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South Carolina vs Notre Dame Odds, Prediction | How to Bet Gator Bowl

South Carolina vs Notre Dame Odds, Prediction | How to Bet Gator Bowl article feature image
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Michael Reaves and Wesley Hitt/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Chris Tyree (25) of Notre Dame and Antwane Wells Jr. (3) of South Carolina.

South Carolina vs Notre Dame Odds

Friday, December 30
3:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
South Carolina Odds
Spread Over/Under Moneyline
+5.5
-110
50.5
-110o / -110u
+175
Notre Dame Odds
Spread Over/Under Moneyline
-5.5
-110
50.5
-110o / -110u
-215
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

South Carolina looks to cap off a fantastic finish to its season when it takes on Notre Dame in the Gator Bowl on Friday afternoon.

Notre Dame had an up-and-down year in Marcus Freeman’s first season in charge. The Irish finished 8-4 with lows of losing to Marshall and Stanford at home and highs of ending Clemson’s College Football Playoff hopes.

After the start they had to the season, reaching the nine-win mark would be an accomplishment for Freeman in his first season.

South Carolina was hovering around average for most of the season and then pulled off two of the biggest upsets of the year in its final two games. First, it obliterated Tennessee, 63-38, and then beat in-state rival Clemson on the road, 31-30.

Shane Beamer is starting to build South Carolina back into a contender in the SEC, so winning nine games would be huge for the future of the program.


South Carolina Gamecocks

South Carolina Offense

South Carolina is the definition of a boom-or-bust offense. It sits 74th in Success Rate and 62nd in EPA/Play but eighth in explosiveness.

Spencer Rattler seemingly returned to the quarterback we saw in 2020, throwing for a whopping eight touchdowns combined against Tennessee and Clemson.

The Gamecock passing attack essentially lives on big plays. South Carolina ranks 11th in explosive passing, and Rattler has an 87.2 PFF passing grade on throws over 10 yards. Notre Dame sits 92nd in passing explosiveness allowed, so Rattler could have some success throwing the ball deep.

The South Carolina rushing attack was led by MarShawn Lloyd, who averaged 5.2 yards per carry and posted an 83.7 PFF rushing grade. However, he has opted out of the bowl game. Second-leading rusher Jaheim Bell has also transferred, so it’s pretty bleak in the South Carolina backfield.

On top of all of this, offensive Marcus Satterfield has left to take the offensive coordinator job at Nebraska, so it’s unclear who will be calling plays for South Carolina.

South Carolina Defense

South Carolina’s defense has been pretty bad this season, ranking 111th in Success Rate Allowed and 88th in EPA/Play Allowed.

SC hasn’t been able to stop the run to save its life, and it’s one of the main reasons its defense has been so bad. The Gamecocks are allowing 5.0 yards per carry (113th in FBS) while ranking 128th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, 123rd in EPA/Rush Allowed and 125th in Defensive Line Yards.

Notre Dame is a rush-heavy team, so it could be a long day for South Carolina.

South Carolina’s secondary has been OK this season, as some of its metrics grade out really well. For example, the Gamecocks sit 23rd in EPA/Pass Allowed and 37th in passing explosiveness allowed. However, they’re 109th in PFF coverage grade.

Plus, three starters in the secondary have already opted out of the bowl game.


Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Notre Dame Offense

Notre Dame is going to have to lean on its rushing attack in this game, just as it’s done all season long.

Drew Pyne is in the transfer portal, which means Tyler Buchner will handle the snaps under center.

Buchner started the first two games of the season against Ohio State and Marshall, but he was quite poor. In those two games, he averaged just 7.6 yards per attempt, had a 56.9 PFF passing grade, and did not throw a touchdown pass.

On top of that, Notre Dame’s best pass-catching option in Michael Mayer has already opted out of the bowl game.

However, Notre Dame has a rush-heavy offense that runs the ball on 61.5% of offensive plays. The Irish employ a dual backfield with Audric Estime and Logan Diggs, both of whom are averaging over 4.7 yards per carry this season.

They have Notre Dame ranked 23rd in Rushing Success Rate, but they beat opponents 3-5 yards at a time because they’re 123rd in rushing explosiveness.

The biggest advantage Notre Dame has in this game is its offensive line. The Fighting Irish have a top-25 pass-blocking and run-blocking grade, along with a ranking 23rd in Offensive Line Yards.

Notre Dame Defense

Notre Dame has been really good defensively this season, ranking 30th in Success Rate Allowed and 39th in EPA/Play Allowed.

However, it’s prone to giving up big plays, as it ranks 92nd in explosiveness allowed. That’s bad news going up against a big-play offense like South Carolina.

Notre Dame has been pretty average up front, allowing 3.9 yards per carry and ranking outside the top 50 in both Rushing Success Rate Allowed and EPA/Rush Allowed. Plus, its best defensive lineman, Isaiah Foskey, has opted out of the bowl game.

The good news for Notre Dame is that South Carolina is on its third-string running back — at best — for this game.

The secondary has been outstanding this season, as it’s top 10 in Passing Success Rate Allowed. However, it’s 92nd in passing explosiveness allowed, which is why its PFF coverage grade sits at only 79.0.

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South Carolina vs Notre Dame Matchup Analysis

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

Notre Dame Offense vs South Carolina Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 23 128
Line Yards 12 125
Pass Success 23 52
Pass Blocking** 24 34
Havoc 27 87
Finishing Drives 66 102
** Pass Blocking (Off) vs Pass Rush (Def)

South Carolina Offense vs Notre Dame Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 73 59
Line Yards 110 70
Pass Success 84 9
Pass Blocking** 43 32
Havoc 128 84
Finishing Drives 14 72
** Pass Blocking (Off) vs Pass Rush (Def)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 3 59
PFF Coverage 56 109
SP+ Special Teams 25 1
Seconds per Play 29.0 (114) 27.6 (94)
Rush Rate 61.5% (16) 51.1% (87)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics

South Carolina vs Notre Dame Prediction, Picks

This is a tough game to handicap with all of the opt-outs for both teams.

However, with Notre Dame getting Buchner healthy and having its running back room and offensive line intact, it should run all over this South Carolina front seven. On top of that, South Carolina is on a third-string running back at best, and one of its top three wideouts is going to miss this game due to injury.

With their advantages in the run game, I like the Fighting Irish to cover at -3.

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