If you are betting college football, no question that Clemson ended up on your short list of potential wagers for NCAAF futures bets. Yet there are those who are convinced Auburn will compete furiously.
Dabo Swinney's Tigers return the most dynamic offense in college football and while the defense has a great deal of ability, it is short on true game experience.
Auburn's Gus Malzahn's fanny is planted on the hot seat just three years ago playing for national champion. On the plains of Alabama, Auburn fans are thinking Malzahn won with many prior coach Gene Chizek's players and he's not doing enough in recruiting. This happened to be what they thought about Chizek when he won football title in the second season with Tommy Tuberville's upperclassmen. (Not a patient fan base, what else is new in SEC?)
The college football odds have Clemson at -7.5, with a total of 63. There is sharp action on Auburn, but at last look, only 15 percent of bets placed are on the home team. Does Auburn have any shot?
Sean White Has to Shine for UA
At best it was a mixed bag, for now, sophomore Sean White who won the quarterback battle. He is not typical Malzahn quarterback, not being a quick or skilled runner, but a better passer. You are not going to run all day on Clemson, thus deception is imperative to help the Auburn offense and with the inexperience of Swinney's defense, big plays are possible either by the run or pass if they can create defensive flow going the wrong direction.
White has to just get first downs with his legs and be on target to receivers like Marcus Davis, who has very good hands.
Malzahn can be expected to use secret weapon, JC signee Johnathan Franklin III, who is a dynamic runner, but lost the job because of ball security problems. Nonetheless, could be right change of pace addition.
Auburn's Defense Give Them a Shot
While questions remain about Malzahn's offense, nobody is questioning the defense, especially up front. New defensive coordinator Kevin Steele runs to run 4-2-5 look, to keep opposing quarterbacks guessing instead of making quick decisions. Steele has three tremendous studs up front in Montravius Adams, Dontavius Russell, and uber-talented Carl Lawson. The mission is to make Deshaun Watson a little indecisive on his reads and corral him in the pocket and not let him out the side door to scamper. If accomplished, the home-standing Tigers stay in the game.
What Clemson Can Do to Throw Auburn Off
Watson has shown he is an outstanding decision-maker and he has several big-play receivers to flip the field and turn slant routes into Quick 6. A 4-2-5 defense requires coordination and since this is Auburn's first game, not everything is going to be coordinated. With Watson's scrambling ability and eyes always looking down the field, he can find a blown coverage and turn it into a touchdown in an instant.
While Brent Venables defense lacks experience, many on the field on Saturday night played a good number of snaps last year and are hardly green. With Venables aggressive blitz package, he could make White or whoever is playing quarterback skittish for Auburn and turnovers or three and outs could regularly happen.
What To Expect
For college football picks, the 7.5 point spread is a big deal no matter what side you like. Grab it now if Auburn suits your fancy or be patient and see if Clemson goes back to -7 or less.
This is normally automatic play for sharper sports bettors, a home underdog with a solid defense getting the hook with heavy public backing on the favorite. Despite this, I am not convinced Auburn is that good this season. Would not be surprised if they hang around in first half, but Watson is a big playmaker and I fully expect 14 or more points to come from Clemson's offense against Auburn defensive miscues.
Good showing by home team but in the end its Clemson by 10 or more.
Free College Football Picks: Clemson -7.5 (-110)
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes