Clemson at Wake Forest
Time: 2:30 PM CT
Spread: CLE -20
Odds c/o 5dimes
The No. 4 ranked Clemson Tigers improved to 5-0 last week with its 27-23 win over the much-improved Syracuse Orange. It has yet to face an AP-Ranked opponent, and this week sees the Tigers as 20-point favorites over lowly Wake Forest.
The game will air at 2:30 PM (CT) on ESPN, and it has an over/under set at 61 points—a strong reflection mostly of how incapable Wake is of putting the clamps on Clemson’s offensive attack. The Tigers have a real chance to run the score up this week, making any over/under bets precarious at best.
Clemson’s attack is quite balanced, with its rushing doing just a bit more of the lifting. The Tigers average 242.8 yards per game on the ground (No. 20) while still possessing a top-50 pass offense that manages 254.8 per game. Its overall offense averages 38 points per contest, while its defense is stellar as usual—holding its opponents to just 16.8 points per game.
Trevor Lawrence has thrown for 693 yards at a 65.3 percent clip, averaging 9.24 yards per attempt, and he has thrown nine TD passes with just two picks on the season. His passer rating stands at an extra-worldly 177.2, though Lawrence is not much of a threat rushing the ball himself. The Tigers instead rely on Travis Etienne do to most of that damage, as he has rushed 73 times for 8.1 yards-per-attempt, and leads the team with eight of its 13 rushing TDs.
Lawrence also has some depth to air it out, too. Clemson has four receivers already topping 200 yards on the season (40 yards per game, five games), and that quartet has seven receiving TDs between them. Amari Rodgers leads the team in total receptions (21), while Tee Higgins leads the way in yardage (252) and Justyn Ross leads in TD-receptions (3).
Overall, Clemson just has a multitude of ways to punish a defense, while possessing one of the top defenses itself— it is the makings of another playoff team, another contender, and it is tough to imagine Wake can even muster much of a challenge this week.
Wake Forest is 3-2 but lost its only Conference matchup thus far to Boston College. The Demon Deacons defeated Rice 56-24 last week, but this matchup against a top AP opponent will prove to be quite different most likely. The Demon Deacons have a pitiful defense which surrenders 31.6 points per game (no. 95) while also having a strong offense that has done its job scoring 38.2 per contest. The rush attack has been Wake’s bread and butter, ranking No. 17 in the nation with 244.4 yards per game—but can it manage much success against a defense like Clemson’s?
Wake’s top rushers have been Cade Carney, Matt Colburn, quarterback Sam Hartman, and Christian Beal-Smith. Carney leads the team in yardage (428) and TD rushes (4), while Beal-Smith leads in yards per attempt (min. 10 carries ) with 6.5 yards-per-carry.
Hartman has been a great dual-threat in rushing for 208 yards himself, but he averages just 57.9 percent completions and he has thrown five interceptions. His 7.23 yards per pass attempt could also bear improvement, but Wake has been able to rely on its rush attack for an overall quite effective offense.
It just remains to be seen if it functions so well against a defensive unit like Clemson’s with its high pressure, blitzes, and defensive playmakers. Expect the Tigers to prevail, but betting this spread will be tricky as Wake Forest is a difficult team to gauge this early in the season.
Off-hand, the Demon Deacons could keep this closer than 20, but do not expect it to be a single-digit margin, either.