Wake Forest vs. Clemson NCAA Picks and College Football Odds
Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Clemson Tigers, Saturday November 16, 3:30 p.m. ET
There are a few sentences that you should not start a preview of a college football game with. One of those would be this - this game between Clemson and Wake Forest is likely not going to be particularly interesting. In fact, there is a chance that it will be really uninteresting. After all, just last year, Clemson beat the Deacons 63-3 while outgaining them by 449 yards. But with three games left, Wake Forest is at 7-2, and 3-2 in the conference, which matches last year's win totals in both categories with three games left. This isn't the greatest team in the ACC by any means, but it is a much improved one. And, while Clemson is again unbeaten and highly ranked, they don't feel nearly as dangerous as they did last year at this point, and opponents have to have a little more hope of success than they have had for a while now. Don't get me wrong - this is a serious mismatch. But not quite as much of one as it could be.
Wake Forest at Clemson Betting Storylines
A trivia question that most people would get wrong - which Power 5 school is the only one with a 1000-yard receiver through nine games? The answer is Wake Forest. Sage Surratt has passed that milestone with just a yard to burn. But, as impressive as he has been, he's also Wake's biggest problem here. Surratt has been responsible for 35.4 percent of the passing yards the team has had this year and 44 percent of the touchdowns. But a shoulder injury suffered in the loss to Virginia Tech last time out - after he had scored both of the team's touchdowns - has ended his season. He leaves behind a massive hole, and it changes the complexion of the nation's 11 th-ranked passing offense dramatically. They would have been in trouble anyway against Clemson and their second ranked passing defense. But now, with an offense that needs to reinvent themselves on the biggest stage they will face this year by a wide margin, they face a challenge that almost certainly is far too large. And even if it weren't for that loss, the Demon Deacons are coming off their worst offensive performance of the year, and it came against a Virginia Tech team that has not been particularly strong defensively this year. They aren't carrying a whole lot of momentum into this one. In any way at all.
It's not like the Tigers are new to the playoffs or new to winning them. But it feels like they are dealing with a serious playoff hangover here. They have been very good by a mortal standard, but not when compared to their own high level. Their mojo has taken a bit of a beating, Most notably, Trevor Lawrence came into this season being crowned the savior of all of football, but now he's struggling to find his identity. It is hardly a tragic story - he still leads an offense that is Top 5 nationally in several measures. But he has thrown twice as many picks as last year already, and his numbers haven't taken nearly the jump forward as a sophomore that many expected. Some of that is because of how good he was last year, but there was still room to grow. He's had his three best games of the year in his last three outings, so he could have turned a corner. But those games haven't exactly come against elite foes, so he still has plenty to prove. For him, it's about a step forward - preparing for a playoff berth that feels all but inevitable right now given how weak the ACC is and how chaotic the Top 4 has been around them the last couple of weeks.
Wake Forest at Clemson Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Clemson favored by 30.5 points, but even that wasn't enough for bettors - it has crept up to 34, with 34.5 now available in some spots . Two-thirds of bets have been on the Tigers, so the line movement has been predictable and well within expectations. The total opened as high as 62.5 and has been slowly falling. It sets at 60 widely, with 59.5 available.
The Demon Deacons are 4-0 ATS in their last four games following a straight up loss. The Tigers are 4-1 ATS in their last five both overall and against teams with winning records. They are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games.
Wake Forest at Clemson Predictions and Picks
There are few things I hate to do more than giving up a whole ton of points. But I see no other option here. Clemson is so much better, they should be playing angry, and they are at home. And Wake Forest is missing their best player and dealing with a slump. This is a whole lot of points, so you could take the Demon Deacons and hope they can keep it close enough. But cheering that you don't get beaten up too badly is a wimpy thing to do and an awful place to be. Clemson is the pick.
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