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No. 1 Clemson at No. 4 Notre Dame: Expert Betting Advice

Week 10 of the NCAA football season is full of great showdowns. The biggest is Saturday’s matchup between No. 1 Clemson and No. 4 Notre Dame. The matchup is being talked about as the biggest ACC game since 2016 when Deshaun Watson’s Clemson took on Lamar Jackson’s Louisville and we have Clemson vs Notre Dame betting advice all ready for you.

The 6-0 Clemson Tigers will be without their Heisman front-runner quarterback, Trevor Lawence for the second week in a row due to a positive Covid-19 test. The 5-0 Notre Dame Fighting Irish joined the ACC for this season due to all the schedule changes the NCAA made  — also because of the pandemic. Can Notre Dame walk into the ACC and knock off the top-dog and get coach Brian Kelly a huge win?

Brian Kelly - Clemson vs Notre Dame betting advice

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When, Where, and How to Watch

  • Date: Saturday, Nov. 7
  • Game Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
  • Network: NBC
  • Venue: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, IN
  • All-Time Series: Clemson leads 3-1
  • Last Meeting: Clemson beat Notre Dame 30-3 in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Cotton Bowl Classic on Dec. 29, 2018

The University of Chicago has the best record 4-0 (abolished their D-I football program in 1939). pic.twitter.com/3ZU7WLM6Kt

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 3, 2020

Controlling the Line of Scrimmage

In today’s college game teams can lose the battle up-front and still win. Teams do this with quick passes and good scheming. The battle between these undefeated college powerhouses, will be just that, a battle. Clemson and Notre Dame both want to control the line of scrimmage so they can successfully run the ball to set up the play-action pass and stay ahead of the chains.

The Fighting Irish come into the game with one of the best offensive lines in the country, led by two All-American candidates in LT Liam Eichenberg and C Jarrett Patterson. The size and skill of the entire offensive line is undoubtedly good. Mix that with their experience (two seniors, one junior, and two graduate students) and you have the recipe for dominating defensive lines weekly. The offensive line has dominated Notre Dame’s first five victories as it has opened holes for one of the best rushing attacks in the NCAA. Thus far the Fighting Irish’s big-boys have not been tested like they are about to be tested this week when Clemson brings its top-ranked defense to town.

Travis Etienne

Clemson has one of the best running backs in college football in Travis Etienne. The Tigers’ path to victory is in his hands. Etienne’s path to success is in the offensive line’s hands as they try to create running lanes for him. Clemson will look to get Etienne going early to try and take some of the pressure off freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei. Last week, Boston College was stacking the box to stop Etienne and make Uiagalelei beat them. He did just that by throwing for 342 yards on 30-of-41 passing and three total touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).


Both teams have a solid defensive front four that can win one-on-one battles, which allows the defensive coordinators to blitz when they want and mix up coverages. This game will come down to whoever can control the line of scrimmage and take care of the ball.


Clemson’s Keys to Victory

Feed Travis Etienne

Etienne is considered the best RB in college football. He is most likely going to be a Heisman finalist. So far, Etienne has 606 rushing yards and nine rushing TDs on 103 attempts (5.9 average), and he’s added 434 receiving yards and two TDs on 29 receptions (15.0 average). Etienne has more than 130 touches with no fumbles. His rare mix of strength, speed, agility, and awareness is the reason he is already the ACC’s all-time leading rusher. In last week’s game against Boston College, Etienne had the best receiving game of his career with 120 yards on seven catches.

Get D.J. Uiagalelei Going Early

D.J. Uiagalelei is known by his teammates and friends as “Big 5inco.” Standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 250 pounds he definitely fits the name as he wears No. 5. Uiagalelei (a four-star recruit and top pocket passer in his class) has been getting scholarship offers since Jr. high due to his size and arm talent. The Fighting Irish have their hands full trying to stop Big 5inco even if it is only his second start. The Clemson coaches can help their QB by letting him throw some timing routes early in the first quarter. As he starts to get confident they can open the whole playbook for him. Uiagalelei seems ready for the spotlight which is trouble for ‘Irish fans because he has all the tools to excel.


The Tigers will be without Lawrence and starting LB James Skalski for the second week in a row. They will also be traveling to South Bend without their starting DT Tyler Davis and LB Mike Jones. Clemson arguably has the deepest roster in college football and will have a chance to prove just that. It is not easy for any team to win without its All-American quarterback but add on three defensive starters and most teams would not be expected to win against the No. 4 team. Clemson is built differently and has a chance to show America that they are the best team in the NCAA with no questions asked.

Notre Dame’s Keys to Victory

Create Turnovers

The Fighting Irish need to force Clemson’s freshman quarterback into making some mistakes. Notre Dame’s defense has been solid against weaker opponents. That being said they only have four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. They will need to create some turnovers to put some pressure on the No. 1 ranked Tigers. S Kyle Hamilton and the ‘Irish’s secondary will need to prove they belong in the playoffs by forcing turnovers and shutting down Clemson.

Play Like They Have Something to Prove

Undoubtedly Notre Dame has more to play for in this key ACC matchup. If the Fighting Irish lose to Clemson with a backup QB the ghost that has haunted coach  Kelly will re-emerge. Kelly heard all about the “talent gap” Clemson had over his Fighting Irish when they were blown out in the 2018 College Football Playoffs,  31-3. ND is 29-3 over its last 32 games and is coming into the game with a 12-game winning streak, winning 22 in a row at home. Notre Dame must come out with a fire under their buts and play like they have something to prove.

Ian Book’s Big Night

Notre Dame will want to get into favorable down-and-distances by running the ball with sophomore running back Kyren Williams early and often. Williams has been the focal point of the offense, rushing for 600 yards and four TDs on 105 attempts (5.7 average). At some point, the Fighting Irish will need their senior QB Ian Book to make some big-time throws on some third and longs. Book will need to take the top off of Clemson’s defense by throwing some shots deep. If he can connect on some of these ‘shots’ then the ‘Irish have a fighting chance. Book has been a starter since 2018 and he seems primed to step-up in a big way. If he struggles so will the Fighting Irish.

Clemson vs Notre Dame Betting Advice

Team Point Spread Moneyline Over/Under Team Total
Tiger -5 -110 -210 50½ -110o 27½
Fighting Irish +5 -110 +175 50½ -110u 23

Moneyline: No. 1 Clemson | No. 4 Notre Dame

Clemson does not need their Lawrence to win Notre Dame is good but I think Clemson is still the better team with freshman Uiagalelei running the show. Uiagalelei has a come-from-behind victory under his belt and a full week of preparation coming into the showdown with Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish do not have much film on Uiagalelei and have to be wondering how Clemson’s coaching staff is going to use him.

My Clemson vs Notre Dame Betting Advice Pick: Clemson -210

Point Spread: No. 1 Clemson | No. 4 Notre Dame

I do think that Notre Dame has enough upfront to make this close. The Fighting Irish are doing all the right things to win football games and have a well- rounded, experienced team. It will be interesting to see if Book can step up and deliver when the Fighting Irish need him to. The Fighting Irish should be able to score on Clemson’s injured defense.

My Clemson vs Notre Dame Betting Advice Pick: Notre Dame +5 -110

Over/Under: No. 1 Clemson | No. 4 Notre Dame

Two of the best college defenses square off against two conservative offenses. 50½  points seem relatively low for these teams. I expect Clemson to come out firing and set the pace for Notre Dame’s offense to keep up.

My Clemson vs Notre Dame Betting Advice Pick: Over 50½ -110

Clemson vs Notre Dame Betting Advice Prediction: Clemson 31, Notre Dame 27

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