Last Updated: 2018-12-29
Time to jump back into college football, and we’ll begin with our College Totals Play of the Week and take a look at the first semifinal game of the day between the Clemson Tigers and Notre Dame. The Tigers have moved from 11-point favorites to -12, while the total has moved from 56 to 57 with three-quarters of the wagers on the over.
When you get these types of games, the most difficult thing is try and figure out if it’s going to be the offenses or defenses that will control the game. The total seems too low if you focus on the offense, as the teams average a combined 79.2 points per game, but on the other hand, if you focus on defense, the number looks too big, as these teams allow a combined 31 points per game.
Notre Dame is better on defense than they are on offense, as they averaged 5.7 more points than their opponents allowed during the season, but held foes to 11.6 fewer points than they scored. The Irish are pretty much an average rushing team, gaining 4.6 yards per carry against teams who allowed an average of 4.5 and rushed for 190 yards per game against teams who allowed an average of 173 yards. A lot of that had to do with playing with the lead, however, and don’t believe that will be the case here, as the Irish will probably be forced to throw and that’s something they do pretty well. The Irish completed a higher percentage of passes for more yards per attempt than their foes allowed and let’s face it, running against Clemson is no easy task.
The Tigers are a beast offensively and defensively, scoring 15.1 more points than their foes allowed, while allowing 15.3 fewer points. Their offensive marks were all a fair amount better than their opponents allowed, while the same holds true defensively, where the Tigers were better against the pass and run.
The Tigers can run or pass and are content to run the ball if they are having success, as they did in the conference championship game against Pittsburgh, where they rushed for 301 yards and passed for 116, and can keep the Irish guessing.
Both teams are going to gain some yards, so really it’s a question of what each team does with their opportunities. Most of the numbers I use has this one finishing around 52 to 54 points, but think this one is going to sneak over the total, as both defenses have also shown a few vulnerabilities the past couple of games, so will take a shot on the over in this one.
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