No. 6 Clemson Tigers (7-1 SU, 4-3-1 ATS) vs. No. 20 NC State Wolfpack (6-2 SU, 3-5 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Saturday November 4th, 2017. 3:30PM (ET)
Where: Carter-Finley Stadium Raleigh, N.C.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CLEM -7.5/NCSU +7.5
Over/Under Total: 51
The ACC Atlantic Division could be decided this weekend when the no. 6 Clemson Tigers travel into Raleigh for a showdown with the no. 20 North Carolina State Wolfpack. Currently, the Wolfpack sit atop the Atlantic Division standings at 4-0 in conference play due to their two losses coming outside the conference. Meanwhile, Clemsons upset loss to Syracuse has set the team back to 2nd place in the division but they could retake control of the ACC with a win on the road this weekend. For the Tigers, this game is a must-win to keep not only ACC Championship hopes alive but also a repeat trip to the College Football Playoffs to defend their National Championship.
Despite the fact that most people have already handed the ACC to Clemson out of mere speculation, the Wolfpack remain the only unbeaten team in the conference outside of Miami who is still undefeated for the season. Obviously, Clemson is the better team from a talent standpoint but the Wolfpack also has the talent to compete. Additionally, I like the situational factors here for North Carolina State. They are coming off a disappointing 35-14 loss to Notre Dame. Because of that, I believe less people will give them a chance at this upset but in reality this is a perfect bounce back situation at home.
Good teams bounce back and that is the only reason I am mentioning the bounce back scenario here for the Wolfpack. I am still not completely convinced in this Clemson offense despite a wealth of talent. Quarterback Kelly Bryant is an enormous threat running the football but he still lacks the down the field accuracy in the passing game. Bryant has cleared just 6 touchdown passes on the year with 4 picks. In the ground game, Bryant has been stellar racking up 460 yards with 7 touchdowns to match the production of running back Travis Etienne who has identical numbers despite half the carries. Additionally, Tavien Feaster has also been a solid rusher. Collectively, Clemson is averaging a solid mark of 219 yards per game on the ground (25th in the FBS) which has been the core of their succeses.
With that being said, Clemsons offense is still significantly less explosive than they have been in recent years. I mean this offense has not cleared 30 points in the past 3 games. Instead, the defense has been the backbone of their success this year. Defensively, Clemson has performed extremely well with one of the best defensive front lines in college football. The Tigers rank 7th in total defense giving up just 283 yards per game and have given up just 13.1 points per game which is the 6th best mark in the FBS. Both of those numbers are very strong considering the competition that Clemson has faced this year. If you need further proof, just look back to last weeks win over Georgia Tech when that Clemson defensive line dominated one of the best rushing offenses in football.
So what does that mean for the matchup against NC State this weekend? Well, I honestly think the matchup favors the Wolfpack. Clemsons defensive line is dominate and that is a nightmare for offenses that primarily run the football. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack are more balanced on the offensive side of the football and quarterback Ryan Finley is the potential difference maker. Finley is a veteran and has a season long stat line of 66% completion, 2,181 yards with 12 touchdowns and just 1 pick. If they can get Finley going, the Wolfpack receiving corps have the talent to contend with Kelvin Harmon and Jaylen Samuels. I feel like this team is designed to withstand Clemsons dominance upfront and throw down the field. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball NC State is very talented along the defensive front which should bode well for coming up with stops against the Tigers rushing attack. With the home crowd, I really like this matchup for the Wolfpack.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take NC State +7.5. - Where are you betting this game? Bet it for FREE by taking advantage of a 50% welcome bonus offered to new players at Bovada Sportsbook