College Football Picks: Clemson vs. Syracuse

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, October 3, 2013 7:23 PM GMT

The #3 ranked Clemson Tigers make their first ever trip to the Carrier Dome to take on the Syracuse Orangemen with a Saturday kickoff scheduled for 3:30 PM ET.


CFB Preview

According to current college football betting odds Clemson is a 13.0-point road favorite and the total is 64.0. This will be just the 2nd ever meeting between these 2 schools on the gridiron. The first came in a bowl game on 1/1/1996 won by Syracuse 41-0.

National Title Aspirations

Make no mistake about it in regards to this Clemson football team, anything less than a trip to the BCS Title Game at this point will be a disappointment. With that in mind that have less room for error than say a 1-loss team out of the SEC. Running the table is really the only way they can assure themselves for a date with destiny. The Tigers come off a 56-7 rout of Wake Forest while easily covering as a 28.5-point favorite. This is a dynamic offensive team that’s amongst the top in all college football offensive statistical categories. The combination of quarterback Taj Boyd and wide receiver Sammy Watkins has proven to be lethal. One of the big question marks entering the season would be how the Tigers defense will hold up. Clemson has held opponents to 14-points or less in each of their last 3-games. Georgia was able to move the ball with relative ease in their season opening 38-35 win. However, the Bulldogs have moved the ball against everyone so far. The Tigers are a perfect 5-0 SU&ATS in their last 5-games as a conference road favorite of 8.0 or more following a conference game. 

Orange Debut in the ACC 

This will be the first ever ACC football game for the Syracuse program. I don’t think the athletic department envisioned having to face the #3 team in the land when their conference debut arrived. Despite it all Syracuse does come off a pair of convincing home favorite ATS wins, after opening the season with losses to Penn St. and Northwestern. Realistically their last 2 opponents were Wagner and Tulane which neither will ever be mistaken for the caliber of opponent they’re about to face on Saturday. History isn’t on the Syracuse side in this spot. Since the start of the 1980 season home underdog of 6.5 to 19.5 that comes off back-to-back home favorite ATS wins are 0-8 SU&ATS. The home team lost those 8-games by an average of 27.0 points per game.

[gameodds]6/246471/?r-1=19-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

Final Analysis

The Orange offense has received a much needed boost since quarterback Terrell Hunt has been inserted into the lineup. In my professional opinion Clemson is still vulnerable defensively despite their improved performance over the last 3-games. Syracuse will be able to score their fair share on Saturday. Conversely the Orange defense doesn’t possess the speed or athleticism to consistently slow down the dynamic Clemson offense. A high scoring game will be in order of the day.

Free Pick: Clemson/Syracuse over 64.