ACC Title: Virginia vs. Clemson Pick 12/7/19
Virginia Cavaliers (9-3 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) vs. No. 3 Clemson Tigers (12-0 SU, 9-3 ATS)
2019 ACC Championship Game Prediction
Date/Time: Saturday December 7th, 2019. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Bank of America Stadium Charlotte, N.C.
Point Spread: UVA +28.5/CLEM -28.5 (SportBet)
Over/Under Total: 54
The Clemson Tigers’ cover over the South Carolina Gamecocks last weekend proved to be one of the easiest predictions of the season. Despite being listed as more than three-touchdown favorites, I advised bettors to lay the points with Clemson in what promised to be a dominating match-up against South Carolina’s crumbling offense. The Tigers made it look effortless in a 38-3 route over the Gamecocks in the Palmetto Bowl. With the victory and the cover, the Tigers remained unbeaten and moved to 9-3 ATS as one of the most profitable betting teams in college football through 2019. The defending champions appear poised for another title run, but they must first take care of business this weekend against the Virginia Cavaliers in the ACC Championship Game at Bank of America Stadium.
The Cavaliers earned their ACC Championship appearance in a surprising way last weekend. Virginia squared off with no. 24 Virginia Tech in an in-state rivalry showdown to determine the ACC Coastal Division. Despite being considered underdogs by the betting public, the Cavaliers delivered a decisive 39-30 victory to earn their first ACC Championship Game appearance. Now the Cavaliers have a chance to reach ten wins, which would tie their school record. However, the Cavaliers chance at a 10th victory may have to wait until their bowl appearance because they will be enormous 28.5 point underdogs in this Saturday’s ACC Championship Game which is a half-point shy of the largest spread in ACC Championship history.
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Virginia vs. Clemson match-up breakdown
The reason the Cavaliers will have their hands full this Saturday is that they will have an uphill challenge on both sides of the ball. Before last week’s 38-3 win against South Carolina, Clemson had scored 45 points or more in 6 straight games. Honestly, the Tigers could have scored more points against South Carolina, but they called off the dogs in the 2nd half likely to minimize the risk of injury prior to this week’s conference championship. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence is playing well, and running back Travis Etienne is among the best players in the country. This Clemson offense does a great job of spreading defenses and then utilizing their speed/talent to exploit match-ups in the open field. The Cavaliers defense has struggled throughout the season against this stylistic scheme and Clemson presents the most talented offense they will face to date.
On the other side of the ball, Virginia finds another imposing match-up against Clemson’s 5-star defense. I believe the Tigers defense provides their most significant advantage towards making another championship run in the playoffs. Clemson owns the top-ranked scoring defense in the country, yielding just 10.1 points per game on the season, and they are just as dominant as the numbers indicate. The Tigers are solid upfront where they create a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and their secondary is the no. 1 ranked pass defense in college football by a wide margin. For Virginia, this presents challenges because the Cavaliers offense is not designed to beat this type of defense.
Quarterback Bryce Perkins is a dual-threat quarterback that tends to find plays down the field by escaping the pocket and threatening with his running capability. Perkins leads the Cavaliers offense in rushing with just 687 yards on the ground and has tossed 16 touchdowns with nine picks through the air. The Virginia offense houses some talented targets in the receiving corps with the likes of Hasise Dubois, Terrell Jana, and Joe Reed. However, I just don’t think this game provides this offense with the most excellent match-ups against this Clemson secondary. I expect Clemson’s defensive front to take away the running lanes for Perkins and force many 3rd and long situations. In more desperate passing situations, Virginia’s offense will struggle allowing Clemson to cruise to another easy win.
Virginia vs. Clemson betting trends
As stated earlier, Clemson owns an impressive 9-3 record ATS on the season, including 6-1 ATS in their last seven games. The Tigers have covered five straight against ACC opponents and have hit the “under” in five of their last six games in December. Virginia is 4-2 ATS in their previous six games and is also 4-2 ATS against Clemson outside of Charlottesville. In terms of the total, Virginia has hit the “over” in 4 of their last five games against ACC opponents.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Clemson -28.5