A lot of eyes will be on the ACC championship Game with the winner likely headed for the College Football Playoff, something that usually isn’t the case because the Coastal division has lacked relevance. That’s changed with Miami, even after last week’s loss against Pittsburgh. For the Game in Charlotte, Clemson was a -10 point favorite early in the week at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
These teams met two years ago and it was a brutal beat down in which Clemson won 58-0. Things should go much different in this one mainly because Miami is a real team again. The Hurricanes haven’t won pretty many times this season and that’s the main reason they haven’t gotten much respect on a national stage. OUtside of the win against Notre Dame, which looks less impressive by the day, Miami has struggled against almost every opponent, from UNC to Georgia Tech and Syracuse.
It’s been almost the opposite situation for Clemson due to its dominant defense. OUtside of the loss at Syracuse, the Tigers have handled most opponents, including Auburn earlier in the season. Miami hasn’t played a defense as good as this one and that’s going to be a major problem, especially after a lackluster 14 points scored against Pitt last week.
Quarterback Malik Rosier had one of his worst Games of the season against the Panthers and if he repeats that performance, there’s no chance the ‘Canes will win. In fact, he hasn’t done much in the last month, failing to surpass 210 passing yards in the last Four Games. The team has won through turnovers and a ground Game led by Travis Homer, who did nothing against Pitt. Throw in Clemson’s defensive line and Miami could have more troubles running the ball as the Tigers allow just 3.1 yards per carry and 113 rushing yards per Game. Hurting Rosier even more in the passing Game is that tight end Chris Herndon is out for the rest of the season and he’s the team’s second leading receiver with 40 receptions.
For Miami to win or cover, it will require a top defensive performance, which is definitely possible. While the Tigers have covered more often than not this season, it hasn’t been because of the offense. Kelly Bryant looks good at times, but he’s still not at the same level of Deshaun Watson, meaning he can’t break open a Game by himself. Clemson bases most of its attack off the running Game between Bryant and backs Travis Etienne, Tavien Feaster and a couple others. That said, when needed, Bryant has often come through for the offense.
Miami creates plenty of turnovers, but overall, the defense is slightly above average numbers wise. The ‘Canes give up 150 rushing yards per Game and that could be the main issue in this Game. But even if Miami gets a couple turnovers against Bryant, who only has six interceptions this season, they’ll still need to Scoreand that’s not a guarantee against this defense.
The Hurricanes are 1-5 ATS in their last six Conference Games and 1-6 ATS in their last seven at a neutral site. The Tigers have covered nine of their last 10 neutral site Games and are 6-2-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Clemson is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these schools and the over has hit in the last Four.
Our Pick – Miami +10