Clemson got one close win out of its system last week and it’s a matter of how many more it will need before the season is over. A trip to Wake Forest doesn’t look like a roadblock, but with questions at quarterback, this one could get interesting. The Tigers were -17 point road favorites with an over/under of 62 as of Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The big news going into this Game is the status of Clemson starting quarterback Trevor LAwrence, who left last weekend with a neck strain. If he can’t go, Chase Brice would likely get the start and that could be a problem as he’s a freshman and has two interceptions in only 21 pass attempts this year. Inconveniently for Clemson and Dabo Swinney, Kelly Bryant left the team only a week ago.
Before betting this Game, the status of LAwrence should be known because that could change a lot. Without LAwrence, Clemson doesn’t really have anyone else that can complete passes consistently and it would likely have to rely on the ground Game to win on the road, similar to the Game-winning drive against Syracuse. Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster are capable running backs and Wake has a miserable defense, but betting on Brice will be difficult. Still, this Wake Forest defense has struggled against any relevant offense, giving up 41 points to BC and 56 to Notre Dame.
To cover, the Demon Deacons will have to put points on the board and hold onto the ball against one of the best defensive lines in the country. This offense is plenty high powered, but the best defense it’s faced was Notre Dame’s and even then their run defense doesn’t compare to that of Clemson’s. That said, Wake ran for 259 yards against the Irish and if they can do that in this Game, that’d at least be a starting point because the last thing they want to do is force Sam Hartman into too many passes against this defense.
Wake Forest kept this matchup tight last year by churning out enough yards on the ground and keeping Clemson’s offense in check to only 4.0 yards per carry. This Wake defense has looked somewhat worse in the early season, but playing at home should give them some added juice. Still, the spread could feel small at the end of the Game if Clemson’s defense dominates and they run all over Wake with Etienne and Feaster. At the least, Wake has covered the last Four Games in this meeting and seem to always put up a good fight no matter how the team is playing.
The Tigers are 1-5 ATS in their last six overall and haven’t covered in their last Four against a team with a winning record. The Demon Deacons are 1-4 ATS in their last five home Games and 1-6 ATS in their last seven Games overall. The under is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings between these schools and the Deacons are 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine between them played at Wake.
Our Pick – Wake Forest +20