College Football Odds & Picks for Clemson vs. Florida State: How to Bet This ACC Over/Under
Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Dabo Swinney.
Editor’s Note: As of Saturday around 9 a.m. ET, Saturday’s game between Clemson and Florida State has been postponed, as both teams’ medical personnel were unable to mutually agree to move forward with the game.
Clemson vs. Florida State
There’s a new reality for Dabo Swinney as we pull closer to the first release of the College Football Playoff rankings. Clemson has ranked in the top four of every single rankings release since the 2014 season. The first set of rankings will be released next Tuesday, and if current numbers hold, Ohio State, Alabama and Notre Dame will comprise the top three.
Although Clemson ranks fourth in the AP Top 25, will the committee look to push other undefeated teams ahead of the Tigers? Will Oregon eventually overtake Clemson if the Ducks remain undefeated? This is the new reality for Swinney, and style points must be considered in the Clemson handicap from here on out.
Injuries on the defensive front were the primary reason for the team’s loss at Notre Dame. James Skalski and Mike Jones Jr. — two players who the highest-graded in the country in pass defense — were missing from the linebacker unit.
The results were clear for a Notre Dame team that was vanilla in the passing game leading up to Clemson. The Irish posted a 44% Success Rate in passing downs, 13% above the national average. Skalski and Jones are both out against Florida State, along with defensive tackle Tyler Davis and wide receiver Frank Ladson.
The biggest news is Trevor Lawrence returning under center for the Tigers. Most of the talk focuses on Lawrence losing his spot as the top player in Heisman betting, but the focus at practice has been timing with his wide receivers.
From a gambling standpoint, there’s no boost with Lawrence from DJ Uiagalelei, who threw for 439 yards and posted a 52% Success Rate with 11 passes exceeding 15-plus yards.
Florida State Seminoles
It was announced before last week’s game with NC State that Seminoles star wide receiver Tamorrion Terry was no longer with the team, and it had an impact on the passing game.
With Chubba Purdy under center, the Seminoles recorded a 14% Success Rate on passing downs, a cliff dive drop from the national average of 31%. Florida State posted an average third-down distance of 9.2 yards against the Wolfpack.
Purdy suffered a collarbone injury and will be out the rest of the season. Jordan Travis will return as quarterback, which should make Mike Norvell call an increase in the running game and design quarterback draw plays.
Travis graded lower than Purdy and James Blackman in passing attempts. In 63 pressured dropbacks, Travis posted just one touchdown, four interceptions and 16 scrambles.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The swap of Purdy back to Travis makes Florida State one-dimensional. The Seminoles will not be able to expose the biggest hole the same way the Irish did in passing over the middle against backup linebackers. Florida State ranks 94th in Offensive Passing Success Rate and 108th in Havoc allowed.
The Havoc allowed number is fueled by 62 tackles for loss and a rank of 116th in the nation. The Clemson defense ranks third in the country in tackles for loss, making it apparent that every single Florida State snap is going to have a Tigers defender in the backfield.
All that said, the market has Clemson at such a high number that investors are forced to look at the Florida State side. A number Action Network projects at Clemson -26 is floating two scores more on the betting board.
For Florida State to cover, Travis is going to have to turn pressure into busted plays that result in scramble first downs. Those explosive plays must turn into touchdowns, as the Clemson defense is 12th in Finishing Drives. There is a large gap in special teams and tackle grading.
Trevor Lawrence may have issues in timing with his wide receivers, but his highest-graded zone for throwing is between the hashes in 20-plus yard throws.
That will be trouble for the four safeties that have garnered the most playing time in Renardo Green, Raymond Woodie III, Jaiden Lars-Woodbey, and Sidney Williams. Those safeties have amassed six penalties and just three pass breakups.
As mentioned earlier, style points now matter to Clemson, which is vying for the fourth spot in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Tiger defense will attempt to limit Travis scrambles while Lawrence and Uiagalelei will do everything they can to get the committee’s attention.
Pick: Over 63.5 or better