Clemson covered eight of 14 spreads on its way to the national championship game last year, but it only went 2-3 against the spread on the road. Auburn, meanwhile, while picking pockets at 3-10 ATS last year, went 0-7 ATS at home. Who might cover when these two Tigers tangle Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium?
Point spread: Clemson opened as a 7.5-point favorite, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 44.2-25.3 Clemson
Why the Clemson Tigers can cover the spread
Clemson returns 11 starters from a team that won the ACC last year and advanced to the national championship game, where it gave a game effort in losing to Alabama 45-40. Seven starters return on offense, led by Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Deshaun Watson (5,209 total yards last year, 47 total touchdowns), running back Wayne Gallman (1,527 yards rushing last year, 13 touchdowns) and three of the big boys up front.
And while only four starters return on defense, the Tigers only returned three starters on that side of the ball last year and still held opponents to just 313 yards per game. Also, yes, head coach Dabo Swinney’s squad struggled a bit chasing money on the road last season, but it also went 4-1-2 ATS when favored by 10 points or less.
Why the Auburn Tigers can cover the spread
Auburn gets back a dozen starters from a team that went 7-6 last season. Six starters are back on offense, including three along the offensive line, and while it has some skilled people to replace, it could still improve upon the 28 points per game it averaged last year. Also, six starters return on defense, so that unit will hope to improve upon the 26 points per game it allowed last season.
The Tigers went 0-2 ATS as home dogs last year, but that came against a couple of pretty good teams in Ole Miss and Alabama, and they actually had both those games covered before giving up late scores that cost them the cash.
Clemson has Watson and rates among the favorites to return to the College Football Playoff. But will the defense hold up? Can Clemson avoid a regression? Auburn, on the other hand, should be improved on both sides of the ball, and head coach Gus Malzahn’s team might be ripe for a rebound following two seasons of mediocrity. The smart money here sides with the home dogs.
The total has gone over in eight of Clemson’s last 11 games.
Clemson is 3-0 ATS in its last three games against Auburn.
Auburn is 0-9-1 ATS in its last 10 games at home.
All point spread and betting lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Odds Shark on Twitter and YouTube for injury information, line-movement updates and more game analysis, and get the free odds-tracker app.
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Source: Bleacher Report-ACC Football