It’s a big ACC Atlantic Division matchup down in Death Valley. The surprising Syracuse Orange is on the road as they make the trip to take on the #3 Clemson Tigers Saturday afternoon. Syracuse remained unbeaten as they rolled to a 51-21 win at home over Connecticut last Saturday. Clemson picked up a 49-21 win on the road over Georgia Tech last Saturday to open their conference slate. The Tigers lead the all-time series by a 4-2 margin but it was the Orange taking an upset 27-24 win at home in the last matchup on October 13, 2017.
Syracuse Orange Looks to Upset Clemson for Second Straight Year
Syracuse rolled to a fourth straight win to open the season as they knocked off Connecticut last week as Dino Babers’ offensive system continues to flourish. The Orange bolted to a 24-7 lead after the opening quarter and kept the Huskies in check the rest of the way. Syracuse rolled up a 636-395 advantage in total offense and racked up 26 first downs while allowing 16 in the game. The Orange lost the time of possession battle 32:29 to 27:31 but forced three turnovers while committing only one. In addition, Syracuse added a score on a punt return.
The Orange are 55th in the FBS in passing offense as they average 245.2 yards per game through the air while they stand 9th in rushing offense by putting up 278 yards per game on the ground. Syracuse is tied for 10th in scoring offense by putting up 49.5 points per contest while they are tied for 36th by allowing 20 points a game. Eric Dungey is 58 of 93 passing for 763 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception. He leads the team with 354 yards and four scores on the ground as well. Tommy DeVito is 17 of 34 for 218 yards plus a score while adding 21 rushing yards and a score. Moe Neal contributes 69 carries for 344 yards plus two scores. Jarveon Howard (23 carries, 184 yards) and Dontae Strickland (38 carries, 170 yards, five TD) are solid backs. Jamal Custis leads the Orange with 17 catches for 287 yards plus three touchdowns. Sean Riley (16 grabs, 201 yards, two TD) and Nykeim Johnson (13 grabs, 175 yards, TD) are very good secondary options in the passing attack. Andre Szymt has hit all 24 extra points and 10 of 11 field goal attempts with a long of 50 this season.
Clemson Tigers Seek to Remain Unbeaten
Clemson shook off a sluggish start to dispatch Georgia Tech in their conference opener. The Tigers look to remain unbeaten and hand one of their division rivals a conference defeat. Clemson led just 7-0 after the opening quarter before outscoring Georgia Tech 21-7 in the second quarter to take control of the contest. The Tigers racked up a 480-203 advantage in total offense, racked up 25 first downs while allowing 15 and overcame a 36:05 to 23:55 disadvantage in time of possession. Clemson also turned the ball over twice while forcing just one turnover, though they did cash that in for a scoop six to open the scoring. This was a good but not great performance for Dabo Swinney and his squad.
Dabo Swinney on being “critical” as a coach
“You have to be critical – you have to rank people – it’s hard.”
“When you have adversity in your life & it doesn’t go your way – it can destroy you, it can define you, or it can develop you.” pic.twitter.com/q8pa4LPHNd
— CoachTube.com (@thecoachtube) September 26, 2018
The Tigers are 37th in the FBS in passing offense with 273.3 yards per game through the air and 28th in rushing with 234.5 yards per contest on the ground. Clemson is tied for 27th in the FBS this season in scoring offense with an average of 40.8 points per game while they stand tied for 16th in scoring defense by allowing 15.2 points per game. Kelly Bryant has completed 35 of 53 passes for 456 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while adding 144 yards and two scores on the ground. He has split time with Trevor Lawrence, who is 39 of 61 for 600 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions (Bryant recently announced he’s transferring). Chase Bryce is five of eight for 37 yards and an interception. Travis Etienne has 46 carries for a team-high 392 yards plus five scores while Tavien Feaster (23 carries, 130 yards, two TD), Lyn-J Dixon (17 carries, 135 yards) and Adam Choice (17 carries, 97 yards, TD) can do damage on the ground as well. Hunter Renfrow is second on the team with 12 catches for 155 yards plus a score while Amari Rodgers has a team-high 16 grabs for 186 yards plus a score. Greg Huegel is 21 of 21 on extra points and hit three of five on field goals with a long of 49 so far this year. Alex Spence hit his lone extra point attempt so far this season without attempting a field goal.
- Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- Orange are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up win
- Orange are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
- Orange are 5-0-1 ATS in their last 6 games in September
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Syracuse’s explosive offense keeps them in games regardless of the situation as we’ve seen them pile up points. The ability for the Orange to move the ball both on the ground and through the air makes them a dangerous unit. This will be a challenge for Syracuse though as Clemson allows only 272.8 yards per game, including 124.5 yards per game on the ground and a 2.7 yard per carry average. Still, the Tigers have been up and down offensively and Syracuse should be able to stay within striking distance to cover the line.
Prediction: Syracuse Orange +25
Full-Game Total Pick
There could be the potential for a lot of offense in this one as both teams have piled up impressive point totals so far this season. Clemson saw Lawrence run the offense from start to finish against the Yellow Jackets as the team kept Bryant out of the mix with a chest bruise he suffered against Georgia Southern. When Bryant played while less than 100 percent against Syracuse last year, it led to a loss for the Tigers. Will Swinney pull the trigger and stick with the freshman Lawrence in this one given how well Syracuse has looked to start the year?
The under is 13-2-1 in the Orange’s last 16 conference games, 13-3 in their last 16 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game, 4-1 in their last five on the road and 4-1 in their last five after a straight up win. Clemson has seen the under go 4-0 in their last four at home and 5-1-1 in their last seven at home against teams with a winning road record. The teams have stayed under the total in four of the last five meetings: look for this one to follow that trend here.
Prediction: Under 65.5
Full-Game Prop Bet
Syracuse has put up over 50 points in three of their four games this season. In the one game they failed to hit that mark, they still hung 30 at home on Florida State in their conference opener. We’re not taking anything away from Clemson in this one: the Tigers have one of the best defensive lines in the country and they can get after the quarterback. With that said, the Tigers did give up 21 to Georgia Tech last week. While Clemson won the game by four touchdowns, the fact remains that is more points than what the over/under for Syracuse is here. The Orange should be able to go over the number in this one.
Prediction: Syracuse Orange Over 20.5 (-110)
Half-Time Side Pick
This one is going to be interesting early on as we see how Clemson starts off after the way things unfolded this week. For those of you who may have missed it, Swinney named Lawrence the starter under center. In an interview given with the Greenville News, Bryant then announced that he was going to transfer. Turning the offense over to a freshman, no matter how talented, can have its pratfalls. We’ll see if there is any letdown from the decisions made this week. In the end, Syracuse’s offense is capable of hanging in and making enough plays to keep this one close. Take the points and the Orange here.
Prediction: Syracuse Orange +16
Half-Time Total Bet
Both teams are quick strike offensive units that can pile up points in a hurry. As we said, Syracuse has broken the 50 point barrier three times this season. Clemson has at least 38 points in three of their four games with 28 being their low water mark against Texas A&M. The Tigers’ defense will be a factor in this one and they’ll slow Syracuse a bit but this one should still end up over the number at the half with a bunch of explosive plays on both sides.
Prediction: Over 35