ACC Picks: Clemson vs. NC State Analysis & Prediction
No. 4 Clemson Tigers (9-0 SU,6-3 ATS) vs. NC State Wolfpack (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday November 9th, 2019. 7:30PM (EST)
Where: Carter-Finley Stadium Raleigh, N.C.
Point Spread:CLEM -32/NCST +32 (Bovada)
Over/Under Total: 54
After a sluggish start to the 2019 campaign, the 4th ranked Clemson Tigers have finally picked up the pace. After nearly getting beat by North Carolina on a scary road trip in Durham several weeks ago, the Tigers have responded with four straight victories in dominating fashion. The Tigers’ have produced an incredible 40.75 point average margin of victory over the last four games, which includes three contests against ACC opponents. It appears the Tigers have finally turned into the National Championship caliber team that everyone expected in 2019 and they will get a chance to turn up the momentum once again this weekend as they go into Raleigh as 32 point road favorites against the NC State Wolfpack.
NC State hoping to rebound at home
The Wolfpack are licking their wounds following back-to-back blowout losses against Boston College and no. 23 Wake Forest. Last week, things hit rock bottom as NC State gave up 21 points in the 1st quarter against Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons never looked back as they strolled to a 44-10 victory. The problem with NC State revolves around the offense’s struggles. Quarterback Devin Leary became the 3rd Wolfpack starting quarterback in last week’s loss to Wake Forest, yet the results remained the same. Collectively, NC State quarterbacks have combined for 53% passing on the entire season with just ten passing touchdowns and six picks. Obviously, those numbers are troublesome in a conference that requires points to win football games.
The hope for the Wolfpack is that they can rebound at home this week. I don’t think we can expect NC State to overcome a 32 point deficit for an outright upset, especially if you consider the fact Clemson is starting to come alive. However, NC State has played its best football at home this season. All four losses have come on the road, and all four victories have come from the friendly confines of Carter-Finley Stadium. The hope is that the NC State defense, which is the strength of this football team, can stand tall against Clemson’s somewhat inconsistent offense. If the Wolfpack defense that currently ranks 48th in the FBS can have a strong bounce-back performance, the 32 point spread provides a lot of value.
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Clemson offense gaining momentum
The reason the idea of backing the Wolfpack remains risky is because Clemson’s offense is gaining momentum and has the capability of posting big numbers. Behind Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, I am convinced the Clemson’s Travis Etienne is the 2nd best running back in college football. Tigers’ fans could easily argue Etienne is the best back in the country because he currently leads Taylor and ranks 4th overall with 1,102 yards on the season. Etienne is a true homerun threat with every touch of the football and is the best player on the offensive side of the football.
Etienne’s biggest luxury is opening things up downfield in the passing attack. If you have watched Clemson’s games this year, then perhaps you are aware of the struggles from star quarterback Trevor Lawrence who has tossed 20 touchdowns and eight picks on the season. What you may not know is that the running game has initiated the majority of the passing success down the field. Once Etienne breaks open a big play, which happens often, the passing offense is instantly benefited, and holes become open down the field. The reason I believe that NC State has a chance to compete in this game is primarily because they are really solid against the run. The Wolfpack’s biggest strength surrounds their run defense where they have held enemy teams to just 119 yards per game. If NC State can maintain its ability to stop the run this week, it could cause some frustration throughout the Clemson offense.
Clemson vs. NC State betting trends
The Clemson Tigers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games and own a 19 game winning streak against ACC opponents. The Wolfpack are just 1-5 ATS in their previous 6 games but have had the advantage in head to head meetings against Clemson. Against Clemson, the Wolfpack has covered the mark in 6sixof the last nine meetings. NC State has also heavily favored the ‘under’ going below the total in six of the previous seven games against ACC opponents while also hitting the ‘under’ in seven of their last eight games in the month of November.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: NC State +32