Clemson Tigers at North Carolina State Wolfpack Expert Picks with Odds and Predictions
Clemson Tigers at North Carolina State Wolfpack, 3:30 p.m., Saturday Nov. 4
The ACC Championship Game will take in Charlotte on Dec. 2. But the ACC Atlantic Division championship - and thus the Atlantic representative in that Dec. title tilt - will likely be decided this Saturday in Raleigh.
No. 5 Clemson and No. 19 North Carolina State are the top two teams in the ACC Atlantic right now, with Clemson sitting at 5-1 in league play and N.C. State undefeated at 4-0. Clemson, which was announced at No. 4 in the first college football playoff rankings on Tuesday, will not only be putting their league title hopes on the line but their national title hopes as well.
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The visiting Tigers have been posted as seven-point favorites and the total is set at 51.0.
Clemson at North Carolina State Betting Storylines
N.C. State gave Clemson one of its best games of the season last year, losing 24-17 in overtime in a game in South Carolina. The Wolfpack generally outplayed Clemson in that game, forcing three red zone turnovers and slowing down the Tigers attack. N.C. State actually had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation but missed a 33-yard field goal to stunt their upset.
The Wolfpack were 20-point favorites in that game, and this year's contest marks the first time since 2011 in which N.C. State has been less than a 10-point underdog. Perhaps not coincidentally, that 2011 game was the last time that the Wolfpack beat Clemson, winning 37-13 at home as 7.5-point underdogs.
Clemson was able to rebound from its first loss of the season, a stunning 27-24 decision in Syracuse on Oct. 13, by taking down Georgia Tech last week. That Syracuse game is the only game this year in which the Tigers have won by less than eight points, and only two of Clemson's eight opponents have stayed within single digits.
N.C. State is coming off a disappointing effort at Notre Dame. The Wolfpack had two weeks to prepare for the Irish but were blown out 35-14 in South Bend. That marked N.C. State's second loss of the season as they also dropped another nonconference tilt to South Carolina in the opener.
This will be Clemson's fourth game against a ranked opponent this year. The Tigers have won each of the previous three by a combined score of 78-48. Over the last three years Clemson is 12-1 straight up against ranked opponents, with the one loss coming in the 2015 national title game.
Clemson at North Carolina State Odds and Betting Trends
The odds on this game have held rock-solid since their open, and I will be surprised to see the books move them at all. Clemson has been a seven-point favorite since the line opened, and the total is steady at 51.0.
Clemson has certainly lost quite a bit of value since going on their National Championship run. The Tigers are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine ACC games and just 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall. Clemson has raised its level of play against top competition, though, going 5-2 ATS in its last seven games against a team with a winning record.
N.C. State is just 1-5 ATS in its last six home games. But they are a solid 4-1 ATS in their last five ACC affairs.
In regards to the total, both teams have been obvious 'under' bets because of their top defenses. Both Clemson and N.C. State have gone 'under' in five straight games. The 'under' is also 5-0 in Clemson's last five ACC games and is 10-1 in N.C. State's last 11 league games.
As for series trends, the favorite has gone 13-4 ATS in the last 17 meetings between these two teams. Clemson is 6-2 ATS in its last eight trips to Raleigh, but the Tigers are just 2-5 ATS in the last seven meetings. Five of the last seven games between these teams have gone 'under' the total.
Clemson at North Carolina State Predictions and Picks
This is probably the biggest game the Wolfpack have played this decade. If the Wolfpack win this game then they can clinch the Atlantic Division title with just one more win in their final three ACC games. Not only that, but a win would close the door on any hope that Clemson has of repeating as National Champions.
However, I have to defer to Clemson's experience here. As I pointed out, this team has already played in and won a ton of these types of games over the last three seasons. Earlier this year they went on the road to Louisville and dominated the Cardinals 47-21. Two weeks later they went to Blacksburg and put the boot to Virginia Tech 31-17 (as a seven-point favorite).
I have not been high on this Clemson team all season long and have been routinely - and successfully - betting against them. I would absolutely love to call for the upset in this spot. But N.C. State hasn't proven that it can win these types of games and take its place as a top tier ACC team, even if only for a season. I've seen Clemson perform in this stage and I've seen them dominate opponents that weren't ready for prime time. I think Clemson is the way to go in this one.
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