College Football Picks: Series Trends Suggest That Clemson & South Carolina Will Go 'Under' 55.5

Willie Bee

Thursday, November 26, 2015 12:11 AM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 12:11 AM UTC

Top-ranked Clemson puts its perfect record on the line against rival South Carolina this week, and we're previewing the matchup with a winning college football pick.

They have been sitting in the Number 1 slot of the College Football Playoff Rankings for four consecutive weeks, a very good place to be. But the next two weeks still have their fair share of potential missteps for the top-ranked Clemson Tigers and their quest to win a National Championship.

Clemson closes out its regular season slate with a road trip to South Carolina to take on the rival Gamecocks. Saturday's kickoff is a few ticks past 12 PM (ET) with ESPN carrying the broadcast from Williams-Brice Stadium. The Tigers opened -15.5 on SBR's college football odds board, but we're now seeing spreads of -17 at most sportsbooks. The total went out at 55.5 and remains on that number at BetOnline.

Now in its third century, this rivalry is being renewed for the 113th time with Clemson holding a very comfortable 66-42-4 advantage in the series that has been contested each year since 1909 and began because of a political dispute that left Carolina farmers feeling left out. The Gamecocks had been cutting into Clemson's series lead recently, winning five straight from 2008-12, but the Tigers ended that skid last year with a 31-17 victory.

South Carolina covered all five of their victories during the recent stretch before the Tigers grabbed the cash as 4.5 point home favorites a year ago. That game just finished 'under' a 53 point total, the fifth consecutive low-side winner in the rivalry. Four of the last five played in Columbia also failed to reach the totals.


Tigers Expect Tailback Gallman To Play Saturday
Joining the Iowa Hawkeyes as the only unbeaten teams left at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, Clemson (11-0 straight up, 5-5-1 against the spread) tuned up for this contest with a 33-13 decision over Wake Forest last Saturday. The Tigers took a commanding 30-7 lead into halftime behind Deshaun Watson's three touchdown passes, then relied on a defense that limited the Demon Deacons to 152 yards of offense.

Dabo Swinney's offense has certainly been getting its fair share of credit for an outstanding season, Watson directing a unit that ranks 14th in total yards (501.4 ypg) and 17th in scoring (38.0 ppg). The stop unit, however, is just as good if not better. Tiger defenders are limiting opponents to 278 yards a game (5th) and hold into their foes to under 18 points (12th).

The offense should get a lift for this one with the return of tailback Wayne Gallman.  The sophomore, who leads the team with 1,043 yards rushing, missed the Wake Forest game with an ankle injury but is expected to play this Saturday against USC. There are some key personnel on defense who might not make it on the field, starting with linebacker Ben Boulware, the teams' 2nd-leading tackler, who is questionable with a stinger. Starting cornerback Mackensie Alexander (knee) is also questionable as are backup safety Jefferie Gibson (concussion) and backup LB Kendall Joseph (concussion).


'Cocks Coming Off Upset Loss To The Citadel
The only highlight for South Carolina (3-8 SU, 5-6 ATS) this season was beating North Carolina in the opening week. That remains the only loss the Tar Heels have suffered, but the Gamecocks' season pretty much went downhill after that, including the abrupt resignation of head coach Steve Spurrier.

The 'Cocks hit rock-bottom last week with a 23-22 loss to The Citadel, a team South Carolina was giving up 22 points to on the NCAA football odds. The Bulldogs rallied with a late TD and 2-point conversion to help the Bulldogs to their first win over USC since 1990.

It's awfully tough to imagine Perry Orth and a weak South Carolina offense -- 101st in total yards (358.5 ypg) & 110th in scoring (21.0 ppg) -- doing much against this Clemson defense Saturday in Columbia where it's going to be a muggy 70º at kickoff under partly cloudy skies. I'm tempted to lay the points on Clemson, but instead will follow the series trend with my free college football pick on the 'under.'

College Football Picks: Clemson-South Carolina Under 55.5 at BetOnline

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