Virginia vs. Clemson Odds & Pick: How to Bet the Over/Under in Saturday’s ACC Basketball Matchup
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Reece Beekman.
- We have a defensive ACC battle ahead of us on Saturday as the Clemson Tigers battle the Virginia Cavaliers in an ACC showdown.
- Both teams boast stellar defenses and play at incredibly slow paces, forcing the opening line to sit under 120.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down the game below and explains why the total still isn't low enough.
Virginia vs. Clemson Odds
Virginia hits on the road for a top-25 showdown in the ACC as it battles 12th-ranked Clemson on Saturday night.
After a bumpy start to the season, the Cavaliers are firing on all cylinders in ACC play. They took care of business against Notre Dame on Wednesday, beating the Irish 80-68 at home. However, they’ve been playing mostly cupcake competition so far, so Clemson will be a whole different animal for the Cavaliers.
The Tigers are putting together one of the best seasons in program history, starting the season off 9-1. The last time they were on the court, they survived a scare from NC State, winning 74-70 in overtime.
DOWN GOES THE PACK! TIGERS WIN IT!
No. 19 Clemson outlasts NC State 74-70 in OT to improve to 9-1 (3-1) on the season.
— The ClemsonCast (@TheClemsonCast) January 6, 2021
Clemson entered the year projected to finish in the middle of the ACC, but now they look like a potential contender for the conference title.
The Tigers have the best defense in the entire nation, according to KenPom, so it’s going to be an absolute slugfest on Saturday night.
When Virginia has the ball
Even though Virginia plays at the slowest pace in the country, it still boasts an extremely efficient offense. The Cavs average 1.15 points per possession in conference play and put up 1.27 on Notre Dame on Wednesday.
Virginia plays old-school basketball, trying to get the ball as close to the basket as possible. It does so with success, as it owns the best 2-point percentage in the ACC at 58.5%.
The Cavaliers aren’t a one-trick pony, either. They’re shooting a cool 36.7% from 3-point range this season and can score from all five positions on the court, with four starters averaging double figures on the season.
However, they are in for rude awakening, as they will be facing not only the best defense they’ve faced all season, but the best defense in the country.
Clemson is No. 1 in defensive efficiency, per KenPom, which is crazy considering it was ranked 33rd last year.
The reason for that has been its ability to defend shots and force turnovers.
Clemson is allowing opponents to shoot under 30% from 3-point range and under 45% from inside the arc. That has led it to a ranking of 19th in effective field goal percentage allowed.
The Tigers is also sixth in the country in turnover percentage, but they’ll likely have trouble against Virginia on Saturday, as the Cavaliers are fourth in the nation in turnover percentage allowed.
When Clemson has the ball
Now, while Clemson’s defense deserves all of the praise, its offense has been falling behind, ranking 72nd in offensive efficiency, per KenPom.
The main reason for that is it hasn’t shot the ball well. The Tigers shoot a dreadful 45.4% from 2-point range in conference play, which is going to be a major issue against Virginia. The Cavs give up only 45.2% from 2-point range and 52% at the rim, which ranks 37th in the country, per Hoop-Math.
Really, the only positive for Clemson on the offensive side of the ball is that it doesn’t turn the ball over at a high rate. But the Tigers are scoring only 0.99 points per possession in conference play and are likely going to struggle against one of the best defensive teams in the country.
Virginia’s pack-line defense hasn’t been as good as previous seasons, but it’s still solid. The Cavaliers rank 13th in defensive efficiency and are the No. 1 defensive rebounding team in the conference, per KenPom. Therefore, Clemson is likely going to have all sorts of trouble developing a rhythm offensively.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This is going to be a knockdown, drag-out fight between two of the best defensive teams in the country.
Additionally, Virginia plays the slowest pace in the country, while Clemson plays the 295th fastest tempo. Therefore, this game is likely going to be played in the 50s and will be a joy to watch if you like defense.
I have only 111.27 points projected for this game, so I think there’s a little bit of value on under 116.5 points.
Pick: Under 116.5 or better.