Texas A&M vs. Clemson Pick 9/7/19
Texas A&M vs. Clemson Pick
No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. No. 1 Clemson Tigers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Date/Time: Saturday September 7th, 2019. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Memorial Stadium Clemson, S.C.
Point Spread:A&M +18.5/CLEM -18.5
Over/Under Total: 59.5
Last week, I was urging bettors to lay the points with the Clemson Tigers in their opener against Georgia Tech. I cited the match-up advantages that favored Clemson and the pitfalls that Georgia Tech would experience early in the Geoff Collins era. The no. 1 ranked team in the land delivered with a convincing 52-14 victory over the Yellow Jackets. This week the competition level picks up when Clemson hosts their 2nd straight home game against the no. 12 Texas A&M Aggies inside Memorial Stadium. Instead of continuing to ride the Clemson train, this could be the perfect week to switch sides as the Tigers will be faced with a problematic match-up leaving a lot of value in the 18.5 points spread with the visiting Aggies!
Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence struggled in week 1
When you look back at the 52-14 score the Clemson posted last week against Georgia Tech, the scoreboard does not tell the entire story. Clemson’s prolific offense struggled to move the football through the air. In fact, Heisman hopeful Trevor Lawrence, whom many consider the best quarterback in college football, completed just 13 of 23 passing for 168 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. It was easily an underwhelming performance with Lawrence missing throws down the field and forcing the ball into coverage when it should have been avoided. Admittedly, it was Week 1, and surely that is not the time when quarterbacks flourish. However, the passing game definitely needs improvement and Lawrence will have to be better moving forward.
Luckily for the Tigers, they did not need much from the passing offense last week against Georgia Tech. The Tigers running offense shredded a depleted Yellow Jackets defense. Lawrence scored the first touchdown of the game with a 6-yard run where he was untouched. Later when the struggles continued in the passing game, running back, Travis Etienne exploded for 205 yards with three touchdowns. Etienne proved that he is one of the biggest play tailbacks in the country by accomplishing his damage with just 12 carries and honestly made it look easy. For this week’s game against Texas A&M, it will be very interesting to see if this Clemson offense can move the ball easily again on the ground against a much more robust defense.
Match-up and situation favor the Aggies
Texas A&M handled business last week with a 41-7 victory over Texas State which also covered the 33.5 points spread by the narrowest of margins. However, the Aggies’ program continues to elevate at the helm of Head Coach Jimbo Fisher, who enters his 2nd season in College Station. Few people may remember, but Fisher nearly pulled off a program changing upset against Clemson last year. Instead, the Tigers pulled out a mere 28-26 victory despite the Aggies winning almost every statistical category.
I think it would be bold to expect an outright upset this week, but it is also not entirely out of the question. The Aggies have an experienced leader in quarterback Kellen Mond who is a dual-threat talent, capable receivers in the passing game, and some emerging big-play skills in the backfield between Jashaun Corbin and Isaiah Spiller who combined for more than 200 yards rushing last week against Texas State. Obviously, this offense will be challenged by an extremely elite Clemson defense, but stylistically the Aggies can give Clemson trouble.
The Aggies like to run the ball between the quarterback and their talented tailbacks. They run a similar option-read style offense that Gus Malzahn made famous at Auburn. Only Fisher’s version of the offense provides more traditional passing plays. Still, this style offense can frustrate Clemson and can also be used to control the football. In last year’s game, the Aggies control the football for nearly 35 minutes and I genuinely expect that will be the goal again this week. If the offense from Texas A&M can have mild success, this will be a tough game for Clemson, especially laying the 18.5 points. On the other side of the ball, I think it is also worth noting that the Aggies have one of the most underrated defenses in the SEC. If they can contain the significant play threat of Travis Etienne, this game becomes difficult all-around for Clemson.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take Texas A&M +18.5
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