After an undefeated regular season, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish looked overmatched against Clemson in their national semifinal loss. However, they'll be looking to wipe the slate clean when they begin their season against Louisville on Monday at 8 p.m. ET at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Notre Dame will come armed with quarterback Ian Book back and is ranked No. 9 in the country to start the year. Meanwhile, first-year Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield will be looking to get his tenure with the Cardinals going with an upset victory. Satterfield had been the head coach at his alma mater, Appalachian State, since 2013, and in the last four seasons, his teams dropped just four conference games total. The Irish are 18.5-point road favorites in the latest Notre Dame vs. Louisville odds after the line moved as high as 20.5, while the over-under is 55. Before you make your Notre Dame vs. Louisville picks, listen to the Week 1 college football predictions from SportsLine's Zack Cimini.

Cimini is a highly respected Las Vegas handicapper who's never afraid to buck conventional wisdom. He uses a new-age approach to excel in multiple sports and has been one of the SportsLine's most successful analysts on an annual basis.

Last year, he hit nearly 60 percent of his college football against the spread picks and, over the past two seasons, he is a perfect 3-0 on picks involving Louisville. A year ago, he advised SportsLine members that Louisville was massively overvalued as a 24-point favorite against Western Kentucky in Week 3. He recommended a strong play on the underdog, and he was right on point as Louisville won the game 20-17, but came up three touchdowns short of covering. Anyone who followed Cimini's advice booked an easy winner, and those who follow him regularly are way up.

Now, Cimini has zeroed in on Louisville vs. Notre Dame from every angle. You can only see who he's picking at SportsLine.

Cimini knows knows Notre Dame's defense was its calling card in 2018 and it will likely be the strength of the team again in 2019. The Fighting Irish allowed just 18.2 points per game a year ago and forced 21 turnovers. 

Notre Dame lost five starters from that group, but their defensive end depth is impressive. Julian Okwara registered eight sacks last year and will team up with Khalid Kareem and Daelin Hayes to form a dangerous trio off the edge. The secondary is also strong with Alohi Gilman and Jalen Elliott back at safety as well as Troy Pride Jr. at cornerback.

Offensively, Book returns. He threw for multiple touchdowns in every game he started for Notre Dame except the loss to Clemson and was picked off just seven times. He shredded No. 7 Stanford for 278 yards and four touchdowns in his second start of the season.

Even so, the Fighting Irish are far from a sure thing to cover the Louisville vs. Notre Dame spread on Monday.

In Satterfield, the Cardinals found a rising prospect who quietly has been one of the most successful coaches for the better part of a decade. The 46-year-old posted a 51-24 record in six seasons with the Mountaineers and won three Sun Belt championships.

His clubs reached double-figures in wins three times this decade and the Mountaineers developed a reputation for giving fits to Power 5 conference opponents. Last year, they pushed playoff contender Penn State to overtime in Week 1. The Cardinals also have some pieces for Satterfield to work with, as they return 14 starters and will field a cast full of upperclassmen.

We can tell you Cimini is leaning over, and he's also identified the critical x-factor that has him all over one side of the spread. He's only sharing it over at SportsLine.

Who wins Notre Dame vs. Louisville? And what critical x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Notre Dame vs. Louisville spread you should jump on Monday, all from the seasoned expert who has hit his last three picks on Louisville, and find out.