Texas A&M Aggies vs. Clemson Tigers Expert Predictions and Betting Odds
Texas A&M Aggies vs. Clemson Tigers, Saturday September 7, 3:30 p.m. ET
This is a rematch of what was one of the best games of the season last year. Clemson got off to a strong start, going up 21-6. But the Aggies didn't quit, and they found themselves down just 28-26 after scoring a late touchdown. They obviously went for a two-point conversion, but it didn't happen for them and they lost. It was the closest game Clemson played last year and a real sense of what Jimbo Fisher might be capable of in College Station.
But as exciting as the game was, it's hard to draw too much from it. It was the second game of last season, which means that Kelly Bryant - now the starter at Missouri - was still the starting quarterback at Clemson. The era of Trevor Lawrence hadn't begun yet - though he did appear in relief in this game. And while this loss showed what Texas A&M could do when they were on their game, they really struggled with consistency. Later on, they were humiliated by Alabama and lost a real head scratcher at Mississippi State by 15. In other words, we can have no real confidence that what we saw from both teams in Week 2 last year is at all related to what we will see in Week 2 this year.
Texas A&M at Clemson Betting Storylines
The stakes really couldn't be much higher here for Clemson. After this game, the only game against a decent team they have left is against Syracuse. The ACC beyond the Orange is just a mess right now. Clemson obviously wants to win another national title, and they are favored to do so, but a loss here would be a very significant blow to those ambitions. Perhaps a fatal blow. We shouldn't expect this team to get tight under that pressure, though. They certainly didn't looked bothered in the two playoff games last year. In fact, they couldn't have looked any looser in the title game if they tried. Unless Clemson has forgotten that they are Clemson, this shouldn't be too much of a concern.
Clemson is just so damned talented on offense, and they have so many ways to kill you, that the Aggies need to have a huge offensive day to give themselves a chance. The responsibility for that lies on the shoulders of QB Kellen Mond. And that scares me. At his best, he can be one of the better QBs out there. He showed that against Clemson last time out, passing for 430 yards in a career game. But just two games after dominating Clemson, he was truly lousy against Alabama. He doesn't always show up for games, and that makes this team tough to trust.
The Aggies can win this game. Or at least keep it interesting. Their issue, though, is that their margin for error is so small. Mond needs to be on his game, but that's far from the only key. The offensive line needs to be strong, and they need to really challenge a young but talented Clemson defensive front. They need to at least stay even in the turnover battle - which is something they couldn't do last year as Clemson had an edge of two. And they have to avoid being out-coached - which is a challenge given that Dabo Swinney is absolutely on top of his game these days, while Fisher still needs to prove that his best days aren't in the rear-view mirror. Clemson can come out on top of this game if they are mostly a version of what they are capable of. Texas A&M needs to be virtually flawless.
Texas A&M at Clemson Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with a wide range, with Clemson favored from 15 to 19 points. It has settled at this point at 16.5 points, with a strong majority of the bets on Texas A&M at this point. The total opened at 61 and has since climbed to 64.
The Aggies are a stellar 10-1 ATS in their last 11 nonconference games. They have gone 21-6-1 ATS in their last 28 games played in September and 9-3 ATS in their last 12 against teams with winning records. Clemson is 7-2 ATS in their last nine against teams with winning records but just 2-5 ATS in their last seven nonconference games. They are 1-4 ATS in their last five in September.
Texas A&M at Clemson Predictions and Picks
The Tigers are the better team here, and it's not that close. But this just feels like too many points. Texas A&M is talented and athletic, and they will be ready for this one. And they won't be afraid after making a game of things last year. I don't think they will win, but I'll take as many points as I can and count on them doing enough right to keep it close enough to cover. The Aggies are the play.
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