Clemson Tigers at Florida State Seminoles Betting Preview

Before the start of the bizarre and unpredictable 2020 college football season, Clemson was the clear favorite to win the national championship. With a Heisman Trophy candidate and future top draft pick at quarterback, a great offensive line, and a potentially dominant defense in a league without a true contender, it made perfect sense.

Unfortunately, very little has made much sense in 2020, so after an overtime loss to Notre Dame, the Tigers find themselves on the outside of the College Football Playoff looking in. With Notre Dame now playing for an ACC title, it will take an interesting course of events to get Clemson back inside.

On Saturday, the recent kings of the ACC will take on the dethroned ruler. It doesn’t seem that long ago that Florida State captured a national championship behind Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston and head coach Jimbo Fisher. From 1992 to 2014, the Seminoles won 15 ACC titles, including their first nine seasons in the conference.

Florida State Rebuild

Florida State is on its third head coach in the last four seasons. New leader Mike Norvell is 2-6 during a very difficult time to take over a program. The Seminoles have struggled to be competitive, much less in contention for much of the season.

After upsetting North Carolina 31-28 for its lone ACC win, Florida State has lost its last three games by an average score of 42-18. The Seminoles are giving up an average of 36 points a game while managing to score only 22 per outing.

Last year, the Seminoles were beaten 45-10 by Clemson on their way to a 6-7 record during which head coach Willie Taggert was fired. His departure came after a loss to Miami dropped Florida State to 4-5 on the season.

Clemson Juggernaut … Not

What appeared to be an easy path to a berth in the College Football Playoff suddenly became more complicated after junior quarterback Trevor Lawrence was sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19. Although his replacement, true freshman D.J. Uiagalelei, has played extremely well, Clemson has struggled.

The problems are a bit unusual since they are on the defensive side of the ball, where Lawrence has never taken a snap. Boston College led Clemson 28-10 late in the first half before the Tigers stormed back for the win. Against Notre Dame, Clemson again fell behind in the first half, only to rally and take a late 33-26 lead, before ultimately losing 47-40 in two overtimes.

Clemson has had a week off to deal with the loss and get ready for a late push to finish the season. Lawrence is expected back to face Florida State to continue the Tigers’ dominance over the ACC. The Tigers are averaging 45 points a game and giving up just under 20.

Those numbers are a bit misleading, though, because they include a 49-0 drubbing of FCS Citadel and a 73-7 beatdown of conference foe Georgia Tech. In the other six games, while still impressive, Clemson only holds a 40-25 scoring margin.

3 Betting Lines

The great betting pph site a1pph shows Clemson is favored by 35.5 points, the 2019 victory margin, over the Seminoles with the over/under at 63 points. There is virtually no money being bet on the Seminoles, with the moneyline at a ridiculous -9500 for Clemson and +5500 for the Seminoles. Both teams are 2-6 against the spread.

Game Preview and Pick

With Lawrence back in the lineup and the Seminoles in a tailspin, the only real drama should be whether the Tigers can cover the spread. Based on their performance so far this season, Clemson has had a difficult time doing that. That over/under of 63 is also a very interesting number.

If Florida State can somehow make a few plays against the Clemson defense like Boston College and Notre Dame were able to do, it could find a way to cover the spread. With Lawrence back and a week to prepare, there is a big chance this one gets ugly.

In our eyes, Clemson finds it mojo, puts up a bunch of points, and Florida State cleans up in garbage time.

Free Pick: Clemson 51, Florida State 14