ACC Championship Game Picks for Clemson vs. Virginia
Clemson Tigers vs. Virginia Cavaliers, Saturday December 7, 7:30 p.m. ET
Clemson vs. Virginia College Football Playoff Implications
The story here is pretty straightforward. If Clemson wins this game , which they absolutely should, they will make the playoff as an undefeated conference champion. If they find a way to lose this game, though, it is very unlikely that they will be a playoff team. Their schedule has been very soft - partly the result of their very weak conference and partly due to their weak nonconference schedule. They would be measured up against other potential one-loss teams, and it wouldn't likely be flattering.
College Football Predictions: Clemson vs. Virginia Odds and Picks
The ACC Coastal Division is a bizarre mess. There are seven teams in the division, and this is the seventh consecutive different winner of the division. That should be impossible. And none of them won his game. No Coastal team has since Virginia Tech did in 2010. Clemson, meanwhile, has won the last four titles, and five of the last eight. If you are a believer that experience leads to further success, then this one is at least as much of a mismatch as the price suggests. But there is more to it than just what has happened in the past, too. Clemson looked rusty early on, but they certainly found their game as the season went along. In fact, they have won their last six conference games by a combined 315-58. For those too lazy to do their own math, that's an average score of 52.5-9.7. That's dominant.
Clemson vs. Virginia Betting Storylines
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence was widely considered to be capable of walking on water after the national title game last year. But out of the gate this year, he looked very mortal. He wasn't the superhero he was expected to be. Really, he wasn't that good. But the bad news for Virginia is that he has figured things out - too late to get back on the Heisman radar , but not too late to be a total nightmare for the Cavaliers. Lawrence has thrown at least three touchdowns in each of his last seven games and hasn't thrown a pick in his last five. He's playing extremely well, and he has every weapon he could desire around him.
Lawrence's success is bad news for a Virginia team that has already lost three games this year. And it seems to be much more than a coincidence that those three losses came against probably the three best teams that Virginia played. And it's a problem that none of those teams are nearly as good as Clemson is.
There are so many ways we can look at this matchup, and none of them are favorable for the underdogs. The Cavs allowed 116 points in November. Clemson allowed 121 points all year and just one touchdown total in the last three games. Clemson has the third best scoring defense in the country, and it isn't going to take a rocket scientist to come up with a defensive gameplan in this one. The Virginia attack starts and mostly ends with QB Bryce Perkins. He has thrown for a hair under 3,000 yards, and he is the team's leading rusher as well. If he can't operate, then the Cavs can't score. And the Virginia defense is certainly not up to the task of containing the Tiger offense, so if they can't score, they are in trouble.
Clemson vs. Virginia Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Clemson favored by a massive four touchdowns, and that has jumped only slightly to 28.5 . Almost two-thirds of bets have been on the Tigers, so the line movement makes sense and might not be done yet. Given the size of the spread, though, we aren't likely to see massive movement without significant news. The total opened at 53 and has climbed to 55.5.
The Cavaliers are 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games against teams with winning records and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games as an underdog. The Tigers have covered their last four spreads in December and have covered the spread in 14 of their last 17 neutral-site games.
Clemson vs. Virginia Predictions and Picks
Clemson is going to win. Obviously. And there isn't likely to be a whole lot of drama here. There is no question that 28.5 points is a whole lot to give up. However, when one team is so clearly superior in pretty much every way, you really have no option but to bite the bullet and go with it. Clemson against the spread is playable. You can also look at the over, as given Virginia's defense and Clemson's recent form, the Tigers should do most of the heavy lifting of going over themselves. So, in other words, we are looking at the two most chalky plays possible in this game. And I'm okay with that.
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