Clemson vs. Notre Dame predictions: College football odds, picks

Clemson vs. Notre Dame predictions: College football odds, picks

Our college football betting writer brings you his best Clemson vs. Notre Dame predictions and picks for their Week 10 showdown, which is live Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

They faced off for an ACC title in 2020, but two years can bring monumental change in the world of college football. No. 4 Clemson visits unranked Notre Dame on Saturday in South Bend.

Clemson vs. Notre Dame picks

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Clemson vs. Notre Dame picks and analysis

Clemson (8-0) debuted at No. 4 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings. Most projections had Michigan at No. 4 and Clemson at No. 5, but the committee appears to have rewarded the Tigers’ wins over ranked ACC foes Wake Forest, NC State and Syracuse. The Tigers’ last two wins have come by just six points, most recently a 27-21 home win over Syracuse on Oct. 22.

Notre Dame (5-3) has recovered from its 0-2 start to the season, though its surprise loss to Marshall may have torpedoed any hopes of sniffing the CFP rankings this year. Notre Dame has nonetheless managed to beat a high-powered North Carolina team, BYU and Syracuse as first-year coach Marcus Freeman has begun to make his imprint on the program.

Clemson to cover -3.5

The Tigers are a few seasons removed from the Trevor Lawrence/Travis Etienne glory days now, and they’re no longer smoking every team they see. They may be 8-0, but four of their six conference wins have come by 10 points or fewer.

That could be part of the explanation as to why Clemson is only favored by 3.5 points here, and by four points at BetMGM. The other half of it could be Notre Dame’s national brand drawing in excess action. Make Clemson a larger favorite, and the money will come in too one-sided.

Drew Pyne of Notre Dame
Drew Pyne of Notre Dame
Getty Images

Take advantage of this while you can. Notre Dame may be able to hang with Clemson early, but big plays on offense are required to keep up with the best teams in the nation, and sophomore quarterback Drew Pyne has few receiving options in that regard.

The Irish have relied more on the running game — Audri Estime and Logan Diggs combined for three touchdowns while Notre Dame racked up 246 rushing yards to beat Syracuse — but Clemson ranks seventh in FBS in rushing defense, allowing 87.9 yards per game at under 3 yards per attempt.

Clemson vs. Notre Dame prediction: Clemson to cover -3.5 @ -115 at Caesars Sportsbook

Over 44 total points

Dabo Swinney insists Clemson doesn’t have a quarterback controversy. Love him or hate him, Swinney is right.

DJ Uiagalelei had his toughest outing of the season against Syracuse. He lost a fumble and threw two interceptions before Swinney inserted backup Cade Klubnik, Clemson’s heir apparent at the position. Klubnik was fine, while running back Will Shipley shouldered the load in the second half to ensure Clemson’s victory.

But before the Syracuse game, Uiagalelei was showing vast improvement over 2021, most notably tossing five touchdowns to help Clemson put away Wake Forest in double overtime. Now he has the benefit of a bye week between Syracuse and Notre Dame to recharge and refocus.

DJ Uiagalelei of Clemson
DJ Uiagalelei of Clemson
Getty Images

Freeman is a defensive-minded coach and Notre Dame is fine against the pass, but Uiagalelei can go off at any moment — just as he did in his first major action as a college player, when Lawrence missed the 2020 regular-season showdown with COVID-19 and Uiagalelei threw for 439 yards and two touchdowns in a 2OT loss.

Combine all this with the fact that this is not a vintage Clemson defense keeping teams under 10 points a game, and we consider this a very exploitable over/under total.

Clemson vs. Notre Dame prediction: Over 44 total points @ -110 with Caesars Sportsbook

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Clemson to cover second-half spread (-1.5)

Clemson’s offense has been taking time to warm up. Not only did they score 17 of their 27 points against Syracuse in the second half, they notched 21 of their 31 against Boston College and 17 of their 30 against NC State after halftime.

The Tigers have also outscored their opponents in the second half six times in eight games, and always by more than a couple points.

If Notre Dame has to play catch-up in this game — and we believe it will — Pyne and the Irish offense haven’t shown they can manage that. In four of their five wins, they’ve struck early and built a healthy lead by halftime before holding on. The lone comeback win came against lowly Cal.

Their biggest chunk plays tend to go to NFL tight end prospect Michael Mayer, who will be well-accounted for in Swinney’s gameplan. In short, Clemson will bag this one in the second half.

Clemson vs. Notre Dame prediction: Clemson to cover second-half spread (-1.5) @ -120 at Caesars Sportsbook

Clemson vs. Notre Dame odds

Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook. Correct at time of publishing and subject to change.

Team Spread Money line Total Points 44
Clemson (-3.5) -115 -180 Over -110
Notre Dame (+3.5) -105 +152 Under -110