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Letdown Looming? What to Expect from Syracuse and Clemson After Their Week 5 Slugfest

Oct 05, 2018 12:43 PM EDT

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Clemson Tigers running back Travis Etienne (9) scores a touchdown during the second half against the Syracuse Orange at Clemson Memorial Stadium. Tigers won 27-23

  • Syracuse gave Clemson a run for its money in Week 5, almost pulling off an upset as a 25.5-point underdog.
  • Both teams are seeing the majority of bets this weekend, but Bet Labs shows that bettors might not be making the right decision.

In one of the most exciting games from Week 5, No. 3 Clemson escaped with a win over unranked Syracuse as a 25.5-point favorite.

‘Cuse dominated most of the game and led by 10 points with less than a quarter to go, only to concede 14 unanswered points to close the game.

Despite Syracuse’s loss, the narrative coming off such a game is usually something like:

This team is for real.

And for the team that escaped by the skin of its teeth, it’s along the lines of:

That was a wake-up call. It will be extra motivated next week.

Either way, both teams coming out of near-upsets are generally expected to have good showings the following week. This weekend appears to be no different.

Eighty-five percent of bettors have taken the Orange on Saturday, making Syracuse the most popular team on the entire slate. Clemson hasn’t been quite as trendy, but it’s still accounting for two-thirds of the ticket count against Wake Forest

But are bettors making the right call?


Spread: -20 @ Wake Forest

3:30 p.m. ET

Let’s start with a simple description of last week’s game. Clemson won by less than a touchdown as a top-10 team against an unranked opponent.

According to Bet Labs, teams coming off a game fitting that description are 62-83-1 (42.8%) against the spread (ATS) the following week. Yikes.

It doesn’t get any better as we narrow this down to Clemson’s specific situation, either.

If the spread in that game was more than 10 points, that record becomes 41-60-1 (40.6%) ATS.

And if the following opponent is an unranked team — setting up for a supposed “bounce-back game” — that record becomes 17-42-0 (28.8%) ATS.

Yes, Wake Forest is unranked.


Spread: -3 @ Pittsburgh

12:20 p.m. ET

Looking at the trends on the other side of the game is like looking into a mirror.

Unranked teams coming off a loss by a touchdown or less against a top-10 team are 61-82-3 (42.7%) ATS in their next games — almost the exact same record as the winning team.

And again, if we make the previous game spread greater than 10 points, the record becomes 40-60-2 (40%) ATS.

I really wasn’t kidding about that mirror.

Unfortunately, Syracuse isn’t playing another ranked team this week, so we can’t fully recreate the same systems as above (if the Orange were facing a Top 25 squad, the record would fall to 5-13 ATS).

For ‘Cuse’s specific spot, let’s instead look at what happens when the public buys in after the impressive game.

As mentioned, the Orange have attracted more than 80% of bettors this weekend. So if we just narrow down the above system to include only teams that have at least 50% of bettors behind them, the record falls to 20-40-0 (33.3%) ATS.

Not great.

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