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Notre Dame vs. Clemson - 12/29/18 College Football Cotton Bowl Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Game
Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) at Clemson Tigers (13-0)
Date & Time Saturday December 29, 2018, 4:00 PM (EST)
The Line
The Line: Clemson Tigers -12.5 -- Over/Under: 56.5
TV Channel
ESPN
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CFB | Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) at Clemson Tigers (13-0)
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Clemson Tigers meet Saturday in the college football Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish head into this game with wins in each of their last 13 tries. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have won each of their last seven non-home games. Ian Book is completing 70.4 percent of his passes for 2,468 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions. Book has two or more touchdown passes in each of his last eight games. Miles Boykin and Chase Claypool have combined for 1,434 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns while Chris Finke has 47 receptions. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish ground game is averaging 190.5 yards per contest, and Dexter Williams leads the way with 941 yards and 12 touchdowns. Defensively, Notre Dame is allowing 17.3 points and 331.5 yards per game. Te'von Coney leads the Notre Dame Fighting Irish with 107 tackles, Jerry Tillery has eight sacks and Jalen Elliott has four interceptions.

The Clemson Tigers have lost just two games since the start of last season and are riding a 12-game winning streak. The Clemson Tigers have won their last six non-home games. Trevor Lawrence is completing 65 percent of his passes for 2,606 yards, 24 touchdowns and four interceptions. Lawrence has two or more touchdown passes in five of his last seven games. Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross have combined for 1,501 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns while Amari Rodgers has 47 receptions. The Clemson Tigers ground game is averaging 259.7 yards per contest, and Travis Etienne leads the way with 1,463 yards and 21 touchdowns. Defensively, Clemson is allowing 13.7 points and 276.7 yards per game. Isaiah Simmons leads the Clemson Tigers with 75 tackles, Clelin Ferrell has 10.5 sacks and A.J. Terrell has two interceptions.

The Fighting Irish are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. ACC, 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games and 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 games overall. The Tigers are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 bowl games, 11-2 ATS in their last 13 neutral site games and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games overall. The under is 11-5 in Tigers last 16 bowl games. The over is 6-2 in Fighting Irish last 8 games in December. The under is 4-1 in Fighting Irish last 5 neutral site games. The under is 4-1 in Tigers last 5 neutral site games.

The Notre Dame Fighting Irish haven't lost a game since Post Malone's Rockstar was at the top of the music charts and they've been an underdog just once since the 2016 meeting against USC. The Clemson Tigers have lived up to expectations and 11 of their 13 wins this season have come by double digits. In fact, Clemson has won its last four games by an average of 25.5 points. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have covered seven of their last 11 games when a double-digit underdog. The Clemson Tigers have covered seven of their last 10 games when a double-digit favorite. Clemson is worthy of being the favorite in this game, but this line feels insane to me. Notre Dame is just as good defensively as Clemson and will be the biggest test for the Tigers yet. The Irish are also a lot more physical than they've been in the past, while Ian Book has done a wonderful job of taking care of the football. There's also a lot of subpar teams in the ACC who Clemson beat up on, which didn't move the needle for me. Notre Dame dominated a phyiscal Michigan team opening week, beat the hell out of Stanford in the trenches and had their way with a talented USC team. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish are battle tested and a lot tougher at key positions than they were in years past.

I'm taking the points with the Irish, and I'll also sprinkle the ML. I don't get the lack of respect for the Irish.

Pick:
Notre Dame Fighting Irish +12.5

Randy Chambers has been with Sports Chat Place since 2014 and covers everything from the NFL to WNBA and tennis. Nobody works harder in this business in terms of content produced and amount of sports covered. Formerly a lead college football writer with Bleacher Report and has had his work featured at Fox Sports, CBS Sports and various other outlets.

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