No. 2 Notre Dame proved itself to be a true College Football Playoff contender when it knocked off No. 3 Clemson on Nov. 7.
The Irish didn't, however, instill much confidence in the sports betting market. The Tigers opened up as a -7.5 point favorite last week in the rematch against ND in Saturday's ACC Championship Game.
Since then, the line has skyrocketed to double digits. Betonline.ag listed the Tigers as a 10-point favorite Sunday afternoon with six days still to go before the big game. That means the betting market is quite bullish on Clemson and very bearish on the Irish.
Generally, the professionals take the first crack at a sportsbook's opening line. That dictates the market early and then the betting public comes in closer to kickoff and moves a game in the same or different direction. It'll be interesting to see if the line continues to rise, but it's likely the smart money that moved it to double digits.
Why is there so much faith in Clemson despite losing the first showdown? Having QB Trevor Lawrence, who missed the first game because of COVID-19 protocols, back has something to do with it. Even though D.J. Uiagalelei threw for over 400 yards with Lawrence on the bench, bettors are much more comfortable with Lawrence back at the helm.
Also, the Tigers are much healthier on defense as starters Tyler Davis and James Skalski are back to help slow down ND's stellar running game. Plus, this program has been here so often. This is the first time the Irish have ever played for a conference title game, and they could still get into the CFP with a loss. The Tigers likely wouldn't with a loss.
Regardless, Clemson is highly expected to win its sixth consecutive ACC title. Based on implied odds, the Tigers have a 77 percent chance of winning outright. ESPN's FPI, however, says Clemson has just a 45 percent shot at making the CFP.
Does that mean that even with a win over Notre Dame, there's a chance the Tigers miss the playoff? That feels highly unlikely considering they're already in the top 4, so something doesn't make sense.
That is just one metric that has nothing to do with what will actually happen on the field. The last time these two teams played, Clemson was a 5-point favorite in South Bend, but the Irish won by seven in double overtime.
As for the total, oddsmakers added 10 points this go-round. It closed at 51 last month and went way over with the extra time. It was 33-33 at the end of regulation. For Saturday, the total is currently 61.