Saturday, November 7, 2020, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana, 7:30 p.m. ET
Tigers at Fighting Irish Betting Preview: Tigers (-5.5), Fighting Irish (+5.5)
Clemson Tigers Betting Preview
The No. 1 Tigers (7-0, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are going to be without several players for this key clash, most notably quarterback Trevor Lawrence and several defensive stalwarts, but Irish coach Brian Kelly doesn’t offer much in the way of sympathy.
“I’ll take their fourth Sam linebacker, I’ll take their fifth defensive tackle,” Kelly said. “I’ll take their fourth defensive end. They’re in pretty good shape. … They’re going to put out a pretty good product.”
Clemson is without top linebacker James Skalski, who underwent surgery last week. Top defensive lineman Tyler Davis, linebacker Mike Jones Jr. and defensive end Justin Foster are all questionable.
“We’ve had a bunch of players out, but you know what? Nobody cares,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “So let’s put our best foot forward with whoever we’ve got.”
Lawrence will miss a second consecutive game after having a positive COVID-19 test just days before last week’s 34-28 win over Boston College. D.J. Uiagalelei made the first start of his career and passed for 342 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third last week to lead the Tigers’ come-from-behind victory.
With the Top 2 teams in the final regular-season standings scheduled to meet in the ACC title game in Charlotte, N.C., this game could be the first of two meetings for the two teams.
“We’re both Top 5 teams,” Swinney said. “I would say it could be very likely. Whoever wins it, you don’t get to punch your ticket. If you win, you still have more games to play. If you get beat, it doesn’t mean you’re out.”
Fighting Irish Betting Preview
Clemson may be No. 1 but No. 4 Notre Dame (6-0, 5-0 ACC) enters the game with the nation’s longest active winning streak after notching its 12th consecutive with last week’s 31-13 spanking of Georgia Tech.
“Notre Dame is ranked No. 4 for a reason,” Swinney said. “Their offensive line is huge. They have experience. They are built to run the football. They are a complete team. Defensively, they are as good as you will see.”
The Irish have held opponents to an average of just 10.3 points and 267.2 yards in total offense a game, yielding just 97.3 yards a game rushing. They have 17 sacks, but only one interception.
Isaiah Foskey (3.5 as a backup) and Adetokunbo Ogundeji (3.0) have combined for 6.5 sacks to lead the pass rush.
It is critical for the Irish to keep the heat on Clemson’s freshman quarterback, Kelly said.
“The most important thing is to make sure that he’s not comfortable back there,” Kelly said. “You’ve got to get a great pass rush, you got to get him to move his feet, you’ve got to make sure that they don’t get in a rhythm.”
Notre Dame’s running game (231.5 yards a game) will challenge Clemson’s stout run defense. The Tigers have held opponents to just under 100 yards a game on the ground.
Tigers at Fighting Irish Betting Pick for November 7, 2020
The Tigers and Fighting Irish have met only four times with the Tigers winning the last three meetings, including a 30-3 romp in a 2018 College Football Playoff semifinal. After a 12-7 win over Louisville on Oct. 17, the Irish have cruised to 45-3 and 31-13 wins over Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech, respectively. The Tigers routed Georgia Tech 73-7 in the only common opponent for the two.
Tigers at Fighting Irish Betting Pick:
Tigers 35, Fighting Irish 28
Tigers at Fighting Irish Best Bet for Nov. 7, 2020
Both teams can score in bursts and bunches, and both have seemed vulnerable at times to stopping the opponent. It wasn’t the offense that let down the Tigers in their close call against Boston College last week, and the Irish have gotten their offense back together their last two games.
Tigers at Fighting Irish Best Bet: OVER 52