Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-2, 2-3 ATS) at Clemson Tigers (2-3, 3-2 ATS)
Death Valley Clemson, S.C. Saturday October 17th, 12:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Wake Forest +7/Clemson -7
Over/Under: TBA Thursday afternoon.
Bet this game at the oldest, safest and most credible sportsbook online: Intertops.
The race in the ACC Atlantic Division is still very much up for grabs through the midpoint of the season. Florida State and North Carolina State were the favorites to take down the Atlantic, but have a combined 0-5 conference record at the bottom of the division. Wake Forest took over the top spot due to Boston College suffering another setback last week at 2-1 in the ACC. The Demon Deacons travel to Death Valley this Saturday to battle with the Clemson Tigers who are also still in the picture for the ACC Atlantic race. The game will give a big reward to the winner as they will take sole control of the division and control their own destiny.
The Demon Deacons have played exceptionally well this season despite thought to be in a rebuilding year after losing a lot of talent at the end of 2008. However, Wake Forest is an overtime loss away from being undefeated in the ACC this season. Veteran QB Riley Skinner is having a big season as expected. Riley has been outstanding racking up 1,694 yards in the season ranking him 2nd in ACC standards and leads the conference with 15 passing touchdowns. Riley has already passed his touchdown totals from 2008 and is on track to have a career season.
The return of wide out Marshall Williams has played in favor of the offense in a big way. Williams has been a tremendous threat catching 32 catches and 5 touchdowns which both lead the ACC. Williams productivity has opened the door for young wide outs Chris Givens and Devon Brown. The two have combined for just less than 700 yards and have 6 touchdowns as well this season. Riley has plenty of talent to target, but will battle a very good secondary this Saturday. However, if the Demon Deacons can put some points on the board early it will put a lot of pressure on the Tigers, and Clemson has failed to produce a win in the last 7 games in circumstances where they have trailed their opponents including last year’s loss to Wake Forest 12-7.
The Tigers had high expectations once again this season, but like the last few years those goals have not been reached. Explosive players like RB C.J Spiller and WR Jacoby Ford had the offense destined for success. However, Spiller has not had the “Heisman” season the Tigers faithful were campaigning for earlier this season. Spiller is a big special team’s threat having run 2 kickoffs back this season, but has not had the success most would have expected in the backfield with just 360 yards through 5 games. Ford is perhaps the fastest player in college football and leads the team with 25 catches for 307 yards. However, Ford too has not reached the elite level many predicted for the Tigers.
Freshman QB Kyle Parker may be a bit of a reason why Ford has not posted huge numbers. Parker has struggled completing just 48% passing with 5 touchdowns and 5 scores. Parker has failed to hookup with Ford down the field where his speed is such a factor. Ford has just 2 plays over 30 yards this season and one was a 77 yard touchdown which accounts for a fourth of his total yards this season. The Tigers defense has played very well especially up front, but they just need more help on offense. If they can get the productivity back, guys like Ricky Sapp and Da’Quan Bowers make up one of the best defensive lines in the ACC. The secondary will face the big challenge on defense this week, but they have been strong this season ranking 8th nationally allowing just 158 yards per game. If the secondary can slow down the passing game, the Tigers playmakers will find some success somehow someway.
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The Tigers play well at home and their 4-1 ATS record in Death Valley proves the notion. Clemson is also 9-3 ATS in their last 9 games while reaching the under in 4 of the last 6 games. Wake Forest on the other hand is just 1-4 ATS on the road and 1-4 SU in their last 5 games on the road. The Demon Deacons have reached the under in 4 of the last 5 games as well.
Jay’s Pick - Clemson -7.