The ACC takes center stage this weekend with a huge showdown between two Top-10 teams when the Clemson Tigers invade Doak Campbell Stadium to face off against the Florida State Seminoles for early control of the Atlantic Division. The game is set to kick off at 8 p.m. (EST) on Saturday and will be broadcast nationally on ABC.
Clemson ran its record to 3-0 straight up with a 41-7 victory over Furman as a 39.5-point home favorite, but the Tigers are just 1-2 against the spread. The Tigers covered as two-point favorites at home against Auburn on opening weekend, but they could not cover as 27-point favorites at home in Week 2 against Ball State.
The highly-touted Seminoles have run roughshod over their first three opponents by a combined score of 176-3, including an impressive 52-0 romp over Wake Forest last Saturday as 28-point home favorites in their ACC opener.
Clemson brings a very balanced offensive attack into this matchup with an average of 298 yards passing to go along with 219.3 yards per game on the ground. Quarterback Tajh Boyd has already thrown for 747 yards and six touchdowns while completing a rock-solid 73.3 percent of his attempts. The running game has been anchored by Andre Ellington, who is averaging 6.2 yards a carry. He has rushed for 328 yards on 53 attempts and is tied for the team lead in touchdowns (four) with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.
The Tigers have enough firepower on offense to keep this game competitive, but their defense is going to have to elevate its play as well to get out of Tallahassee with a win. This defense gave up 380 yards of total offense and 27 points against Ball State in Week 2 but put the clamps on Furman this past Saturday.
Florida State could be the complete package this season with easily its most talented team on both sides of the ball in years. The main concern coming into this matchup is that the Seminoles have yet to be really tested, which will definitely be the case come Saturday night. This offense has been equally effective through the air as well as on the ground with an average of close to 550 total yards a game. EJ Manual has completed 71.2 percent of his passes for 525 yards and six touchdowns. The duo of Chris Thompson and James Wilder Jr. has been unstoppable on the ground with a combined 474 yards rushing and seven touchdown runs.
The simple fact that they have given up three points in three games, regardless of which teams they have played, clearly signals a defense that knows how to keep its opponents out of the end zone. The trick in this game will be stopping an offense that knows how to score.
Betting Odds and Trends
Pointspread: Florida State -14
Total Line: OFF
Clemson is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 conference games but 1-5 ATS against a team with a winning record and 0-5 ATS in its last five games following a SU win. The total has stayed “under” in 13 of its last 16 games against the ACC.
Florida State is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games overall and 5-2 ATS in its last seven conference games. The total has stayed under in six of its last seven games.
Head-to-head, the home team is 13-3 ATS in the last 16 meetings and the total has gone “over” in six of the last eight games between the two. The Tigers are 6-1 ATS in the last seven games overall.
Clemson vs. Florida State Free CFB Picks
Clemson may have the edge ATS over the last few seasons, but this year the Tigers will have to cover on the road against one of the top teams in the nation, not just the ACC. In the end, the Seminoles’ ground game will wear the Tigers down to create a comfortable margin of victory that covers the two-touchdown spread.
Take #312 Florida State (-4) over Clemson (Saturday, Sept.15, 8pm ET)
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