College Football Pick
Clemson is undefeated and set to cruise control with a week off after this Game. The Tigers showed no ill effects from a big Louisville win by dismantling Boston College and now return home to face NC State. The Wolfpack have been somewhat of a surprise lately, but face a tall task in this Game. The Tigers are a -17.5 point home favorite at betonline Sportsbook.
There was the possibility of a letdown scenario last Friday at BC, but Clemson ignored any chance of that and scored 21 points in the first quarter against a good defense. But more surprisingly, North Carolina State is sitting with a 4-1 record having just beaten Notre Dame. Unfortunately for them, that lone loss came against East Carolina.
And that win over the Fighting Irish should be taken lightly because not only are the Irish bad this year, but the Game was played in a pool of water and it looked nothing like a football Game. NC State’s only other relevant win so far has come against Wake Forest, who is also conveniently sitting with one loss.
When these teams met last year in Raleigh, the Wolfpack put up a fight for most of the way, but their defense had no chance in a 56-41 loss. The reason they stayed close was because of Jacoby Brissett, now with the New England Patriots. Without Brissett at quarterback, NC State will need to do a much better job of containing Deshaun Watson, who had six total touchdowns.
That said, the Wolfpack haven’t been terrible offensively, they just haven’t faced a good defense yet. Former Boise State quarterback Ryan Finley looks fine and hasn’t thrown an interception yet. It’s quite the change from his Broncos days when he never really found a place with the team. Finley has been helped by a running Game led by Matthew Dayes, who’s averaging 5.7 yards per carry.
But of course, this Clemson defense is on another level, as long as they show up. They played well enough against Louisville, and have handled any previous opponent, namely beating up on mediocre ACC teams like Georgia Tech and Boston College. NC State fits into that same area as a mediocre ACC team.
And on the other end, there’s no reason to believe the Wolfpack can do anything to stop Watson and company. The Tigers got off to a slow start this season, but after coming alive in the Louisville Game, they looked revived and back to last year’s level in that Boston College win.
Watson is still completing a smaller portion of his passes and hasn’t even run for a touchdown, but at least he’s thrown for nine touchdowns in the last two Games. And the Louisville and Boston College defenses are arguably better than anything NC State can do.
Expect another big Game for Watson and running back Wayne Gallman, who has 100-plus yards the last two Games despite only 25 total carries.
If Clemson scores like they can, it’s going to fall on Ryan Finley to keep this close for the Wolfpack and that’s just not a guarantee on the road.
The Wolfpack are 4-1 ATS in their last five overall, but 1-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Tigers have covered in Four straight Conference Games, are 5-1 ATS in their last six at home and 6-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Our Pick – Clemson has dominated this series, winning 11 of the last 12. Not crazy about laying a big number here and certainly this is just an opinion and not a Game we are actually going to play. Having said that, have to lean towards Clemson minus the spot. Shop around and lay -17 or less. Clemson -17