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Clemson Tigers (1) vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (4) Betting Picks and Predictions

07 November 2020

NCAAF Picks Austyn Varney
Date:Saturday, November 7th
Time:7:30 PM ET
Network:NBC
Venue:Notre Dame Stadium
Spread:Clemson -5.5
O/U:52

The 7-0 Clemson Tigers will go on the road Saturday night to face off with the 6-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 7:30 PM ET in Notre Dame Stadium. You can tune in on NBC. The news of the week is the absence of Trevor Lawrence, so let’s not delay any. The Tigers come into this game as 5.5-point road favorites and we’re looking at a 52 over/under. Let’s dive into how this game will go down and who will cover the spread in the process. Make sure to check out the rest of my CFB Picks and Predictions for this weekend slate of games.

Trends

  • Clemson is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games.
  • Notre Dame is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games played in November.
  • The total has gone OVER in 12 of Notre Dame’s last 16 games played in week 10.
  • The total has gone OVER in 4 of Clemson’s last 5 games against an opponent in the ACC.

When The Clemson Tigers Have The Ball

The Tigers have fallen to third in the odds to win the national championship, but it’s hard to see why. They’ve dominated just about every quarter of every game to this point. There are just three dominant teams in College Football and the Tigers have faced the most roadblocks to this point. Clemson is still the class of the country and they’re one of the few teams that is able to lose their leader and still be favored against a top team. They remain the number one ranked team and will look to hold that ranking with a backup QB at the helm.

The Tigers will be without Trevor Lawrence in this game, but it’s not like the replacement is without talent. The Tigers had a game to prepare with D.J. Uiagalelei under center and he looked phenomenal, throwing for 342 yards and two touchdowns while completing nearly 75% of his passes. It was against a solid Boston College defense and the freshman looked composed when Clemson fell behind.

Travis Etienne is the train that doesn’t stop chugging and he’ll be leaned on heavily with Lawrence out of the picture. He had 27 touches a week ago and I wouldn’t be surprised if he sees 30 here. He’s up to 606 yards on the ground with nine scores on top of 434 receiving yards and another two scores. He will be the focal point of this offense and Notre Dame can’t bottle him up for the entire game.

When Uiagalelei drops back, his primary targets will be Amari Rodgers and Etienne. Rodgers leads the team with 40 catches for 586 yards and six scores. He’s risen to the top with Justyn Ross and Tee Higgins now out of the mix. Frank Ladson Jr. (272 yards, 3 TD) and Cornell Powell (257 yds, 2 TD) are phenomenal secondary options and they looked to have great chemistry with Uiagalelei last week. Braden Galloway is a big-bodied tight end that’s hauled in two touchdowns on top of 16 catches and 184 yards. Notre Dame has struggled against the TE position and he could make a difference.

When The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Have The Ball

The Fighting Irish are 6-0 on the season, but they haven’t faced a ranked opponent to date and we still don’t really know just how good they are. With that being said, you can’t blame a team for taking care of the teams in front of them and Notre Dame has certainly done that. They’re averaging 34.8 points per game and the offense has been extremely balanced. The defense is unproven, but they have the names and just have to prove they can play as a unit against an elite offense.

The Irish are led by senior QB Ian Book, who’s thrown for 1,225 yards with seven touchdowns and one interception on the year. He hasn’t been asked to do all that much as Notre Dame has been able to run the ball extremely effectively. Book is one of the best quarterbacks in the entire country and the experience gives him an advantage over Clemson in this game with Lawrence out. Book must avoid the late interception as it’s held him back since his first starts at ND.

It will be very tough to do against this massive Clemson front, but Notre Dame wants to run the ball as much as they possibly can. They’ve run for more yards than they’ve passed for with 1,386 yards and 18 scores on the ground as a team. Sophomore Kyren Williams leads the way with 600 yards and seven touchdowns and he’s been a workhorse when needed. He can also catch the ball with 12 catches for 180 yards. Chris Tyree and C’Bo Flemister have both picked up 40+ carries and average nearly six yards per carry combined. Look for the Irish to run it 30+ times in this game as they look to keep the ball out of the Clemson offenses hands.

Book has his own elite weapons to use on the outside, though no one receiver has emerged as the primary target. Five different pass-catchers have either 135+ yards or 12+ catches. Ben Skowronek was hurt for most of the season, but is deadly when on the field. Javon McKinley and Avery Davis start on the outside and TE Michael Mayer is a classic huge ND tight end that is dangerous in the Red Zone. There is plenty of talent on this team to keep up. It just comes down to staying disciplined for four quarters as we already know Clemson will.

Spread Prediction

This is obviously a tough game to project with Trevor Lawrence out of the picture. It’s not like Clemson is going to run out of talent, however, as another stud prospect steps under center to lead the best athletes in the country. The Fighting Irish haven’t faced a tough schedule, but they’ve taken care of everyone in front of them and I expect them to make this a hell of a game against the Tigers.

I’m willing to go on a limb here and say the Fighting Irish win this game. It’s not that Clemson isn’t talented, but the familiarity of the offense or lack thereof will hurt them in a close game. Book has been preparing for this season since he started his first game at Notre Dame and I think the Irish end up in the playoff. Give me Notre Dame all day with the points and I will sprinkle the money line as well.

The Pick: Notre Dame +5.5

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

Total Prediction

I will recommend a hard pass on this total. It’s an extremely accurate number and I don’t see an edge on either side. If I had to pick, I would go with the over as I expect both offenses to have their fair share of success. Again, this will be close and I’d rather bet Notre Dame ATS.

The Pick: Over 52

Final Score Prediction: Notre Dame 28, Clemson 27

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

New JerseyWilliam Hill square logoBet@William Hill
PennsylvaniaSugarHouse online casino square logoBet@SugarHouse
IndianaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
West VirginiaBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
ColoradoBetMGM white and gold logo on black backgroundBet@BetMGM
IllinoisBetRivers square logoBet@BetRivers

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