Clemson-Wake Forest Betting Preview: Will Tigers Cover Big Number?

Clemson heads into today’s 3:30 p.m. game as a substantial favorite over Wake Forest, but is 21 enough points?

The Tigers have looked better each and every week since the Week 1 loss at Duke, including the Week 4 defeat at the hands of Florida State.

The Demon Deacons were terrible in a loss to Georgia Tech two weeks ago, and that stung even more during their open date as the Yellow Jackets had the most embarrassing loss of the ACC season last Saturday to Bowling Green. 

Now, Wake is a 21-point underdog to the Tigers. Here’s a sports betting preview of the conference showdown at Memorial Stadium:

Breaking down the Tigers

Quarterback Cade Klubnik has greatly improved throughout the season as he’s thrown for 1,239 yards in five games and has an 11-2 TD-INT ratio. The running game struggled to find room against Syracuse last week, but Will Shipley and Phil Mafah have combined for over 600 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground. Freshman Tyler Brown has emerged as the go-to option in the passing game and is coming off a 150-yard performance. 

The defense has been dominant up front a lot this season and sacked Syracuse five times last week. The back end is playing better than last year and won’t face the same caliber of receivers that Wake had in 2022. 

Breaking down the Demon Deacons

Quarterback Mitch Griffis has not run this offense like Sam Hartman did. The current starter holds onto the ball for a long time, especially in that slow-mesh run scheme, and Wake Forest lacks big-play ability it had in 2022. Still, this is an efficient offense on third down, converting 47.5% for the season. Receivers Jahmal Banks and Taylor Morin have combined for over 500 yards and five touchdowns, but the offensive line has struggled, allowing eight sacks against Georgia Tech.

The defense used to lead the nation in sacks but it put up a goose egg against the Yellow Jackets, and the Deacs have been a middle-of-the-road passing defense against largely below average offenses. 

Series history

Clemson has won 14 consecutive games against Wake, which hasn’t won in the series since 2008, the year Tommy Bowden stepped down midseason and Dabo Swinney took over. 

The Deacs, however, have covered in six of the last 10 meetings, including last year when they took the Tigers to overtime. But Clemson won that game by 6.

Spread history

Clemson is 3-2 overall this season but 2-3 against the spread. The Tigers covered against Syracuse as a 7.5-point favorite last week and also against FAU. 

Wake Forest is 3-1 overall coming off a bye week but is 1-3 against the spread, failing to cover against Elon, Old Dominion, and GT.

The total is set at 52.5. Wake hasn’t had a game go over this season, with two pushes. Clemson has gone under in three of its five games. 


Wake coach Dave Clawson bemoaned his team’s talent level compared to Clemson, saying nobody on the Tigers’ roster wanted to play for the Deacs. Is that a sign that he knows he’s way overmatched in this game? It certainly appears that way on paper, and Clemson should dominate in the trenches. Playing the Tigers -21 is the best play. The total is hard to project and will likely be very close to that number if this game goes the way of Clemson. If Wake keeps it close and covers, it’s likely a very low scoring affair.

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