UConn vs. Clemson College Football Odds & Picks: Tigers Have Value, Even as Huge Home Favorites

UConn vs. Clemson College Football Odds & Picks: Tigers Have Value, Even as Huge Home Favorites article feature image

Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images. Pictured: Quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei #5 of the Clemson Tigers.

  • Clemson (-41) is a massive favorite over woeful UConn on Saturday.
  • The Tigers are in the midst of a down year under Dabo Swinney, but at least they aren't the Huskies.
  • Darin Gardner breaks down whether bettors should still back Clemson below.

UConn vs. Clemson Odds

Saturday, Nov. 13
12 p.m. ET
ACC Network
UConn Odds
-115o / -105u
Clemson Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

It would be an understatement to say that the 2021 season has been a disappointment for Clemson.

The Tigers had been used to steamrolling through the ACC on the road to the College Football Playoff in every season since 2015, but that hasn't been anywhere close to the case this year.

The offense has fallen off a cliff after pieces such as Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne went off to the NFL, and Clemson now sits at 6-3 with a 5-2 record in conference play.

Clemson could absolutely use a blowout win to build some more confidence, and Connecticut definitely provides an opportunity for that.

The Huskies have struggled to a 1-8 record, with the only win coming in a tight game against Yale. That actually brought UConn's record to 1-1 versus FCS opponents, after it lost 38-28 to Holy Cross earlier in the season.

Overall, this team is being outscored by more than 24 points per game on average against FBS opponents and ranks in the bottom ten in both points per game and points allowed per game.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney has always been known for pulling his starters early and taking it easy on overmatched opponents, but will he use this game as an opportunity to build morale for an offense that desperately needs it?

UConn Huskies

Nothing Going Right for UConn

On the season, this offense has posted two shutouts and zero games with 30 points or more, with a ranking of dead last in success rate.

There have been three quarterbacks to throw at least 50 passes for the Huskies this season, with two of the three averaging less than five yards per attempt.

Steven Krajewski is the starter and has been the most efficient of the three, but take that with a grain of salt, considering he ranks 138th in PFF passing grade and 132nd in yards per attempt among 148 qualifying quarterbacks.

The pass protection actually hasn't been terrible, but the receivers have done nothing to help whoever is under center, as the unit has graded at dead last in the nation according to PFF.

The ground game has been similarly terrible, ranking 118th in rushing success rate. The offensive line has been the main culprit for that, as it ranks 118th in PFF run blocking grade.

There have been seven players on the line with over 200 snaps played this season, and only one of them has a run blocking grade above 70.

Huskies Struggling on Defense

In my opponent-adjusted ratings, I have UConn's defense ranked second-to-last in the country.

The pass defense has been awful, ranking 128th in expected points added (EPA) per throw and 126th in sack rate. The team has totaled only 10 sacks on the year, with only two players generating two or more.

The schedule of opposing passing offenses has been very weak as well, which makes these numbers look even worse.

In terms of success rate, the run defense has also ranked outside the top 100. However, a big bright spot has been Travis Jones on the interior.

On the season, he's earned an 88.6 PFF run defense grade, which ranks third in the nation among defensive tackles. He's been one productive player on a team with very few of them this season.

Clemson Tigers

Clemson Looking for Consistency

I'm sure you already knew this, but this has not been a good offense for Clemson. Quarterback D.J Uiagalelei had high expectations entering 2021 after impressing in his two starts last season, but those have not come to fruition.

The offensive line has struggled, the receivers haven't been able to create separation and have battled injuries, the play-calling has been uninspired, and although some of the blame does fall on Uiagalelei's shoulders, he hasn't been put in the best position to succeed by any means.

On the season, Uiagalelei ranks 103rd in PFF passing grade and 116th in adjusted completion percentage among 148 qualifying quarterbacks.

At receiver, Justyn Ross leads the team with 484 yards and is the only one in that position group with a PFF grade above 70 on the year. Clemson has seen some key injuries at that spot this year, namely to EJ Williams and Frank Ladson, but there's really no excuse for the receiving corps' performance with how Clemson has recruited over recent years.

The ground game hasn't been great either, ranking 83rd in rushing success rate.

True freshman Will Shipley has taken the most carries for the Tigers despite an injury that kept him out for a while, with Kobe Pace taking 62 carries as well. Among ACC running backs with at least 50 carries, those two rank 12th and 13th, respectively, in PFF rushing grade among 28 qualifying players.

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Clemson's Defense Looking to Get Back to Old Ways

The defense has taken a step back by Clemson's standards, but keep in mind how ridiculously high those standards have been in this year-over-year run for the Tigers.

Despite a "down" year, the unit still ranks ninth in the nation in points allowed per drive and has excelled against the run, ranking eighth in rushing success rate allowed.

Clemson had two massive injuries at defensive tackle in Bryan Bresee and Tyler Davis, who each occupied the two defensive tackle spots in the preseason All-ACC first team.

The good news is that Davis is now back, which should provide a big boost to an already dominant run defense going forward.

On the edge, Myles Murphy was one of the best run defenders in the country last season as a true freshman, and that has continued in 2021, as he's leading the team in PFF run defense grade and tackles for loss.

Against the pass, Clemson ranks 14th in yards allowed per coverage snap, per PFF. Cornerback Mario Goodrich has locked down in coverage, where he ranks 11th among cornerbacks in coverage grade and has allowed just four yards per target into his coverage.

In the pass rush, the trio of Murphy, edge defender Xavier Thomas, and linebacker Trenton Simpson have combined for 14 sacks on the year.

UConn vs. Clemson Matchup Analysis

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

UConn Offense vs. Clemson Defense
Rush Success1188
Line Yards11814
Pass Success12627
Pass Blocking**7776
Big Play11820
Finishing Drives1033
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Clemson Offense vs. UConn Defense
Rush Success83118
Line Yards5178
Pass Success12552
Pass Blocking**50108
Big Play9032
Finishing Drives77116
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling4433
Middle 8106112
SP+ Special Teams10320
Plays per Minute1342
Rush Rate49.% (105)52.% (88)

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

UConn vs. Clemson Betting Pick

Unless Clemson goes deep into the depth chart while playing from a big lead, it's tough to see UConn getting any points on the board in this matchup without any flukes.

Additionally, the defense should be able to generate some very advantageous field position for the offense, and don't be surprised if the Tigers find a way to get a defensive touchdown here either.

Backing Clemson against the spread has been an awful investment in 2021, but I see this as a good spot in a game I project at 45.4 in favor of the Tigers.

Pick: Clemson -41

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