Free NCAAF Pick: Louisville at Clemson

The Louisville Cardinals continue their initial run through the ACC with a huge matchup this Saturday afternoon against the Clemson Tigers at Memorial Stadium. The game is set to kickoff at 3:30 p.m. (ET), and it will be available nationally on ESPN3.

The Cardinals ran their current straight up winning streak to three games with this past Friday’s 28-6 romp over Syracuse as 1.5-point favorites on the road. They are now 5-1 SU on the year with a healthy 4-2 record against the spread. The total has stayed “under” in five of their first six games this year.

After Clemson lost that 23-17 heartbreaker to Florida State in overtime on Sept. 20 as a 9.5-point road underdog, it rolled over North Carolina and NC State by a combined score of 91-35 while covering as a 14-point home favorite in each contest. The total stayed under the closing 64-point line in last Saturday’s 41-0 shutout over the Wolfpack, and it has now stayed under in two of the Tigers last three games.

Louisville at Clemson Betting Storylines

Louisville came over from the AAC this season with high expectations in its new conference despite the loss of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. So far it has held its own in the ACC with the exception of a 23-21 loss to Virginia on Sept. 13 as four-point road favorites. Last Saturday’s win over the Orange left the Cardinals 3-1 SU in conference play. The offense has definitely lost some of its punch with a passing game that is averaging only 231.8 yards a game, but the ground game has helped to pick up the slack behind Brandon Radcliff and Dominique Brown, who have each rushed for over 300 yards so far.

The biggest strength of this team has been on the other side of the ball with a defense that is ranked sixth in the nation in points allowed. This unit is giving up an average of just 12.7 points a game, and the Cavaliers were the only team to score more than 21 points against it this year. It is ranked seventh in the country in total yards allowed and third against the run.

The Tigers also had a pretty big hole to fill at quarterback, but so far the duo of Deshaun Watson and Cole Stoudt has done a great job on an offense that is averaging 335.8 passing yards a game. Mike Williams has been the biggest targets on the team with 21 receptions for 520 yards and four touchdowns. Clemson’s run offense has been a whole other story with an average of just 155 yards a game, which is ranked 78th in Division IA.

The defense rose to the occasion last week by shutting out NC State, but this unit has been shaky at times this season. It gave up 45 points in an opening weekend loss to Georgia and even in a fairly one-sided affair against North Carolina it was tagged for 35 points. Overall, the defense is allowing an average of 22 points a game.

Louisville at Clemson Betting Odds and Trends
Pointspread: Clemson -13
Total Line: OFF

Betting trends have the Cardinals listed at 21-8 ATS in their last 29 road games, and they are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games overall. The total has stayed under in seven of their last eight road games.

The Tigers are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games and 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a SU win. The total has gone “over” in seven of their last 10 games played at home.

This will be the first meeting between these two teams in recent memory.

College Football Picks: Louisville at Clemson Betting Predictions

Louisville should be able to use the lack of familiarity between the two teams to its favor in this matchup. While the Cardinals offense will really need to step things up to have any chance of getting the SU win on the road, I am confident that their defense will be able to keep things close enough to cover with the 13 points.

Take: # 173 Louisville (+13) over Clemson- 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11

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