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ACC Championship – Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Clemson Tigers

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:
Dec/16/2020

The first one was so good why not have a sequel? The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Clemson Tigers hook up in the ACC Championship on Saturday with the winner getting an invite to the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame is looking good for a berth even with a loss. The Irish ran the table going 10-0 during the regular season, including a win over then No. 1 Clemson in double overtime last month. That makes the rematch even more tantalizing, as does the return of Trevor Lawrence, who missed the first game after testing positive for the coronavirus. The revenge factor and Lawrence have Clemson positioned as a 10.5-point favorite on the college football betting line.  Bookmaker.eu is offering a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1600)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Clemson Tigers
Date and Time: Saturday, December 19, 2020, 4 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
CFB Odds: Clemson -10.5, O/U 59.5
Notre Dame vs. Clemson TV Coverage: ABC

Odds Analysis

Just how much of a difference does a talent like Lawrence have on the betting line? Well, the Tigers are currently laying 10.5-points to a team they lost to earlier in the year. That game had several asterisks, though, mainly because Lawrence and a few defensive starters didn’t play. The Tigers were a 5-point favorite in that matchup but lost 47-40 in double overtime. Lawrence returned to action following that game leading Clemson to a pair of blowout cover wins. Clemson ended the regular season at 9-1 SU and 4-6 ATS. Notre Dame did enough during the season to secure a spot in the CFP even with a loss leaving a little wiggle room. After beating Clemson the Irish won their final three games by at least two touchdowns with three payouts in those four contests. Both teams had last week off giving them an extra week to prepare and heal ahead of what should be the most intriguing game of championship weekend.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Being a double-digit dog could be motivating for the Irish, who are looking for any advantage they can get. A number of folks diminished their accomplishment of beating Clemson back in November since they didn’t have to face Lawrence. Still, Notre Dame allowed an opponent record 439 passing yards to backup D.J. Uiagalelei which makes you wonder what Lawrence can do. Outside of that it was a dominant effort in the trenches.

Controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football allowed Notre Dame to amass 208 rushing yards while holding the Tigers to just 34 yards on 33 attempts. And it was the type of game Notre Dame needed to win. The Irish had problems against top-tier teams under Brian Kelly so that victory was sweet for a number of reasons. It also showed us just how good Ian Book is. He threw for 310 yards with an additional 67 yards on 14 rush attempts and expertly directed a 91-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes of regulation to pull even.

The offense came alive after a sloppy 12-7 win over Louisville. The Irish scored at least 31 points in their last six games and four times they put up at least 45 points. Their highest point total in that span came against Clemson. Book was solid down the stretch throwing for 1,668 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last six games while keeping defenses at bay with his ability to extend plays.

Clemson Tigers

All the talk about the previous meeting is how Notre Dame scored a late touchdown and won in overtime. Well, Clemson had its own comeback rallying from a 23-10 deficit to eventually take the lead. And they came within two defensive stops of beating a highly ranked opponent on the road without several key players. That tells us a lot about Clemson’s depth. But their inability to run the football proved to be too much to overcome; that and stopping Book.

There is plenty on the line for the Tigers. There has never been a 2-loss team in the CFP and a setback on Saturday puts them at 9-2. This season has been weird in all sorts of ways so maybe that changes. Should Clemson be punished for playing 11 games when a team like Ohio State is likely to reach the playoff having only played six? The solution is simple for Clemson: win the game.

The Tigers certainly have the experience of playing in some of the biggest games on the college football landscape. They are going for their sixth straight ACC title after beating Virginia, Pittsburgh and Miami by a combined score of 142-30 in the previous three championship games. They’ve also reached the CFP in five straight years claiming a pair of national championships in that span.

Bet Notre Dame vs. Clemson at BookMaker.eu

We have two exceptional teams facing each other with a trip to the CFP on the line so it should be intense. Getting Lawrence back behind center will definitely help the Tigers and his leadership and talent will be enough to get a victory. I don’t see them covering the 10.5-point spread against a team as well-balanced as the Irish, though.

CFB Score Prediction: Clemson 36, Notre Dame 30

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