Notre Dame Vs. South Carolina Prediction, Picks, Odds TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (12/30/22)
After a rocky start to the season for the Gamecocks that saw SC lose to Arkansas and shut down by Georgia, they flipped it around to a 8-4 finish. They played the spoiler role with two playoff implicating wins against the Tennessee Volunteers and Clemson Tigers and now get the prolific Notre Dame Fighting Irish in their bowl matchup. Can Rattler and company continue their hot stretch and finish on a high note? Find more for my Notre Dame Vs. South Carolina prediction.
Notre Dame Vs. South Carolina Odds
Oddsmakers don’t think so as they opened the Gamecocks as a +3.5 underdog. The number has stayed relatively firm above the key number, only taking slight dips to +3 in some shops as of writing. Both teams have been gutted out by transfers and opt outs as expected, shifting both of their offensive identities. This has given bettors pause on who to back, needing to dig in more on how they fare against each other with new faces in key roles.
As for the total, points were expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 52.5. In lieu of transfer and opt out news, this has caused bettors to hit the under by taking it down to as low as 50.5. South Carolina’s offense especially, losing out on multiple share leading weapons. This will slow down their recently explosive offense, while Notre Dame is expected to go run heavy which will drain the clock.
Notre Dame Vs. South Carolina Prediction & Pick
The Pick: ND -3
With the key number of -3 being available in some shops, I will back Notre Dame no higher than that number as South Carolina’s departures may be too much to overcome against a fairly intact Notre Dame defense. As of writing, Notre Dame is only losing a combined 81 snaps due to the transfer portal with the departures of DL Jacob Lacey, DE Ositadinma Ekwonu, and DB Jayden Bellamy.
Their more significant defensive loss comes from the opt out of DE Isaiah Foskey, but other than that the Notre Dame defense remains fairly intact and fully capable of limiting the South Carolina depleted offensive attack. Especially the Notre Dame secondary, a unit that ranks an impressive top-10 in the nation in Def Pass Success Rate and 30th in Def Pass Success on Passing Downs.
This does not bode well for a South Carolina offense that is dropping their offensive weapons like flies. Their wideouts especially, a unit that carried a brunt of their success in their two massive upsets against the Vols and Tigers. Quarterback Spencer Rattler will now be forced to find success with his backups after losing Jaheim Bell and Austin Stogner. Josh Vann also remains out due to injury.
This now narrows the leading targets at wideout for Spencer Rattler, a tough ask to find production against an elite Notre Dame secondary. The Gamecocks already struggled to find consistent passing success, finishing the season ranked 84th in Off Pass Success Rate. Leaning more towards the run won’t provide much of a boost either as their ground game has ranked well below average in Success Rate as well.
Notre Dame Vs. South Carolina Key Matchups
Can Notre Dame’s ground game find success against the South Carolina defense?
Notre Dame ground game vs South Carolina rush defense
While Notre Dame’s defense is expected to find success in limiting the South Carolina pass attack, it will be up to their offense to seal the fate of our spread tickets as we will need them to put points on the board.
This will come off the backs of their ground game, an area that the Fighting Irish should exploit against the near bottom ranked South Carolina Stuff Rate. With little to no push back into the Notre Dame backfield, the offensive line should have little issue opening up holes for their ground game.
This bodes well for a unit that ranked near top-20 in Off Rush Success Rate. Audric Estime is poised for a big outing, leading the Irish with 825 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns.
With Notre Dame fielding more continuity on both ends and a ground game that will be tough to stop, I will take them at the key number of -3 or lower in what will be a grind it out type of slugfest.