Clemson Tigers vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Picks

December 14, 2020

Date:Saturday, December 19th
Time:4:00 PM ET
Network:ABC
Venue:Bank of America Stadium
Spread:Clemson -10.5
O/U:61.5

The 9-1 Clemson Tigers will meet the 10-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Saturday afternoon at 4:00 PM ET in Bank of America Stadium. The Tigers open as 10.5-point favorites, although their only loss of the season came to this same Notre Dame squad (albeit without Trevor Lawrence). We’re expecting plenty of points with a 60.5 over/under and we will have plenty at stake. The winner of this game is locked into the playoff while the loser is at the mercy of the committee. Let’s dive into how this game goes down and who covers the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of our CFB Picks and Predictions as we will be covering every single conference championship and bowl game.

Trends

  • Fighting Irish are 6-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Fighting Irish are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
  • Under is 6-1 in Tigers last 7 games in December.
  • Under is 8-1 in Fighting Irish last 9 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.

When The Clemson Tigers Have The Ball

The Tigers are undefeated with Trevor Lawrence under center, losing their only game of the season to Notre Dame with D.J. Uiagalelei at QB. Lawrence will be back in action for this game and that means the Clemson offense will be far more consistent and dangerous. Lawrence has completed 69% of his passes for 2,431 yards with 20 touchdowns and three interceptions. He’s also rushed it for another six scores, running it when in the RZ often. 

The offense still runs through HB Travis Etienne and the running game. The Clemson offense is guaranteed to sputter when they aren’t able to run the ball effectively. Etienne had his worst game of the season against Notre Dame, rushing it 18 times for just 28 yards. He must do better in this game. Lawrence adds a running threat that the backup didn’t and Clemson must use that to their advantage.

It’s a lot easier to throw on the Notre Dame defense than it is to run on them. Uiagalelei threw for 400+ in the first matchup and you have to expect Dabo opens things up early regardless of the run game. Amari Rodgers (845 yards, 6 TD) is the primary option, but Cornell Powell (684 yards, 5 TD) has slowly emerged as a close second. The pair makes this passing game look a lot more similar to the 2019 version when it felt like Lawrence was able to pick and choose who he wanted to have success with.

When The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Have The Ball

Notre Dame has taken care of all 10 opponents that have been put in front of them this season. Still, they come in as massive underdogs to a team they already beat. QB Ian Book hasn’t been a world-beater this season, but he’s been solid and has a 15:3 TD to INT ratio on top of 2,382 yards. Where he has excelled is on the ground, where he’s carried it 91 times for 465 yards and eight touchdowns. 

HB Kyren Williams has been one of the best in the nation, averaging 5.6 yards per carry with 1,011 yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s complemented by Chris Tyree and C’Bo Flemister, who are just as good in short spurts. The Irish are a dangerous team when the offensive line is moving the trenches. When Book drops back, WR Javon McKinley and TE Michael Mayer are his primary targets. Ben Skowronek is where he typically looks inside the 20 as he leads the team with five touchdowns on just 21 total receptions. 

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish defense is for real. They just allowed 17 points to a North Carolina team that is as lethal as anyone in the country of late. If they can hold Clemson to sub-40 points, they give the Irish a real chance to win this game. It will be paramount to slow down Etienne once again and turn this Tigers offense one-dimensional. 

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Notre Dame +10.5

I wouldn’t say either side of this bet draws out a comfortable feeling in you. The 10.5 points is a curious one and it’s hard to gauge how these teams will play after already facing off once. I would say the teams are similarly well-coached, so I don’t lean one way or the other on preparedness. I do think Notre Dame keeps this one close again. They don’t have the firepower to keep up on paper, but that all goes out the window when Kyren Williams is effectively running it and Etienne isn’t. This game was a shoot out the first time around and I don’t expect the same. I like the Tigers to win a close game. 

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