Pittsburgh at Clemson College Football Free Picks
Okay, college football betting buffs, with the start of the 2016 regular season quickly approaching, it’s time for a value-packed Week 11 odds and college football pick.
With the Clemson Tigers expected to challenge for their second straight berth in the College Football Playoff and the Pittsburgh Panthers looking to build on their solid 2015 campaign, let’s find out which one of these title hopeful ACC teams is the right pick to cover the college football spreads when they square off in Week 11.
Analyzing The Pittsburgh Panthers at Clemson Tigers College Football Free Picks
When: Saturday, November 12
Where: Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC
NCAAF Odds: Clemson -15.5
Bet The Pittsburgh Panthers at +15.5 Because…
The best reasons to back the Pittsburgh Panthers is that they’re getting a ton of points in this contest and have a very good defense.
Pittsburgh (8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS) ranked 37th in total defense a year ago and a respectable 57th in points allowed (26.0 ppg) and the Panthers have an elite defensive line that ranked 16th nationally in sacks last season at 2.85 per game. That’s the good news, combined with the fact that four starters return on their offensive line.
I also like quarterback Nathan Peterman, but a lot is riding on a return to complete health by gifted running back James Conner after he underwent MCL surgery and offseason chemotherapy treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Pittsburgh has an inexperienced wide receiving unit, but they also possess a flat-out star in sophomore strong safety Jordan Whitehead, the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015.
Bet The Clemson Tigers at -15.5 Because…
The best reason to bet on Clemson (14-1 SU, 8-7 ATS) is that they have a completely and utterly unstoppable quarterback in Deshaun Watson and plenty of motivation after falling just short in the national championship game. The Tigers had one of the best offenses in the country last season as they ranked 11th overall (514.2 ypg) and 16th in scoring (38.4 ppg).
Dual-threat signal-caller Deshaun Watson threw for 4,109 yards with 35 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while rushing for an additional 1,105 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2015. After finishing third in the Heisman Trophy voting and becoming the first FBS player to ever to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in the same season, the sky is the ceiling for the future NFL performer.
What I love about Clemson’s offense however is he balance that underrated running back Wayne Gallman gives his team. As a sophomore the speedy Gallman rushed for 1,527 yards with 13 touchdowns and I believe he could be in for a breakout campaign in 2016.
Clemson also ranked a stellar 10th in total defense (313.4 ypg) and a solid 24th in points allowed (216 ppg). Unfortunately, the Tigers return just four starters on this side of the ball and lost a handful of stars that were all selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.
With defensive ends Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd, cornerback Mackensie Alexander and linebacker Travis Blanks all off to the NFL, Swinney is counting on big things from senior defensive tackle Carlos Watkins and likely, freshman defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, the nation’s No. 2 overall recruit.
The secondary is the unit all eyes will be on heading into 2016 with Clemson needing to find replacements for starting safeties Jayron Kearse and T.J. Green and Alexander at cornerback.
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
While Clemson is by far, the better team in this Week 11 pairing, I’m going with Pittsburgh to narrowly cover the spread because of their underrated defense. The Panthers went 5-2 ATS on the road last season and 4-3 ATS as an underdog while Clemson went just 6-7ATS as a favorite and modest 5-4 ATS at home.
While I don’t think the outcome of this affair is in doubt for the Tigers, I do believe the spread for this matchup is just a few points too high for Clemson to cover.