The Clemson Tigers will look to take one more step than they did a year ago by winning the national championship this coming season. The Auburn Tigers are looking to get back to being legitimate national title contenders after not winning more than eight games for the fourth time in the last five seasons.
Now, let’s find out which one of these national championship title online betting hopefuls will get the win and ATS cover in their huge Week 1 pairing.
A Closer Look At The Week 1 Clemson Tigers Vs Auburn Tigers Winning Favorites
When: 9:00 PM ET, Saturday, September 3, 2016
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Alabama
Live Stream: Watch ESPN
NCAAF Odds: Clemson -8
Bet The Auburn Tigers at +8 Because…
The Tigers are playing at home and still have plenty of talent on their roster. Auburn (7-6 SU, 3-9-1 ATS) underachieved in 2015 despite having nearly as much talent as any team in the country. The Tigers return an identical six starters on both sides of the ball, but need improved play at several positions, starting at quarterback. Head coach Gus Malzahn has yet to name his starter out of a trio of candidates including John Franklin III, Jeremy Johnson and Sean White.
At running back, 2015 second-stringer Jovon Robinson is set to replace former starter Peyton Barber but the wide receiver position looks like it could be problematic because of a lack of experience. Not only that, but Malzahn must also find a pair of suitable replacements for starting tackles Shon Coleman and Avery Young and that could be easier said than done, although the Tigers do have an All-SEC performer in guard Braden Smith.
The good news is that the Tigers look like they’ll be solid at the very least on defense in 2016 under new coordinator Kevin Steele, who comes on board after one year at LSU. The Auburn Tigers have a pair of potential next level defensive linemen in Carl Lawson and Montravius Adams and a group of young recruits that could all make an immediate impact.
The linebacker unit is an area of concern after losing three starters and their 601 career tackles. In the secondary, Malzahn needs to find a new starter for departed senior Blake Countess, but the Tigers do have an All-SEC performer in sophomore Carlton Davis.
Bet The Clemson Tigers at -8 Because…
The Tigers have arguably the best player in the country in quarterback Deshaun Watson and a ton of other elite talent. Clemson (14-1 SU, 8-7 ATS) 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). The Tigers’ offense is led by gifted dual-threat signal-caller Deshaun Watson a player that 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 became 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 is underrated running back Wayne Gallman. As a sophomore the speedy Gallman rushed for 1,527 yards with 13 touchdowns.
While head coach Dabo Swinney will need to find suitable replacements for two starters on the offensive line, there’s no doubt that Clemson looks like they’ll be at least as explosive offensively as they were in 2015. The Tigers closed out the 2015 campaign ranked a stellar 10th in total defense (313.4 ypg) and 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 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 corner.
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
While I’m not real fond of the nearly double-digit point spread surrounding this matchup, I am going to urge you to back the Clemson Tigers to win and narrowly cover the spread against an Auburn team that may or may not get competent play out of the quarterback position this coming season. Despite their uninspiring 2-6 ATS mark in their last 8 road games, Clemson has also gone 6-1 ATS in their last seven games in the month of September and 6-2 ATS in their last eight non-conference games.
Auburn has failed miserably in covering the ATS betting line by going 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against teams from the ACC, 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games overall and a nearly winless 1-8 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games. I fully expect Deshaun Watson and running back Wayne Gallman to gash Auburn’s defense en route to the double-digit win and narrow ATS cover!