No. 8 Clemson Tigers (7-1 SU, 3-4-1 ATS) vs. Virginia Cavaliers (2-6 SU, 4-4 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date and Time: Saturday November 2nd, 2013. 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Scott Field Charlottesville, V.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Clem -18/UVA +18
Over/Under Total: 55
The no. 8 Clemson Tigers travel to Charlottesville this
Saturday to meet the 2-6 Virginia Cavaliers at Scott Field. The Tigers bounced
back from their devastating blowout loss to Florida State with a 40-27 win
on the road against Maryland last week. The win moved Clemson to 7-1 SU
on the season as the Tigers attempt to focus on earning an at large BCS
Bowl bid. This week the Tigers will enter Charlottesville as 16.5 point
favorites over the Cavaliers who are losers of their last 5 straight games.
Virginia captured a big win over BYU in their season opener earlier this but it has been all downhill since that point. The Cavaliers only win since their victory over BYU came in week 3 in a 49-0 blowout over VMI out of the FCS. In the last 4 games, Virginia’s defense has given up big numbers by relinquishing 36.25 points per game. The defense has struggled for the majority of the year but they have been especially awful in recent weeks giving up just less than 500 yards per game. Perhaps what makes those numbers even more alarming is the fact that Clemson possesses the best offense Virginia has faced all season.
The Tigers are averaging 494 total yards (17th in FBS) and 37.4 points (25th in FBS) per game this season. QB Tahj Boyd has played terrifically by completing 64% passing for 2,243 yards with 17 touchdowns and just 5 picks. Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris runs a fast paced spread offense and Boyd has managed that style of offense brilliantly. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been the big playmaker on offense. Watkins has caught 58 passes for 813 yards and 5 touchdowns already this season which leads the ACC. Obviously if Clemson is able to get their offense in rhythm early, they should be able to take advantage of a suspect defense. However the Tigers have not been overly impressive on the road this year and even last week they struggled with Maryland before putting away the Terps with 21 4th quarter points. The Tigers cannot afford another slow start this Saturday and allow Virginia’s defense to gain any type of confidence early on.
Offensively, Virginia has been fairly decent especially in the passing game by averaging 318 yards per game which is good enough for 18th best in the FBS. The problem has been the turnovers which has plagued the team all season. QB David Watford has thrown 9 interceptions with just 7 touchdown passes. Furthermore the Cavaliers offense has given up 7 fumbles which results in an average of two giveaways per game. Obviously turnovers do not help a team with defensive issues and it will be important that Virginia avoids turnovers if they wish to stay competitive this Saturday. Running back Kevin Parks is a guy that the offense can lean on to keep control of the ball and also keep the chains moving. Parks has averaged nearly 5 yards per carry and has 9 touchdowns to his stat sheet this season. If Virginia can get Parks and the run game going it will do two extremely important things by establishing ball control and keeping the Clemson offense off the field which will be critical in keeping this game close.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Clemson appeared sluggish last week on the road against Maryland before finding some momentum late in the game. Obviously the Tigers were in a letdown spot and I think they will have a tough time getting focused again this week against the 2-6 Cavaliers. Virginia on the other hand is a team capable of putting together a good challenge for Clemson and they are desperate for a win. I like of the situations leading up to this game and believe Virginia has the talent to contend. I’m betting Virginia +18.
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