It doesn’t happen often that a title Game pits two teams with undefeated Conference records against each other, but that’s what we have here. Clemson is looking to add another win to its belt, while North Carolina is hoping to make things harder for the Playoff committee with a 12th-straight win. The Tigers opened as a -5.5 point favorite (at 5 Dimes Sportsbook), for the ACC title Game at Bank of America Stadium, home of the Carolina Panthers.
It’s been a weird season for the Tar Heels, who lost their first Game of the season to South Carolina, a team that finished 3-9. But they turned things around and beat up on most of their ACC competition, with notable road wins at Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and NC State. While none of those teams are elite, it’s been an impressive run, nevertheless.
Clemson has some better wins against Notre Dame and Florida State, but even with an undefeated record, some of those wins have come with faults. Most notably was their final regular season Game at South Carolina, in which they barely held on 37-32. Maybe they were looking ahead, but it was a poor performance by the defense.
These teams last met in 2014 with the Tigers winning a high-scoring Game 50-35 as a 14-point favorite at home. This could be a similar outing with quarterbacks Deshaun Watson and Marquise Williams at the top of their Games.
Starting with Watson, his health has been the biggest positive for this team after dealing with injuries all of last year. While he does have 10 interceptions, Watson still has thrown 27 TDs completing 70.4% of his passes to go with 756 yards and 9 TDs on the ground. UNC’s defense has been good this year allowing 20.8 points per Game, but they haven’t faced an offense nearly as good as what Clemson presents.
Watson lost a top receiver early on, but Artavis SCott has been great in the passing Game. And don’t forget about Wayne Gallman, who has rushed for 1,145 yards and 9 TDs himself. This is a balanced offense that can Scorein a multitude of ways.
This spread is close because North Carolina can do the same thing. Clemson has a good defense as well, allowing 18.8 points per Game, but again, has struggled against better offenses. UNC is scoring 41 points per Game and can rival Clemson’s scoring ability.
Marquise Williams would like nothing more than in his senior season to upset Clemson in the title Game. He hasn’t been asked to throw as much this season, which has helped this offense. Williams has 28 TDs on the year (18 passing) and 8 INTs. His rushing ability, similar to Watson, has been huge as well with 786 yards. These offenses are almost the same in that aspect in the ground Game with Elijah Hood totaling 1,280 yards and 16 TDs this year, garnering 6.7 yards per carry. He went for 220 yards on 21 carries last Game against NC State.
This Game should be back-and-forth and plenty fun to watch with these quarterbacks dueling it out on the scoreboard.
The favorite has covered in Four straight meetings and the over has hit in all of those matchups. The Tigers have covered in Four straight neutral-site Games and the Tar Heels are 6-0 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Our Pick – A strong case could be made here, that the wrong team is favored. This Game shapes up as a toss up which of course has us taking any points available. One of the best wagers in sports, is taking a dog with a legitimate chance to win straight up. North Carolina +5