No longer ranked, 1-1 overall, offensive questions remaining, and a clear lookahead spot are facing the Clemson Tigers when they take on the Florida Atlantic Owls.
Still, Dabo Swinney’s squad enters the 8 p.m. showdown in Memorial Stadium as a 24.5-point sports betting favorite. The Tigers are coming off a 66-17 win over Charleston Southern in which they only covered if you got the early line of 48.5. Rival Florida State awaits next week.
FAU lost straight up 17-10 last week to the Ohio Bobcats as a 3.5-point favorite.
Breaking down the Tigers
Clemson was shaky early against the Bucs, trailing 14-7 after two turnovers by QB Cade Klubnik put his team in a hole. But he and the Tigers bounced back to easily dispatch CSU. The offense is still growing, but giving the ball away is a huge issue. With 22 turnovers in the last nine games, dating back to last season, it’s no coincidence the Tigers have only covered the spread three times in that span.
The defense had a great Week 2 and should once again hold the physicality edge this week. If the offense can protect the ball, and the defense doesn’t get caught looking in the wrong place a couple of times, Clemson could finally look like the dominant team it’s supposed to be this year.
Breaking down the Owls
Last week was a back-breaking loss in Year 1 of the Tom Herman era. The Owls only produced 185 total yards against the MAC foe, including just 5 rushing yards. QB Casey Thompson struggled mightily, completing just 55% of his passes for 180 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Through two games, this unit ranks 73rd nationally in yards per play and 99th in yards per pass attempt.
Defensively, they’ve been much better, albeit against an FCS opponent Monmouth, and the Bobcats in QB Kurtis Rourke’s first game back from injury. They’ve only produced one sack this year.
Both of these teams are 0-2 against the number to start the season.
They’ve only played once in their football histories, a 54-6 victory for the Tigers, who easily covered a -28.5-point spread.
This isn’t a game that’s likely to garner a ton of action on a slate full of big favorites. Clemson is far from trustworthy. FAU is going through a lot of changes. The line hasn’t moved much all week, but the Tigers are above a somewhat key number of 24 right now.
Neither team is instilling a lot of confidence in bettors with their respective starts, but being a night game in Death Valley with better talent and more reason to play well, it feels like Clemson is the side.
The problem, however, is with the timing. No. 3 Florida State comes to town next week at noon for a massive ACC showdown. Will Clemson take FAU lightly and fail to come close to covering a big number or will the Tigers want to put it all together in their final tuneup before the Seminoles roll into town?
Let’s go with the former, but it’s tough to swallow with that big a spread. The total of 51.5 is hard to judge because of Clemson’s turnover issues so gonna stay away from that.
Best bet (1-1): The under didn’t come close to hitting as the bad weather never arrived and both teams scored defensive touchdowns. Those are total killers for sure.
Clemson’s task is getting off to a good start this week, so the best play is the Tigers’ first-half spread of -14.
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