The first of the two College Football Playoff games takes place on Saturday afternoon, as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish battle the Clemson Tigers in the Cotton Bowl on ESPN. Both teams come into this game unbeaten, as Notre Dame is 12-0, while Clemson is 13-0. The Fighting Irish are not getting much respect from the oddsmakers, as the Tigers are nearly a two-touchdown favorite. Let’s look at this game that can be seen on ESPN and live betting at BookMaker.eu.
The Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic will take place on Saturday, December 29, 2018 at 4:00 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
NCAA Football Betting at BookMaker.eu
Clemson -13, O/U 55
The odds on this game have moved toward Clemson, as the Tigers opened as an 11.5-point favorite and that number is up to 13. This will be the fourth straight year for Clemson in the College Football Playoff, while this will be the first-ever appearance in the playoff for Notre Dame.
The key matchup in this game is between Clemson’s high-powered offense and the defense of Notre Dame. Clemson was a big play offense that had 90 plays of 20 yards or more this season, while Notre Dame gave up just nine plays of 60 yards or more this season, fewest in the country.
Notre Dame went 7-4-1 ATS this season, with six games going over and six going under the total. They are averaging 33.8 points per game and giving up 17.2 per contest. The Notre Dame offense is led by running back Dexter Williams who missed the first four games of the season due to suspension. He has averaged 117.6 yards per game in his eight games this season.
Clemson was 7-6 ATS this season, with six games going over and seven going under the total. They are averaging 45.4 points per game and giving up just 13.7 per contest. They are led on offense by running back Travis Etienne who had 1,434 yards and 21 TDs this season.
Notre Dame didn’t dominate this season, but they found a way to win a lot of close games. They had five games decided by eight points or less. Notre Dame has done well with Ian Book at quarterback, as he has throw at least two TD passes in the eight games he started this season. Notre Dame is 6-1-1 ATS with Book as their starting quarterback this season. On the other side, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 2,606 yards with 24 TDs and just four interceptions this season.
The Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games. The Fighting Irish are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. the ACC. The Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 bowl games. The Tigers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
Looking at the total, the Under is 4-1 in Notre Dame’s last 5 neutral site games. The Under is 4-1 in the Tigers last 5 neutral site games. The Under is 11-5 in the Tigers last 16 bowl games.
The question I have in this game is how will Notre Dame score enough points against the Clemson defense to win? The Clemson defense is simply dominating and I just don’t know that Notre Dame has the offense to keep this one close. If the Fighting Irish are to have a chance they have to keep this game low scoring and force some turnovers. I don’t know that they can do that, but I am leery about laying nearly two touchdowns with the Tigers. I think the best option is to expect both defenses to contain the opposing offenses and to play this game to go under the total.
NCAA Football Odds: Clemson 24, Notre Dame 13
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