Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 9:30 AM EST.
12:00 PM EST. The opening weekend will be a ceremonious one for the Tigers, as there will be plenty of festivities and fanfare in Death Valley, as the Clemson faithful will raise the 2016 National Champion banner to commemorate their storied run to glory. Though Clemson has a huge riddle to solve with their quarterback situation while also dealing with a huge off-loading of the talent that propelled the Tigers to said championship, Clemson will be priced nonetheless like any other top-five defending champ: heavily inflated. By no means are we here to argue that Kent State is going to wreck Clemson’s festivities but it can be conceived that the Golden Flashes are taking back a plethora of inflated points. Clemson isn’t likely to be in kill or high intensity mode here while the dog will be. The Golden Flashes were scheduled by Clemson to be a virtual win. The Tigers did this so they can focus more of their attention on the celebratory activities and less on a threatening opponent that could rain on their parade.
However, Kent State has a litany of experience playing against some of the best teams in America as a scheduled tune-up opponent. In 2016, K-State faced Penn State and Alabama on the road, so Death Valley will be just another day at the office for them. Kent State finished 3-9 in 2016 but their record is a bit misleading. The Golden Flashes could have been bowl eligible had a few bounces gone their way. Outside of their losses to ‘Bama and PSU, the Golden Flashes lost four of their seven games by a margin of four points or less and much of their demise was rooted in their lack of offensive production. K-State’s defense was sound all year and that defense returns nine starters, including all four defensive backs and three of their leading tacklers. While Clemson begins to rediscover itself in the post-Dashaun Watson era, this game reminds us of the Harlem Globetrotters playing the Washington Generals with the Tigers being the Globetrotters. In other words, pick an opponent to toy with, treat it as an exhibition game, pull off a few tricks and send the fans home happy. Indeed the fans will go home satisfied after a glorious of day of football in one of the greatest venues and atmospheres in the country. We can’t say the same about going home happy for those spotting 41 points.
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#159 Kent State +41 -108 (Risking 2.16 units - To Win: 2.00)