One of the five bowl games today will feature the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the South Carolina Gamecocks. Both teams have been hit hard by transfer portal and NFL draft departures, so both teams will look different from their last regular season game. We’ll preview this match-up and then get into which two bets I’ll be playing today.
Notre Dame finished the regular season with an 11-point loss to USC and since then has lost their starting quarterback Drew Pyne to the transfer portal. They will also be without arguably their best players on both sides of the ball, with tight-end Michael Mayer and edge-rusher Isaiah Foskey opting out to prepare for the NFL draft.
Those three players are just a few that have left or opted out, but as for the team taking the field today, week one starter Tyler Buchner will be back as the team's starting quarterback today. Buchner attempted 50 passes for 378 yards and two interceptions before Pyne took over.
The Fighting Irish will still have running backs Audric Estime and Logan Diggs to help carry the offense today, as both players rushed for a combined 1,557 yards and led Notre Dame to be ranked 37th in rushing yards per game. The backfield duo will be facing a Gamecocks defense today that ranked 112th in the country in rushing yards before the many transfer portal departures they’ve had.
South Carolina finished the season with two huge wins over Tennessee and Clemson, but much like the Fighting Irish, they will not look like the same team from the Clemson game. The Gamecocks will be without their starting defensive tackle and edge-rusher, along with three starting secondary players, one of them being Cam Smith, who was arguably their best defensive player.
On the offensive side, South Carolina will have quarterback Spencer Rattler at the helm, which is good news, but the challenging part for him is he will be down quite a few weapons. The Gamecocks' offense which averaged 261.2 passing yards a game, will be without three tight ends and their starting running back, along with a few other key players.
South Carolina can currently be found as +4 point underdogs today, and I’ll be taking them as my first bet for this game. The Notre Dame offense early in the season under Buchner was less than impressive, and not having Mayer for the young quarterback to rely on is a huge loss. If the Clemson game showed it anything, it’s hard to beat this Gamecocks team by just running the ball, which the Irish will be looking to do today.
The losses on the offensive end certainly hurt South Carolina as well, but Rattler will still have his favorite target today in Antwane Wells Jr., who led the team with 898 yards and six touchdowns. Notre Dame will be without one of their outside cornerbacks today, along with Foskey, who led the team in sacks this season with 10.5.
South Carolina has been able to win games without a solid running presence before, so the loss of starting running back Marshawn Lloyd does not concern me as much. Overall I think the Gamecocks have the offensive capabilities to keep this game close, especially if Notre Dame goes with a heavy running attack.
The point total is currently sitting at 50.5, and I’ll be taking the over as my second play of the game. The last six games Notre Dame played in all went over, and that was with their entire defense, which was ranked 24th in the country in points allowed per game. I think the uptempo offense of South Carolina will be able to find success today against the Fighting Irish defense.
The over was also 3-1 in the Gamecocks' last four games this season, and with their defense, which was already allowing an average of 408 yards per game, losing a few starters, the Irish should be able to find the endzone a few times with their running backs.
South Carolina (+4)