ACC Championship Game: Clemson vs. Notre Dame odds and preview
The ACC Championship Game is set for Saturday, Dec. 19, and football fans are in for a treat as it's a rematch of the best game of the 2020 season.
Clemson is 9-1 on the year (4-6 ATS), and is a 10-point favorite against 10-0 Notre Dame (5-5 ATS). When these teams faced off on Nov. 7, Notre Dame prevailed at home 47-40 in overtime.
Sat, December 19 2020, 9:00 PM
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
The General is back
In the first matchup between these teams, Clemson was without its starting quarterback and leader, Trevor Lawrence, as he sat out with COVID-19. In his place was highly-touted backup, DJ Uiagalelei. Uiagalelei played admirably, throwing for 439 yards, but managed to put up just 13 points in the first half and put his team into a hole that proved too deep to overcome.
Since Lawrence has returned, the Clemson offense has looked motivated, putting up 52 and 45 points in back-to-back blowout wins against Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech. Lawrence will be the first overall pick in next year’s NFL draft, and while Uiagalelei has a very bright future, Lawrence’s mere presence on the field will be a boost that Clemson didn’t enjoy in November.
Irish are banged up
While Clemson’s starting 22 will look slightly different due mostly to Lawrence’s return, so too will Notre Dame’s. In their first matchup, the Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams averaged 6.1 yards per rush behind his veteran offensive line. Quarterback Ian Book added 67 on the ground and enjoyed a relatively clean pocket, getting sacked only twice.
Since that game, the Irish have lost two starters, which will certainly hurt their effectiveness in this rematch. Jarrett Peterson and Tommy Kraemer are both out for this game and sophomore Zeke Correll has been moved over to play center. While Correll has played well in his new assignment, the loss of two quality starters is notable against such a talented and aggressive defense.
Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables is arguably the top defensive coordinator in the country, and should come prepared with both motivation and scheme to avoid giving up 47 points again.
Clemson will get revenge over Notre Dame
Whenever a double-digit spread occurs between two top-10 teams, it's generally profitable to lay the points. The Tigers are 5-0 ATS in their last five games as a neutral site favorite, and know that they need to perform well to continue their march toward the national championship.
Will Clemson cover the spread against Notre Dame?
The Irish need only to keep the game respectable to still earn their spot in the College Football Playoff, and while their talented roster will likely keep this close through at least a half, the Clemson freight train is barrelling down the tracks.
Clemson's offense is more dangerous, and its defense over the last several games has surrendered less points per play than the Irish.
Score prediction: Clemson 38, Notre Dame 24