Syracuse vs. Clemson Odds, Predictions, Picks: Fade the Tigers in Friday’s College Football Showdown (Oct. 15)

Syracuse vs. Clemson Odds, Predictions, Picks: Fade the Tigers in Friday’s College Football Showdown (Oct. 15) article feature image
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Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Tucker.

Syracuse vs. Clemson Odds

Syracuse Odds +13.5
Clemson Odds -13.5
Moneyline +410 / -575
Over/Under 44.5
Time 7 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Has any team in college football been a bigger disappointment this season than Clemson? I should know. My parents constantly remind me how much of a disappointment I am to them, and I still think they top me.

The Tigers came into this season at -1000 or more at most books to win the ACC and with a win total of 11.5. It’s safe to say after two losses in five games — and barely escaping in other matchups — that this is not the Clemson of the past.

Syracuse, on the other hand, has been exceeding most expectations. It hasn’t succeeded so much in the record book — sitting at 3-3 — but instead, with its level of play.

An afterthought as a football school, Syracuse has been competitive all season. The Orange could easily be 5-1 if the coin flipped their way, as they dropped two tight ones by three points apiece,

In a battle of enough orange on the field to cure a pirate of scurvy, this matchup may be closer than the spread implies.


Syracuse vs. Clemson Betting Preview

Friday, Oct. 15
7 p.m. ET
ESPN

Syracuse Orange

Syracuse Offense

If you would have told me at the start of the season that the Syracuse offense would have better advanced metrics in most categories than the Clemson offense six weeks in, I would have laughed uncontrollably hard in your face.

Well, I would have been wrong.

While not special in really any metric — other than a great Big Play number — the Orange offense is average-to-above-average in all metrics.

They heavily lean toward the run, as running back Sean Tucker leads the nation in rushing attempts. His 133 attempts have accounted for 791 yards and nine touchdowns.

Quarterback Garrett Shrader joins the ground game as a dual-threat quarterback. So far, he has thrown for 627 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. He has also added 412 yards and eight touchdowns with his feet.

Syracuse may want to lean more toward the passing game if it wants to secure the upset, as Clemson ranks 16th in Def. Rush Success.

If Cuse does decide to run, it will need to push back the opposing line to open some holes. This may be tougher than expected as Clemson ranks 12th in Def Line Yards.


Syracuse Defense

Luckily for Syracuse’s pedestrian defense, Clemson’s offense is awful.

The defense has found themselves in shootouts the past two weeks, a trend they look to break this week. The opportunity is there as the Clemson offense ranks 79th in Finishing Drives.

An interesting matchup will be the battle on the ground. With Clemson posing no threat via the air, it will pound the football.

The front line will need to anchor down and generate some pushback. If it can make Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei scramble, the defense will be in prime position for success all game.


Clemson Tigers

Clemson Offense

Clemson looks lost — like a shell of its former self. So, what gives?

For starters, the offense has been horrendous so far. It’s crazy to think a year ago Uiagalelei instilled hope into all Clemson fans that he would be able to carry the mantle when Lawrence left.

Boy, were they wrong.

In five games, Uiagalelei has thrown for 793 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions at a completion rate of 54.3%. Not good.

He has happy feet, constantly leaves the pocket at the first sign of pressure and puts himself in poor positions.

With a Pass Success rank of 128th, Clemson would almost be better off just abandoning the passing game.

The lack of passing attack has made the offense near one-dimensional and easy to plan for.

Clemson will look to bounce back against a Syracuse defense that is in the middle of the league in most defensive metrics.


Clemson Defense

While the Clemson offense has been horrendous, the defense has been respectable.

Brent Venables is one of the best defensive coordinators and it shows. While the defense is still not to the usual level we’ve seen in past seasons, the unit is still capable of stalling out opposing offenses.

Their biggest strengths involve shutting down the Big Play and limiting scoring past the 40. Nearly every game they have been in has been a low-scoring affair.

One glaring weakness the Tigers’ defense does have is that they struggle against the pass.

While they are top-five in Def. Rush Success, they shockingly rank 85th in Def. Pass Rush, showing an inability to get to the quarterback.

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Syracuse vs. Clemson Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Clemson and Syracuse match up statistically:

Clemson Offense vs. Syracuse Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 66 49
Line Yards 45 50
Pass Success 128 51
Pass Blocking** 54 34
Big Play 101 38
Havoc 45 30
Finishing Drives 79 105
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Syracuse Offense vs. Clemson Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 30 16
Line Yards 62 12
Pass Success 83 16
Pass Blocking** 87 85
Big Play 25 2
Havoc 38 56
Finishing Drives 37 3
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 27 20
Coverage 14 25
Middle 8 118 88
SP+ Special Teams 26 100
Plays per Minute 41 64
Rush Rate 51.3% (84) 65.8% (11)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.


What sticks out to me right away is the ground game when Syracuse is on offense.

Syracuse is a very rush-heavy team, ranking 11th in Rush Rate. Meanwhile, Clemson’s Def Rush Success is 16th.

We may finally get the answer to the age-old question, “What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?”

On the other end, Clemson’s pass attack is so poor that the Tigers may lean on their rushing attack all game. If Syracuse wants to stay within the number, the rush defense will need to anchor down and limit big chunks on the ground.


Syracuse vs. Clemson Betting Pick

A few weeks in, and it’s still hard to believe how awful Clemson is. We have been so used to comparing it to Alabama over the past few years, it still seems unreal.

The Tigers have been so bad that they are the first matchup I look for when the lines drop on Sunday — a good Sunday distraction from watching the Lions break my heart.

I was in shock when this number opened at Syracuse +14.

With Collin Wilson projecting this at +9, there is immediate value to taking Syracuse at +14, which is exactly what I did.

Even though Syracuse is pedestrian on defense, the Clemson offense does not scare me at all. The Cuse should do enough to stall them out and force punts, which will do wonders for staying within the number.

If they can get Uiagalelei to scramble, they will look to capitalize on any mistakes the Tigers make on offense while under pressure.

With Clemson still having a respectable defense, I will also look at the under as a live add. I believe both ends will find it tough to move the ball down the field.

I grabbed the opener at +14 and it is still widely available. I would play this at no less than +13.

Pick: Syracuse +14

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