites and underdogs over his three seasons in South Bend? Our initial Just the Facts column of the 2013 season breaks it down…by the numbers.

Good news for Irish fans: despite the loss of the team's starting quarterback before training camp's first snap, those in the know (Vegas oddsmakers) have set Notre Dame as a favorite (10) or even money wager (at Michigan) in 11 of its 12 games for 2013.

Bad news for Irish fans: Vegas did the same prior to the 2011 season and Notre Dame lost four of 12 en route to the Champs Sports Bowl.

But the best news for Irish fans: third-year head coach Brian Kelly has won 18 of his last 19 games as a favorite, with only the infamous no-show vs. USC in October 2011 ending in defeat. (That impressive 18 for 19 streak is on the heels the Irish dropping five of their first 10 games under Kelly when labeled favorites.)

Just the Facts

A look at Brian Kelly's W-L record and -- less relevant to many, but oh-so-important to some -- his record as an underdog or favorite entering his fourth season in South Bend:

Overall W-L: 28-11 including wins in 20 of his last 24 outings. Its hard to recall Kelly beginning his career at 8-7, but that's where the Irish stood after a 35-31 loss in Ann Arbor in September 2011.

Against the Spread: 18-19-2 overall including a 7-6 mark against the spread last season.

Overall W-L (Home): 14-5 including eight straight victories, the longest streak since 1997-99 (10 straight)

Against the Spread (Home): A head-shaking 6-11-2 overall including a 2-4 mark last fall. Might want to avoid the ATM on your way to Irish games in South Bend...

Overall W-L (True Road): 9-3 including 4-0 last fall and wins in seven of his last eight.

Against the Spread (True Road Games): 7-5 including 3-1 last fall (Boston College covered vs. the Irish in Chestnut Hill).

Neutral-Site Record: 5-3 overall and the Irish are likewise 5-3 against the spread in neutral site battles. Neutral-site losses (and spread losses) include Navy (2010), Florida State (2011) and Alabama in the BCS Championship game.

As the Favorite: 23-6 overall but just 12-15-2 vs. the spread. As noted above, Notre Dame has won (outright) 18 of its last 19 as a favorite. The six outright losses were to Michigan (2010-11), Navy (2010), Tulsa (2010), South Florida (2011) and most recently USC (2011).

As the Underdog: 5-5 overall and 6-4 against the spread. Notre Dame has beaten Utah, USC, and Miami (2010) and both Michigan State and Oklahoma (2012) as game underdogs. The Irish have lost as underdogs at Michigan State (2010), to Stanford (2010-11), vs. Florida State (2011), and vs. Alabama (BCS Championship last season).

Record vs. Ranked Teams (at game time): 6-3 overall and 5-4 against the spread. Note to Irish fans wondering about the dearth of matchups vs. ranked foes over Kelly's 39-game slate: USC has not been ranked in its three meetings with Notre Dame and Michigan was not ranked in its first two, nor was Florida State in the 2011 Champs Sports Bowl.

Record as a ranked team: 12-3 with losses to Alabama last January and previously South Florida in the 2011 home opener and Stanford in the 2011 regular season finale. Eleven of Notre Dame's 12 wins as a ranked team under Kelly occurred consecutively from Game Two (Purdue) through season's end (USC) last fall; the other a 16-14 Senior Day struggle over Boston College in 2011.

Current Irish Odds

Each is subject to change and most will when games and early season results are in, but each is also a live betting line available through Golden Nugget as of today. Golden Nugget released just 250 game lines -- all 12 of Notre Dame's were included:

Notre Dame -24 vs. Temple: The Irish were favored over the Owls by 28 prior to Golson's expulsion. (It was the only game available with a point spread at the time.) Notre Dame is 2-1 in openers under Kelly but covered the spread just once, last year vs. Navy, a 50-10 victory in Dublin.

Notre Dame EVEN at Michigan: I assume this line will move to favor the Wolverines by at least a point by game time. Notre Dame has won in Ann Arbor once since 1993, recording a 17-10 upset of the Wolverines in 2005.

Notre Dame -14 at Purdue: Kelly's Irish cruised in their only trip to West Lafayette during his tenure, a 38-10 win in 2011. The Irish are 1-2 vs. the spread against Purdue under Kelly though most important, are 3-0 where it counts most. (Of note, Vegas lists Purdue as a 14-point underdog at Cincinnati in the Boilermakers opening game.)

Notre Dame -6 vs. Michigan State: Notre Dame has covered all three vs. the Spartans under Kelly though they lost once, 34-31 in overtime (MSU was favored by 3.5). The Irish have outscored Mark Dantonio's squad 51-14 in the last two meetings including a 31-13 ND win the last time the pair squared off in South Bend, 2011.

Notre Dame -2 vs. Oklahoma: This is likely the first line that could see a major swing: if Notre Dame is 4-0, look for the Irish to be favored by as many as 4.5 or 5.5 vs. Oklahoma (regardless of the Sooners record). If the Irish struggle prior to the Sooners' trip to South Bend, Oklahoma could be a rare road favorite in the House that Rockne Built.

Notre Dame -4 vs. Arizona State: The Irish have hammered three Shamrock Series foes under Kelly by a combined score of 114-27, and at least 14 of those 27 opponents' points were irrelevant/cosmetic. But the Sun Devils are far better than previous natural foes Army, Maryland, and Miami. Like the Oklahoma line, this one is subject to change greatly pending the teams' respective performance. Kelly and the Irish are 5-3 in neutral site games overall, losing to Navy (2010), Florida State (2011) and Alabama last year.

Notre Dame -5 vs. USC: The Irish haven't beaten USC in South Bend since 2001. So there's that. Notre Dame is 2-1 vs. USC under Kelly and 2-1 against the spread, dropping the 2011 meeting between the team's in South Bend, 31-17 as favorites of 9.5 points. (Heretofore known as Vegas' gift of the century to college fans looking to wager with their heads, not their hearts.)

Notre Dame -18 at Air Force: Notre Dame is 6-0 under Kelly when favored by 17 or more, though just 3-2-1 vs. the spread (Boston College is responsible for both spread "losses.")

Notre Dame -18 vs. Navy: After a stunning 35-17 defeat in his first matchup with the Midshipmen in 2010, Kelly and the Irish have won two straight by a combined total of 106-24. Add games vs. Service Academy teams Army (28-3 in 2010), and Air Force (59-33 in 2011) and Kelly has outscored the last for Academy foes by a combined 203-60 margin.

Notre Dame -10.5 at Pittsburgh: Combined score of the last five games between Pittsburgh and Notre Dame: 122-118 with seven overtimes intermixed and three of the five games won by the Irish (including all three under Kelly by margins of 6, 3, and 6, respectively.) Might want to stay away from this one…

Notre Dame -11 vs. Brigham Young: The Irish were favored by 11.5 prior to last year's 17-14 win over the Cougars in South Bend, quarterbacked by Tommy Rees.

Notre Dame +5.5 at Stanford: The first official underdog scenario of the season for the Fighting Irish. Kelly is 1-2 overall vs. Stanford, never covering the spread (last year the Irish were favored by 7.5 in a 20-13 win). In Notre Dame's favor heading into this regular season finale: Stanford will have previously played Oregon, USC, and arch-rival California, consecutively and without a bye.
Of note: The Irish were underdogs of 6.5 points at Stanford prior to the 2011 season. The betting line moved to just 4.5 in favor of the Cardinal during game week and Stanford won easily, 28-14 after leading 21-0.)

Editor's Note: Staff intern Megan Bastedo contributed to this report.

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