NCAA Football: Auburn (13) v Clemson (3) Preview

7 min

It’s a battle of the Tigers as Auburn heads into Death Valley to take on a buoyant Clemson unit. Both teams cruised to victory over sub par opposition in week 1 but Saturday night’s clash promised to be anything but a cake walk.

  • Opening | Current Point Spread: CLEM -6.0 | CLEM -5.0
  • Opening | Current Total: 56 | 55.5
  • Click here for the latest betting
  • Kick-off: 00:05 Sunday (BST)

Despite losing All American QB Deshaun Watson to the NFL Draft in the offseason, Clemson Head Coach Dabo Swinney is confident that First-year starter Kelly Bryant can keep his team rolling this season. Fortunately for Swinney and his staff, Bryant has had two years to learn the Tigers Offense behind the now departed Watson.

Bryant had an armchair ride last week in a 56-3 thumping of Kent State. As debuts go, this one was a belter for Bryant who totted up 313 yards of total offense (236 passing & 77 rushing) in just over one-half of football.

Now comes the real test of Auburn and their star studded Defense. Despite the usual hype machine that surrounds their in state rivals Alabama, Auburn has undoubtedly crept in under the radar this year. The Auburn unit which rightly has earned the media plaudits is the Tigers ferocious Defense. Their D Line in particular anchored by Christian Williams and Dexter Lawrence is monstrous.

The Battle in the trenches between Clemson’s O-Line and the aforementioned Auburn D Line is one that is most definitely worth staying up for.

QB Jarrett Stidham has had a slow start to his Auburn career, highlighted by an inconsistent week 1 performance against an inferior Georgia Southern team.

All Auburn eyes will be on QB Jarrett Stidham on Saturday night.

There is, however, a real danger of putting too much stock into this performance, as no doubt, new Offensive Coordinator Chip Lindsay will be holding more than a few plays back to counter an as always formidable Clemson Defense.

Auburn’s ‘Killer K’s’ triple threat of Running Backs Kamryn Pettway, Kam Martin and Kerryon Johnson will once again be crucial to Auburn’s hopes. Speed kills and these guys have it in abundance. Head Coach Gus Malzahn has been criticised by many for his team’s offensive woes in recent times but the Auburn run game has long been a strength. Expect all three backs to touch the ball early and often in this one, as Auburn look to get their running once again running at an optimal level.

Point Spread Analysis

So where has the money been flowing in this one? Unsurprisingly Clemson equipped with one of the better home advantages opened as 6 point favs before the money came for the SEC Tigers.

Sharp money from Vegas bettors favoring Auburn drove this line to 5.0 flat at the time of publishing. Auburn +5.0 or +5.5 is readily available at Matchbook. Once again the best odds and liquidity on these markets is here at Matchbook.

Total Points Analysis

Opening at 56.0 early this week, the total dipped to 53.5 on Thursday but has since rebounded to 55.5 on Friday evening. The current forecast indicates that the weather is clear for the South Carolina area on Saturday night as can be seen here.

Whilst this game has the potential to be one for the ages, it would be no surprise to see a low scoring encounter here. Last year’s reverse fixture ended in a 19-13 Clemson victory, a game that Clemson coach Dabo Swinney described as the toughest his team had played.

A night game at Clemson is a formidable hurdle for the road team.

Both Defenses are rock solid and there are plenty of question marks on both Quarterbacks to suggest that it both teams running back’s will see plenty of the ball.

My Pick

So having read the above, you’re figuring I’m going Under right? Not quite friends, but I do envision a low scoring affair nonetheless.

Instead, I’m taking Auburn +5.0 here.

On a neutral field, I would have Auburn as a 2 point favourite. Death Valley is a formidable venue to pitch up looking for a Road Win, but in no way is it currently worth 6 / 7 points.

Why 5.0 over 5.5? Should we take a lower price for that half point?

Ordinarily, I would always advise taking the number over price, but not here. 5 is not a key American Football number like a 3, 7, 9, or 10 etc. The likelihood of the margin being 4 is significantly greater. A 28-24 Clemson win would suit me just fine here.

Enjoy the Game!

Recommended Play:
Auburn +5.0 @ 1.91