USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Trevor Lawrence (16), Tua Tagovailoa (13), Kyler Murray (1).
- The College Football Playoff semifinal matchups are within sight and Collin Wilson is making his picks.
- He's placing wagers on the spread and total in the Cotton Bowl (Clemson-Notre Dame) and the Orange Bowl (Oklahoma-Alabama).
2018 Cotton Bowl Betting Odds: No. 2 Clemson vs. No. 3 Notre Dame
- Odds: Clemson -12
- Over/Under: 56.5
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 29
- Location: Dallas, TX
- Time: 4:00 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
>> All odds as of Thursday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time bowl odds and win probabilities on your bets.
The path for Notre Dame-Clemson
Two undefeated teams roll into AT&T Stadium for a chance to make the national championship game. Notre Dame has transformed during the season from a Brandon Wimbush led victory against Michigan in the opener, while Clemson has done the same at quarterback.
One aspect that many did not expect is the Notre Dame strength of schedule having a low S&P+ rank of 61st. Virginia Tech, Northwestern, Pitt and Florida State all ranked outside the S&P+ top 50. The Irish brought their best when needed in covering efforts against their toughest opponents in Michigan, Stanford and Syracuse.
Clemson had a transformation with the insertion of freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Kelly Bryant led Clemson into the 2017 College Football Playoff with a loss in the semifinal to Alabama and was the inherent starter for 2018. The element missing from this Clemson team was an explosive offense.
Lawrence provided that in spots leading up to Week 5, when head coach Dabo Swinney elected to move the freshman into the starter role, relegating Bryant as a backup. Week 5 against Syracuse included a Kelly Bryant transfer and a Lawrence injury within the span of a few days.
Lawrence returned from injury and Clemson started to roll on both sides of the ball. In the Tigers’ remaining eight games the offense scored at least 56 points on four occasions. The defense stepped up as well, allowing more than 10 points just twice in the final eight contests. Clemson has been dominant since the events of Week 5.
Odds Movement for Notre Dame-Clemson
5Dimes and BetOnline were the first to open bowl game spreads. An opening line of Clemson -10.5 was right in line with The Action Network Power Ratings, but a flurry of money on the Tigers is taking the line to -13 at most shops. A small flicker of Notre Dame +14 held for a total of three minutes at Bookmaker before plenty of Irish money pushed the number back down.
As for the total, an opener of 55.5 had been stable for weeks until movement on Thursday, Dec. 27 came in on the over. As of this writing the number sits at 56.5. This number may tick a bit higher with further information coming on the Dexter Lawrence suspension for a banned substance.