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Clemson vs Notre Dame Odds & Predictions: Why to Bet the Underdog

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Bryan Bennett/Getty Images. Pictured: Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pine (10) and the Fighting Irish.

Clemson vs Notre Dame Odds

Saturday, Nov. 5
7:30 p.m. ET
NBC
Clemson Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-3.5
-110
43.5
-110o / -110u
-190
Notre Dame Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+3.5
-110
43.5
-110o / -110u
+160
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Clemson looks to stay undefeated and in the College Football Playoff picture when it travels to South Bend to take on Notre Dame on Saturday night.

The Tigers were unveiled at No. 4 in the first edition of the CFP rankings, which means the target will be firmly placed on their backs for the rest of the season.

They’re coming off of a bye, but the last time they were in action they survived a scare at home against Syracuse.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, has rebounded from a bad start to the season, as it pulled off an upset over Syracuse last weekend, 41-24.

It’s been a difficult first season for Marcus Freeman, as the Irish sit at 5-3. But a win here would give the Fighting Irish six victories in their last seven games, helping Freeman reach a bowl in his inaugural season as a head coach.


Tigers Offense

The Clemson offense has been far from elite this season, and a lot of that has to do with the play of DJ Uiagalelei. He had an incredible game against Wake Forest and has 21 big-time throws compared to only five turnover-worthy throws, which is all great.

However, he’s been average at best since the Wake Forest game.

Image via PFF.

The biggest reason we’ve seen him heading toward a decline is there’s a big difference between his performance with a clean pocket versus under pressure.

When Uiagalelei has a clean pocket, he’s averaging 8.3 yards per attempt and owns a 91 PFF passing grade. When he’s under pressure, his yards-per-attempt number drops to 5.3, and his PFF passing grade falls to 46.1.

Notre Dame has the 48th-best pass-rushing grade in the country, so if it can get to DJ, it’ll force him into some bad throws.

However, the way to beat Notre Dame is on the ground, and Clemson does have a decent rushing attack. The Tigers rank 34th in Rushing Success Rate and 24th in Offensive Line Yards, but they’re 86th in rushing explosiveness.

So, it’s going to have to be four yards at a time for running back Will Shipley.

Tigers Defense

Clemson has been really average up front this season, which isn’t typical of a  Dabo Swinney-coached team. The Tigers rank 39th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and 61st in Defensive Line Yards.

In their last two games against Florida State and Syracuse, they’ve allowed 5.3 yards per carry. So, Notre Dame may be able to have some success on the ground.

Clemson does have an outstanding pass rush that ranks third nationally in Havoc and sixth in pass rush grade, per PFF. However, Notre Dame has an outstanding offensive line, so it won’t be easy for the Tigers to get to the quarterback.

Clemson’s secondary has been the strength of its defense, sitting 25th in Defensive Passing Success Rate, 10th in EPA/Pass Allowed and 41st in terms of coverage grade, per PFF. It may be a long day for Drew Pyne.

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Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Fighting Irish Offense

With Tyler Buchner out for the season, Pyne has taken over at quarterback, and there have been some mixed results.

Image via PFF.

He had great games against North Carolina, BYU and UNLV, but he averaged under 7.0 yards per attempt and posted a PFF passing grade under 60 against Cal and Syracuse. However, the focus of the Notre Dame offense the past few weeks has been its rushing attack.

The Irish ran the ball a whopping 54 times against Syracuse because they were playing with the lead for most of the game and the Orange have an elite secondary.

Notre Dame deploys a three-running back system, but Audric Estime has by far been its best back, averaging 5.6 yards per attempt and rushing for eight touchdowns.

Notre Dame’s offensive line will also be a key in this game, as it ranks top-15 in run-blocking grade, Offensive Line Yards and pass-blocking grade. So, it should be able to control Clemson’s front seven.

Fighting Irish Defense

Notre Dame’s front seven has really struggled this season. The Irish are 84th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, 90th in EPA/Rush Allowed and 67th in Defensive Line Yards.

However, they did just hold Sean Tucker and the Syracuse rushing attack to 2.4 yards per carry, so they might be starting to turn a corner. They also are incredibly disciplined, ranking third in terms of tackling grade, per PFF.

The Notre Dame secondary was outstanding against Syracuse last weekend, holding it to just 6.3 yards per attempt and forcing two interceptions while getting Garrett Shrader benched.

The Irish rank 10th in Passing Success Rate Allowed and 29th in EPA/Pass Attempt while allowing 6.6 yards per attempt.

They should be able to make things extremely difficult for Uiagalelei.


Clemson vs Notre Dame Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Clemson and Notre Dame match up statistically:

Clemson Offense vs. Notre Dame Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 34 84
Line Yards 24 67
Pass Success 71 10
Pass Blocking** 53 48
Havoc 31 101
Finishing Drives 19 49
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Notre Dame Offense vs. Clemson Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 28 38
Line Yards 15 61
Pass Success 39 25
Pass Blocking** 15 6
Havoc 14 3
Finishing Drives 96 33
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 25 3
PFF Coverage 41 80
SP+ Special Teams 30 19
Seconds per Play 26.0 (54) 28.5 (107)
Rush Rate 56.1% (49) 61.3% (16)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Clemson vs Notre Dame Betting Pick

The key in this game is going to be whether or not Notre Dame’s front seven can put pressure on Uiagalelei. It’s a top-50 pass rush in the nation, so it should find a way to get to the Tigers’ signal-caller.

Clemson’s struggles against the run the past few weeks are also pretty concerning going up against a Notre Dame rushing attack that runs the ball 61.3% of the time behind a top-15 run-blocking unit.

I only have Clemson projected as a -0.4 favorite, so I like the value on Notre Dame at +3.5.

Pick: Notre Dame +3.5

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