On Saturday (11/4/23), No. 12 Notre Dame faces Clemson. In this article, find a full breakdown of the matchup and the latest betting odds. In addition, find our Notre Dame vs. Clemson best bet which is under 44.5 points.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Clemson Tigers Prediction
After starting the season as a popular dark horse title contender, Clemson is sitting with a 4-4 record. Their two most recent losses have been to Miami and NC State, both of whom were starting their backup quarterbacks. The high-powered offense many expected, myself included, hasn’t come to fruition as Cade Klubnik hasn’t settled into the Garrett Riley offense.
Klubnik ranks 120th out of 166 qualified passers with just 6.5 yards per attempt this season and he has more turnover-worthy plays (13) than big-time throws (7) per PFF. It’s difficult to imagine him turning around his fortunes against a Notre Dame defense that ranks third in the country in EPA per pass allowed.
The Irish defense is excellent at all three levels. Four players have 20+ pressures per PFF and the cornerback trio of Cam Hart, Benjamin Morrison and Thomas Harper has been stout. Clemson has been held to 20 or fewer points in four straight games, and that’s likely their ceiling against this elite defense.
While its offense has been stuck in the mud, Clemson’s defense remains elite. The Tigers rank top 10 in overall EPA and success rate allowed. Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. has been stout against the run all season while cornerback Nate Wiggins is a projected first-round pick in the NFL draft.
Notre Dame’s transfer quarterback Sam Hartman has had a solid season overall. But this is a slow, methodical offense reliant on a run game headlined by Audric Estime. I don’t expect an explosive offensive performance against this elite Clemson defense. Both defenses have the upper hand in this game, so we can expect a low-scoring slug fest played in the 20s.
Notre Dame vs. Clemson Prediction: Under 44.5 Points
Notre Dame vs. Clemson Best Odds
We’ve seen some line movement in this game as Notre Dame opened as 3.5-point favorites. Clemson took some action, which drove the spread down to 3. The total currently sits at 44.5 after opening over 45 points. 3 is a key number in spreads and 45 is a key number in totals, so keep that in mind when placing wagers.
Notre Dame vs. Clemson Key Matchups
When these rivals face off on Saturday, there will be some big time matchups to take note of. Here, I’ll break down some of the key matchups that will determine the winner between Notre Dame and Clemson.
Audric Estime Vs. Clemson Run Defense
When Audric Estime faced Clemson last season, he finished with 18 carries for 104 yards and a touchdown. He’s only improved since that game, and he ranks in the top 10 of the FBS with 901 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. He’s also tied for 12th in the FBS with 4.21 yards after contact per attempt, constantly giving would be tacklers fits.
Clemson’s defense has remained stout against the run all year, and Jeremiah Trotter Jr. grades out as the seventh-best linebacker against the run per PFF. The Tigers will have to be careful not to allow big plays on the ground to Estime as they rank 107th in rushing explosiveness allowed.
Clemson Wide Receivers vs. Notre Dame Cornerbacks
While Cade Klubnik certainly hasn’t impressed this season, it’s not all his fault as this team’s receiver play has been mostly dreadful. Antonio Williams is the only wide receiver on the team averaging over 2 yards per route run, but he has been out of the lineup with an injury. Beaux Collins leads the team with 408 receiving yards, but he has just a 58.8% catch rate.
These Clemson wide receivers will struggle to separate against Notre Dame’s elite cornerbacks. The Irish rank third in passing EPA per play allowed thanks to their talented secondary, although that depth was tested last week with star sophomore Benjamin Morrison out. Still, look for Cam Hart to make a big impact – he’s PFF’s 20th-ranked cornerback in coverage in the FBS.