Early Bird: 'Cuse to Cover in ACC Showdown at No. 3 Clemson

Wednesday, September 26, 2018 8:38 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 26, 2018 8:38 PM UTC

A quarterback change for third-ranked Clemson sent the NCAAF odds on the rise and could be a boon to Syracuse bettors Saturday when a pair of 4-0 squads collide.

Willie's 2018 NCAAF Record: 2-1-1 (+0.90 units)

Syracuse (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) at No. 3 Clemson (4-0, SU, 1-3 ATS)Saturday, noon ET (ABC)Free NCAAF Pick: Syracuse +25½Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Take my advice when it comes to this week’s early bird special down in the ACC between Syracuse and Clemson, and have your mute button already activated when you sit down with your Bloody Mary. That’s because the ABC broadcast team is bound to spend most of the time talking about one player who isn’t on the field than all of those who are.

Dabo Swinney’s decision to promote freshman Trevor Lawrence to 1st-team quarterback prompted senior Kelly Bryant to leave the Tigers and transfer elsewhere. Bettors obviously approve of the switch; after BetOnline sent Clemson out at -18½, the line jumped up a full touchdown by Wednesday afternoon following Swinney’s announcement on Monday. Scoreboard players can find the total anywhere from 65 to 67.

Will Orange Be Able To Run On Clemson’s Front 7?

Projected with 6 wins on the college football futures, the Orange have stormed out of the gate with four victories. Coming off a nice upset of Florida State in Week 3, Syracuse just missed its 4th-straight cover last week when the Orange ran roughshod over UConn in a 51-21 decision as 31-point chalk. They’ve been getting it done on the ground, ranking ninth in the country rushing for nearly 280 yards per game. That will be tested against a Clemson defense that is 18th, allowing just more than 100 yards rushing per game.

Lawrence all but cemented his No. 1 status at Clemson with a 4-TD effort in last week’s 49-21 win over Georgia Tech, the first time the Tigers covered the NCAAF odds this campaign. The scoring strikes left the highly recruited frosh with 9 TD in his first 39 college completions, his 191+ QB rating ranking eighth nationally. With Lawrence in the game the past two weeks, it has also opened up the running lanes for Travis Etienne, who has run for more than 280 yards on just 27 carries in the last two triumphs.

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Don't let him get space 😤😤 pic.twitter.com/eWhrZhzvpk

— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) September 25, 2018

Tigers Looking To Avenge Last Year’s Upset Loss

Eric Dungey threw three touchdown passes in one of last year’s biggest upsets as Syracuse beat Clemson 27-24 at the Carrier Dome. It’s the only win for the Orange over the Tigers in five meetings as ACC foes, but their third cover in the last four meetings. Four of the five conference clashes fell short of the totals, including both matchups at Clemson.

After a soggy week in the area, Saturday is expected to be cloudy with muggy temps in the low 80s for this game. The posturing coming out of Clemson this week suggests the Tigers might want to really pour it on the Orange to send a message to Bryant. But with a short week coming up with a roadie at Wake Forest next Friday, I believe the right play is on 'Cuse for my free college football pick.

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