College Football Playoffs
Clemson vs Notre Dame
When: Saturday, 4 PM ET
Where: AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Live Stream: WatchESPN
2018 Cotton Bowl Odds: Clemson Tigers -13 (Total 55)
Chance of Rain: 7°C/44°F
Cloud Cover: 90%
Wind: 14 mph N
Stadium Type: Retractable
Clemson vs Notre Dame 2018 Cotton Bowl Betting Trends
- Fighting Irish are 4-0-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- Fighting Irish are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games
- Tigers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games
- Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 bowl games
- Notre Dame is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Notre Dame’s last 9 games
- Clemson is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Clemson Betting Preview
The Tigers are trying to reach the CFP championship for the third time in four years. They fell short in the semifinals last season. Clemson has won four straight ACC championships, joining Oklahoma as one of just two Power Five Conference schools to have an active streak of four consecutive conference championships.
Clemson has two of the early favorites for next year’s Heisman in freshman QB Trevor Lawrence and sophomore running back Travis Etienne. Lawrence, who didn’t open the year as the starter, has completed 212-326 passes for 2,606 yards and 24 touchdowns against just four interceptions. In six of his nine starts, Clemson has scored at least 40 points. Lawrence’s 154.0 rating is 19th best in the nation, the same standing Deshaun Watson had when he led Clemson to the 2016 national championship.
Etienne has blossomed into an All-American. He has 1,463 yards on 176 carries, a school-record 8.3 yards per carry. He needs just 65 yards to break Wayne Gallman’s Tiger single-season record of 1,527 in 2015. The Doak Walker Award finalist has 21 rushing touchdowns and 22 overall to break C.J. Spiller’s record of 21 set in 2009. He was the 2018 ACC Player-of-the-Year, the first Clemson running back to win the award since Spiller.
The 2018 Tigers have won 11 of their 13 games by 20+ points, including an active streak of eight consecutive games. It is the most accomplished team in Clemson history in terms of statistical rankings on both sides of the ball. Clemson leads the nation in yards per carry (6.75) and leads the nation in yards per carry allowed (2.40). No FBS team has accomplished that for the course of the season in the last 10 years.
Clemson’s scoring margin of 31.7 points per game is on pace to be the second-best in school history and the best since 1900 when John Heisman’s team won by 35.3 points per game.
Clemson has posted a 7-5 bowl record under head coach Dabo Swinney, including a 6-2 mark in its last eight bowl games dating to the 2012 season.
Notre Dame Betting Preview
The Fighting Irish finished the regular season undefeated for the first time since 2012, when they lost to Alabama 42-14 in the BCS national championship. Notre Dame ranks fourth in the nation in pass efficiency defense and ninth in scoring defense.
Clemson has not faced a team in the top 25 in the nation in either category. Clemson is in the top 10 in the nation in offensive plays of 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 yards, while Notre Dame is in the top 10 in the nation in preventing plays of those distances.
Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book threw for 2,468 yards and 19 touchdowns after replacing Brandon Wimbush following the third game of the season. Book ranks fifth among all quarterbacks in the FBS this season with a 70.4 completion percentage over his nine games played under center.
Book is the first Notre Dame quarterback with eight straight games above 260 yards passing since Brady Quinn logged 10 such games consecutively from Sept. 10, 2005, against Michigan State through Jan. 2, 2006, against Ohio State. Unlike Quinn, Book is believed to be the only Notre Dame signal caller since at least 1996 to go over 260 yards with 20 completions in eight straight games in a given season. Over his last 31 quarters of football since becoming the Notre Dame starter prior to the Wake Forest game, Book is 194-of-277 passing (70.0 percent) for 2,455 yards and 18 touchdowns following his performance against USC.
Dexter Williams ran for 941 yards despite missing the first four games of the season. Against one of the four defenses in the nation that has allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards per game, Williams will need to make the most of the small creases and infrequent windows that he can find. Much as it has over the past two years, Notre Dame continued its success inside the opposing red zone in the 2018 regular season. The Irish are 44-of-51 (86 percent) inside the red zone thus far this season. The Notre Dame offense has averaged 37.2 points per game in its last nine wins.
Senior kicker Justin Yoon (58) surpassed his predecessor Kyle Brindza (2011-14) for the Notre Dame career field goals lead by connecting from 46 yards out in the win over USC on Nov. 24 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Notre Dame makes its eighth appearance in the Cotton Bowl Classic, the most common bowl game that the Irish have competed in since making their bowl debut in the 1925 Rose Bowl. Notre Dame is 5-2 in prior trips to the Cotton Bowl Classic.
Clemson vs Notre Dame Prediction:
Clemson is going on the assumption that star defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence will be suspended for its semifinal playoff game against Notre Dame after failing an NCAA drug test. I liked Notre Dame to hang close enough to cover before the suspension and now I really like them to stay within 10 points. I know the Clemson has an all around top defense but, it is the defensive line that really makes this team. Taking the Fighting Irish as long as I can get 10.5 points or more.