Virginia Cavaliers (3-7, 4-5-1 ATS) at No. 18 Clemson Tigers (7-3, 8-2 ATS)
Death Valley Clemson, S.C. Saturday November 21st, 3:30PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Virginia +19.5/Clemson -19.5
Despite the Clemson Tigers starting the season at just 2-3, they can finally get over that hump that they have not been able to do this Saturday. If the Tigers can manage to pull out a victory on the struggling Virginia Cavaliers at home this weekend, the Tigers will be on their way to Tampa to have their shot at the ACC Championship. If that happens it would be Clemson’s first chance to win an ACC Championship in almost 20 years dating back to 1991.
However, the Tigers must not look ahead and take care of business this week against Virginia. The Cavaliers have been anything but impressive this year losing to the likes of William and Mary to start the season and they have lost their last 4 games straight. However, the Cavaliers did play well last week in a close 14-10 loss from Boston College and they will attempt to ruin the Tigers dreams of the ACC Title this Saturday.
The Tigers have really exploded over the last month of football hanging at least 40 points or more in each of their last 4 contests. Clemson will enter Saturday’s meeting with Virginia as a healthy 19.5 points favorite and the Tigers hold an impressive 5-1 mark ATS in games they are favored by more than one touchdown. The recent success on offense can be contributed to the playmaking ability of C.J. Spiller who is gaining more and more Heisman Trophy consideration.
In last week’s 43-23 victory over North Carolina State, Spiller caught 3 passes for 48 yards with a touchdown, ran for 97 yards and a touchdown, and even threw a 17 yard pass for a touchdown. Freshman QB Kyle Parker is also playing well hooking up with Spiller and speedster WR Jacoby Ford. Parker is completing just 55% with 16 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. However, the big plays have come in abundances. Clemson has had at least one pass of 50 plus yards in 5 different games this season not including the big plays that have occurred on the ground. If Clemson can jump on Virginia early, they can turn things over the Tigers defense that is really playing well.
The Cavaliers problems have been all over the field both on offense and defense. The Cavaliers defense has allowed 24 points per game which is not terribly bad, but the offense ranks dead last in the ACC averaging just 19.8 points per game. In fact the defense is actually a lot better than they appear on paper, but due to the offenses lack of production they have stayed on the field too often. Virginia held both Boston College and North Carolina to their lowest point totals of the year and they will need a big defensive effort this Saturday.
On offense the Cavaliers have had very little success in the passing game. QB Jameel Sewell has thrown for just over 1,500 yards this season and thrown 7 interceptions to only 6 touchdowns. However, the blame can not be put on Sewell. The offensive line has not been able to provide any protection giving up a lucrative 32 sacks on the season. There is not a quarterback in the nation that is going to put up stellar numbers with that many sacks. Things are likely not to get any better when they face possibly the best defensive line in the league this weekend in Clemson. If the Tigers continue to get that constant pressure in the backfield, they could keep the Cavaliers to 10 points or less.
Betting Trends – Clemson has put together a solid 5-0 mark ATS over the last 5 games while reaching the over in 4 of those 5 contests. Virginia has dropped 4 of the last 5 games ATS, but are 2-1 ATS in games as double digit underdogs. Clemson won the last meeting in 2008 13-3 and that was their first meeting since the 2004 season when Virginia got the victory 30-10.
Jay’s Pick – Clemson -19.5.