It is an ACC conference battle as Clemson visits Syracuse. It is time to continue our College Football odds series with a Clemson-Syracuse prediction, pick, and how-to-watch.
Clemson enters the game at 2-2 on the season, but 0-2 in ACC play. Last week was a heartbreaking overtime loss to Florida State. Clemson had the early lead in the game, kicking a field goal after a six-minute 79-yard drive in the first quarter. Then they would score again in the early part of the second quarter to have a ten-point lead. At the half, they would hold a 17-14 advantage. Then in the third quarter, Florida State would kick a field goal to tie it, but after another long drive, Clemson had the lead once again.
They were driving to take their third two-score lead of the game in the third when Kalen DeLoach came through unblocked, and hit Cade Klubnik, causing a fumble that he would bring back to the house to tie the game. Clemson would have another chase at the lead late in the fourth, but a missed field goal would bring the game to overtime. Florida State would score on just two plays, while Clemson would miss on fourth down to lose the game 31-24.
Meanwhile, Syracuse is now 4-0 on the season but does not have a win yet in the ACC. They opened the season against Colgate and Western Michigan, winning the two games by a combined score of 113-7. They had two tougher tests next, against Purdue and Army. At Purdue, they took a 35-20 win, but Army was more difficult. Syracuse trailed 10-3 at the half but made some great halftime adjustments to take a 29-16 victory. They now head into the toughest part of their schedule. Beyond Clemson this week, they will play UNC and Florida State the next two weeks.
Here are the college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: Clemson-Syracuse Odds
Clemson: -6.5 (-114)
Syracuse: +6.5 (-106)
Over: 53.5 (-105)
Under: 53.5 (-115)
How to Watch Clemson vs. Syracuse
Stream: ESPN App
Time: 12:00 PM ET/ 9:00 AM PT
*Watch college football LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why Clemson Will Cover The Spread
Clemson needs to start with a strong game from Cade Klubnik. He has not been spectacular this year. Klubnik is 95-146 passing for 958 yards and nine touchdowns. Still, seven of the nine scores have come against Charleston Southern and FAU. In the two ACC games, he has just two passing touchdowns. Further, he has thrown two interceptions this year and another six turnover-worthy passes. The issue for him has been pressure. Klubnik has been pressured 58 times on 160 dropbacks this year. This has led to six sacks and six scrambled for positive yards. The hits have also led to other ball security issues. Klubnik has fumbled five times this year, including a fumble that tied the game against Florida State.
Clemson will also look to keep the ball away from Garrett Shrader by controlling the run game. The combination of Phil Mafah and Will Shipley has been solid this year. Mafah has 35 rush attempts this year for 238 yards and three scores. Meanwhile, Shipley has run 55 times for 310 yards and a score. They have combined for 24 missed tackles and 11 runs over 15 yards this year. Clemson has been solid blocking for them as well. They are getting an average of 2.3 yards downfield before first contact this year.
Clemson will need to put pressure on Shrader in this game if they are going to come away with a win. They have done a good job of that this year. In four games they have 75 quarterback pressures but just six sacks on the year. Xavier Thomas has led the way for them in the pass rush, coming away with 12 pressures and two sacks this year. Clemson will also have to be stout against the run. They have been just that this year. Clemson has 68 stops for offensive failures on 89 rushing attempts. Kobe McCloud has five of those stops while forcing a fumble and having an average point of tackle in the backfield.
Why Syracuse Will Cover The Spread
Garrett Sharder has been great for Syracuse this year while leading them to a 4-0 record. He is 72-107 passing this year for 972 yards and six touchdowns. He has made seven big-time throws according to PFF and is pushing the ball downfield with an average depth of target 10.7 yards downfield. Shrader has thrown three interceptions this year and five turnover-worthy passes, but beyond that he has been solid. What has made a difference is his legs. He has been pressured 36 times on 135 dropbacks but sacked just eight with 19 scrambles for positive yardage. The result has been 178 yards scrambling and another 162 yards on designed runs with six touchdowns.
Syracuse has been solid on the ground with the combination of Shrader and LeQuint Allen. Allen has 311 yards this year on 62 attempts. That gives him an average of five yards per carry, while he has scored six times. He is getting great blocking too, with over 2.5 yards before first contact. Then, he has forced 14 missed tackles and made some big runs this year.
Syracuse will also need to put food pressure on Cade Klubnik in this game. They have done that this year with 65 quarterback pressures and 15 sacks. Derek McDonald leads the way with 11 pressures this year and two sacks, while also hitting the quarterback three times. They will also have to shut down a solid run game. This year they have made 80 stops for offensive failures on 114 rushing attempts. Justin Barron has made eight of those while forcing a fumble this year.
Final Clemson-Syracuse Prediction & Pick
Clemson had a real shot at coming away with a victory over Florida State, but two things stood in the way. First, they failed to block for Cade Klubnik properly. The poor blocking was one of the major turning points in the game. Second, they did not stop the big plays of Florida State. Syracuse has two things going for them. First, Garrett Shrader makes big plays. Second, they have had a good pass rush this year. Currently, Syracuse is +205 on the money line, and that could be a nice play. Regardless, they will keep it close and cover in this one.
Final Clemson-Syracuse Prediction & Pick: Syracuse +6.5 (-106)