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