Clemson Betting Odds Preview
The Tigers remain one of the premier programs in the ACC, with three double-digit victory seasons in a row and two Top 10 finishes, but Clemson's fate over the last couple of seasons has been adversely affected by the ascension of division rival Florida State and the head-to-head dominance of in-state rival South Carolina.
The Tigers have lost their last two games against the national champion Seminoles, and their last five games against the Gamecocks. And those two programs are going to give Clemson a tough time this year, too. On top of that the Tigers now have to replace three-year starting quarterback Tajh Boyd and other key offensive weapons. Reaching double-digit victories this year might be a tough task.
Clemson began last year 6-0, with a tough win over Georgia, reaching No. 3 in the rankings. But in the game that ultimately kept them from playing for big marbles later on the Tigers got embarrassed at home by Florida State. Clemson then won four more in a row, but lost to rival South Carolina for the fifth time in a row. The Tigers then finished on a high note, with an Orange Bowl victory over Ohio State, ending up 11-2 SU, 7-6 ATS.
Dabo's boys are now 32-8 SU, 24-16 ATS over the last three seasons.
This year Clemson has to replace 10 starters from last year. Gone are Boyd, thousand-yard rusher Roderick McDowell and thousand-yard receiver Sammy Watkins, who went No. 4 overall in May's NFL draft. But three starters are back on the offensive line, and seven are back on defense, including all four along what should be one of the best defensive lines in the country.
The Tigers have played a lot of high-scoring affairs over the last few seasons, but with an offense that won't be as good as last year, and a defense that might be better than last year, that might not be the case this season.
Like last season, Clemson opens this season with a clash with Georgia, this one in Athens. A few weeks later the Tigers open ACC play at Florida State. After those two games the Tigers could be ranked No. 1 in the nation, or not ranked at all. Later Clemson visits Georgia Tech, and hosts Coastal Division favorite North Carolina, Louisville and South Carolina. The Tigers also miss three of the better teams from the Coastal in Virginia Tech, Miami and Pitt.
But with those first two road games, the tough home games, and the inexperience at the skill spots, Clemson is a candidate to regress this season.
ACC Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5
Florida State 4/11
North Carolina 10/1
Virginia Tech 12/1
Georgia Tech 25/1
North Carolina State 100/1
Boston College 200/1
Wake Forest 200/1
There was some concern a few years back that Clemson might have jumped the gun in firing head coach Tommy Bowden, replacing him with assistant Dabo Swinney. But Tiger Nation doesn't seem to mind the move now, after a couple division titles, the first conference crown in 20 years, and a BCS bowl bid. This year Clemson is expected to be right in the running for the ACC title again, thanks to the return of multi-threat QB Tajh Boyd and a home game with the Tigers' main competitor in the ACC Atlantic, Florida State.
Clemson had 14 starters back last year, with an eye on another ACC title. The Tigers then started 3-0, but in the game that eventually decided the Atlantic Division title the Clemson defense gave up more than 600 yards of offense in a 49-37 loss at Florida State. The Tigers then ran the rest of the table in ACC play, putting up some fat numbers on offense, but in the season finale they got upset at home by South Carolina in the Palmetto Bowl 27-17. Clemson then recovered to pull an upset of its own, rallying to beat LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl 25-24 to finish 11-2. The Tigers also went a profitable 9-4 ATS last season, 7-1 ATS in ACC play and 6-0 ATS away from Memorial Stadium.
This year Clemson gets 12 starters back, six on each side of the ball. On offense Boyd, a preseason Heisman contender, is joined by WR Sammy Watkins and four of the big boys up front, while on defense five of the front seven are back. But the Tigers will have to replace 1,000-yard rusher Andre Ellington, WR DeAndre Hopkins (1,400 receiving yards last year), and three-quarters of the defensive secondary.
Clemson kicks off this season in style, hosting Georgia. The ACC slate includes four winnable games at NC State, Syracuse, Maryland, and Virginia, and home games vs. Wake Forest, Boston College, and Georgia Tech. But most importantly, in the game that might once again decide who wins the Atlantic Division, the Tigers get Florida State at Death Valley on October 19. They then end the season with the Palmetto Bowl at South Carolina.
ACC Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of July 30
Florida State +240
Virginia Tech +775
North Carolina +850
Georgia Tech +1050
NC State +7000
Boston College +8500
Wake Forest +15000