The Clemson Tigers seek to find a perfect regular season on Saturday. With a win over Duke as heavy favorites, Clemson will be perfect going into the ACC Championship. Duke who were in the ACC Championship in 2013, will be sitting out the championship game. They got blown out by Florida State in that one, but it was an accomplishment for the Blue Devils to reach that game.
Duke will be going bowling, though, with a record of 7-3 entering Saturday. There really isn’t much for the Blue Devils to play for. They can upset Clemson and ruin their chances, but personally, Duke might get a bit better bowl game with a victory. The Blue Devils are most likely going to a middle tier either way, though.
Clemson had some controversy earlier in the season when Kelly Bryant decided to pull out and transfer elsewhere. He wasn’t too happy with his playing time, as freshman Trevor Lawrence walked right in and took some of his snaps away. Lawrence and Bryant in large part were sharing snaps, but then Lawrence began to get the brunt. Bryant, not too pleased, just abruptly quit the team and transferred.
Lawrence was recruited as the best quarterback in the country in his class, and is likely to go high in a future NFL Draft, so giving Lawrence the ball as a freshman wasn’t farfetched. If he continues on a path that many are projecting, Lawrence might see his name called in the top 3 of a draft in the future. He’s still only a freshman at the end of the day, with only six career starts under his belt, so there is still a lot of time for him to accomplish plenty in college. He will look to direct Clemson to a perfect season and give the Tigers momentum going into the ACC Championship. Head below for our free Duke vs. Clemson pick.
Duke Blue Devils vs. Clemson Tigers NCAAF Betting Odds:
Duke +28 (-110)
vs. Clemson -28(-110)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Duke vs. Clemson Pick:
Clemson are coming off a 27-7 win over Boston College, which may not look like much, but BC are a pretty decent team and it was a night game on the road in poor conditions. The blasted Wake Forest, NC State, FSU, and Louisville the previous for weeks for a score differential of a whopping 44.8 points. Boston College gave Clemson their best challenge since September 29th against Syracuse.
Lawrence has thrown 19 touchdowns and 4 interceptions to provide Clemson with some reassurance that they made the right decision with him over Bryant. He will likely see a bump in production in a season as well. Travis Etienne has given Clemson lots of pop on the ground as well. He’s rushed for 1,077 yards and 16 touchdowns to give the Tigers a threat through the air and ground.
The Tigers have scored 45.7 points per game for 5th in the FBS. They have enough talent to pound other ACC teams, but is it going to be enough in the playoff with a potential meeting against Alabama? That’s what everyone is trying to answer in September every season and we’re still debating it now.
The Crimson Tide have appeared to be on another level with Tua this season, so it’s not going to be easy. Clemson will be up against the 71st best defense in the nation, with 406 yards allowed per game in 2018. Duke are banged up defensively going into this game, too. Along with several injuries, the Blue Devils just lost starting safety Deondre Singleton who is 2nd in the team in tackles.
Clemson do have an edge over Alabama defensively, or at least, on paper statistically they do. They are 2nd with just 254 yards allowed per game and 12.7 points. Michigan is the only team ahead of them. The Clemson defensive line is a force, allowing only 69 yards per game on the ground and 15 sacks in their previous three outings.
Duke will be under pressure to run the ball with Deon Jackson, but it’s unlikely to go anywhere. Daniel Jones, who has been adequate with 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, might be forced to move the ball. Maybe he can for a quarter, but one or two mistakes is going to snowball in South Carolina. When the game starts to get out of reach, there isn’t going to be much incentive for Duke to want to fight back. Clemson blowout another inferior opponent in the ACC, as they move closer to the College Football Playoff.