With the Big Ten falling apart, Clemson is in a great position to reach the College Football Playoff as long as it wins out. The Tigers shouldn’t be challenged against Florida State or in their remaining three regular-season Games. They opened as big -17.5 point favorites against FSU as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Clemson has had the edge in this matchup the last two years and should make it three with how the Seminoles have looked. Nothing has been easy about their season with all three of their wins coming by seven points or less. They were blown out at Boston College last time on the road and that could be a similar result to this one due to Clemson’s defense.
While Clemson’s defense was just lit up by NC State, it’s hard to see James Blackman and the Seminoles dropping 31 points against them. This is an offense that has struggled against any decent defense, but if they can reach 20 or so points, may be in line to cover.
Blackman is simply there to manage the Game for Florida State and if possible won’t throw it more than 20 times, although if behind early, will likely have to in this Game. He’s completing less than 60 percent of his passes with only eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. But if they can’t run the ball against this stout Clemson front, it could be trouble for this offense. Cam Akers ran for 199 yards and two touchdowns against Syracuse last week and they still only won by three points. When FSU struggles to run the ball, the offense struggles and reaching 20 points may be a little optimistic.
The other side of the ball is why Florida State could cover. Even in a down season, the Seminoles still have a decent defense, it’s just not one that can win Games by itself. And still, they’ve given up an average of 30 points in the last three Games.
Kelly Bryant has the Clemson offense moving along and he was big in the 38-31 win against NC State. But his upside is still limited, which could keep Clemson from covering. Bryant only has seven touchdowns with five interceptions, although is completing 65.2% of his passes. The big thing for him is that he can run the ball, which Blackman hasn’t shown for FSU. Bryant leads the Tigers with 548 rushing yards and nine touchdowns. Tavien Feaster and Travis Etienne are slightly behind Bryant in yards and should see the ball a combined 15-20 times. But averaging 5.2 yards per carry won’t win you a Game by more than 17 points. Clemson hasn’t won any of its last five Games by more than 14 points if that says anything.
The Seminoles are 0-6-2 ATS in their last eight Games overall and don’t have many positive trends. The Tigers are only 2-8 ATS vs. a team with a losing record and 0-3-1 ATS in their last Four overall. Clemson is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these teams when playing at home.
Our Pick – Clemson -16