Syracuse at No. 2 Notre Dame Betting Preview

Saturday, December 5, 2020, Notre Dame Stadium, South Bend, Indiana, 2:30 p.m. ET

Orange at Fighting Irish Betting Preview: Orange (+33.5), Fighting Irish (-33.5)

Syracuse Orange Betting Preview

The Orange (1-9, 1-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) have dropped seven games in a row, including a 36-29 defeat last week against North Carolina State. They have allowed 30-plus points in six of the past seven games.

Syracuse quarterback Rex Culpepper will try to move on from an embarrassing gaffe a week ago in which he spiked the ball on fourth-and-goal with five seconds remaining.

“One mistake didn’t win or lose a game,” Orange coach Dino Babers said in defense of his quarterback. “There were other mistakes made during that game, and people need to realize that.”

On the season, Culpepper has thrown for 843 yards with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Running back Sean Tucker leads the Orange with 525 rushing yards and three touchdowns. The top option in the passing game is wide receiver Taj Harris, who has 50 catches for 664 yards and five touchdowns.

The Orange defense has surrendered an average of 31.5 points and 453.5 yards a game with nearly 202 of that total on the ground.

No. 2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Preview

The No. 2 Fighting Irish (9-0, 8-0 ACC) already have clinched a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game by virtue of a scheduling change this week and likely will face No. 3 Clemson in the Dec. 19 game. The conference announced that the teams will be decided on a nine-game league schedule, and the Irish hold all the potential tiebreakers.

A huge showdown on the horizon could lead the Fighting Irish to overlook this weekend’s matchup against struggling Syracuse, which sits at the bottom of the conference standings. But the Fighting Irish have proved so far that they can avoid letdowns, with seven of their nine victories coming by double digits.

Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams said he never would have expected a ticket to the ACC title game.

“It’s crazy,” said Williams, whose team joined the ACC as a full-time member this year as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the independent school to search for a conference partner. “You come to Notre Dame, and you don’t think that you are going to play in any conference games. But now look, we are in the conference championship for the first time in Notre Dame history and the first time ever in my career.

“This is a goal we as a team have been preaching on since we joined the ACC, that we were going to come in here and we were going to compete for an ACC championship no matter what it was. So I feel like now that we are at that goal — or not yet, because we’ve still got Syracuse — we see that goal in the future that we just can’t forget.

“We can’t forget that we’ve still got to keep working to get to that goal. We haven’t accomplished anything yet.”

Williams leads the Fighting Irish with 901 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns.

A dual threat, quarterback Ian Book has thrown for 2,097 yards, 12 touchdowns and one interception and has rushed for 412 yards and six touchdowns.

Wideout Ben Skowronek has five touchdown catches for the Fighting Irish and tight end Michael Mayer and wide receiver Avery Davis have two touchdown catches apiece.

Orange at Fighting Irish Betting Pick for December 5, 2020

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly is 7-0 versus the Orange. Ian Book was 23 of 37 passing for 292 yards and two touchdowns the last time these two teams met, and the Irish defense was dominant in the 36-3 victory at Yankee Stadium.

The Irish came up with three interceptions and held an Orange offense that was averaging over 44 points and 482 yards a game to just a field goal and 234 yards.

Orange at Fighting Irish Betting Pick:

Fighting Irish 49, Orange 14

Orange at Fighting Irish Best Bet for December 5, 2020

The Irish are coming off an impressive shutdown performance defensively in their 31-17 win at North Carolina last week, shutting out the high-scoring Tar Heels in the second half.

The Irish have scored at least 31 points in each of their last five games. The Orange have topped the 30-point mark only once this season, but just missed a second time in a 36-29 loss to North Carolina State last week.

Orange at Fighting Irish Best Bet: OVER 51.5

–Field Level Media

OddsUSA NCAAF Best Bet of the Week for Week 13: Notre Dame at UNC

Ian Book has been here before, and he does not want history to repeat itself. During his freshman season in 2017, Notre Dame entered their game against No. 7 Miami ranked No. 3 in the nation. While the Hurricanes were supposed to be tough, the Fighting Irish were supposed to win—but they did not.

Just like that, their national championship dreams came to an end that year.

The situation is a little different this time around. The College Football Playoff Committee just named Notre Dame the No. 2 team in the country, and this time, Book is the starting quarterback. As for their opponent, North Carolina, the Tar Heels are good but not as highly ranked as Miami was (UNC is No. 19).

This could be a trap game for the Fighting Irish, but it could just as easily be nothing more than a stepping stone on their journey to the playoffs.

Spread: Notre Dame -5.0

Moneyline: Notre Dame -195; North Carolina +155

Over/Under: 68.0

*Odds via DraftKings.com

Notre Dame Fighting Irish Betting Preview

If Ian Book wanted to make one last-ditch effort to get into the Heisman conversation, this would be the game to do it in. While Notre Dame has a good defense, the North Carolina offense is simply one you hope to slow down as it is too potent to stop it altogether.

Sam Howell is a talented, veteran quarterback with better wide receivers, and he is going to know how to exploit the Notre Dame defense better than Uiagalelei.

Now, the Notre Dame defense did limit Clemson’s run game to just 34 yards, but the secondary got torched by DJ Uiagalelei for 400+ yards and a pair of touchdowns.

That means, to secure a win, the Fighting Irish are going to need Book to put up some big numbers—on the stat sheet and the scoreboard.

With one of the better offensive lines in the country and an excellent group of wide receivers and running backs, that should not be a problem. It helps, of course, that the Tar Heels defense is not very tough; they rarely force turnovers and allow over 30 points a game.

UNC Tar Heels Betting Preview

The Tar Heels came into the season with high expectations but struggled to get on track early on. Consequently, they lost two games they probably should have won. So, more than likely, they are out of the national championship and ACC title pictures.

But with how the offense has looked in the last two games, they could certainly play spoiler to a team with aspirations like Notre Dame.

Howell threw for close to 800 yards and nine touchdowns combined in his last two games… and not at the expense of the run game. Against Wake Forest, they ran for 192 yards, and that was after they gouged the Duke Blue Devils for 338 yards and five touchdowns in the previous week.

However, they may struggle to run the ball against Notre Dame’s run defense. Sam Howell will need to get on the same page with his wide receivers early in the game in order to open up their run game.

Notre Dame at UNC Betting Prediction

Notre Dame’s best defense in this game will be their offense, especially their run game. Why? Because Sam Howell cannot throw touchdowns if he is not on the field. North Carolina’s defense is averaging 151.9 yards a game, so, theoretically, it may not be easy. But the Tar Heels gave up 241 yards to Florida State, 210 to Virginia, and 260 to Virginia Tech.

So, the Fighting Irish will likely try to win this one on the ground where UNC is giving up just 75 yards a game. With the No. 14 rushing attack in the country, there is a good chance they will succeed. North Carolina will stay in the game because of their passing attack, but they will be hard-pressed to win this one. Notre Dame is a complete team while the Tar Heels have too many holes.

Take Notre Dame to win straight up and against the spread. Plus, if you feel like a one-game parlay thanks to these two offenses, you should also hit the over with no problem.