Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Clemson +110 over Florida St
Clemson Memorial Stadium – Clemson, SC
12:00 PM EST. This business is a "what have you done for me lately" kind of enterprise. Once upon a time, Clemson was characterized as the gold standard of the ACC and the team to beat. However, this past Labor Day weekend changed all of that. We’ll dive deeper.
Heading into the 2023 season, Clemson was widely-regarded as a heavy favorite to win the Atlantic Coast Conference and named by many analysts to return to the College Football Playoff after going missing for a couple of years. However, the Tigers would take to the road on Labor Day night against Duke as a double-digit point favorite and the unranked Blue Devils would go on to make a spectacle of the Tigers in a 28-7 victory. Though this result was in Week One it could easily be inferred as one of the biggest surprises so far this year and the market has reacted accordingly. Since then, Clemson has fallen from elite status, a team that is no longer a national power, and an outfit whose dynastic run within the conference is now at an end. All eyes have now turned to the Seminoles who have essentially become the new sheriff in town.
By contrast, Florida State has one of the most impressive victories season-to-date and it occurred within 24 hours of the Tigers’ demise. Florida State rolled a then #5 LSU 45-24 in the Camping World Classic and such an outcome sent shockwaves across the college football landscape. LSU was named by some analysts to go undefeated and perhaps win the SEC, but it was FSU who literally stole the show. Moreover, a victory of this magnitude is one that is not exhibited all too often. You see, LSU gave up more points than any other team ranked in the AP Top Five in a season opener in poll history. As a result, Florida State was catapulted to as high as #3 in the polls after achieving such a distinction. In the buildup to this contest, the market is reacting to these two results even though each side has played two more games of football since then.
Against Duke, Clemson beat themselves. The Tigers’ committed three special team blunders which included two/tipped blocked field goals and a missed attempt inside the 20. Clemson also committed three turnovers, two of which occurred inside Duke’s 10-yard line. The amount of points left on the table were copious and yet Duke did not pull away until the fourth quarter. In a nutshell every in-game variance that could go against Clemson did and everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Had it not, we may very well be talking about Clemson sitting inside the Top-10. Nevertheless, since Labor Day the Tigers have looked more like themselves and obliterated opponents (albeit cupcakes) 112-31 in their last two wins but the market is fixated on one result.
Indeed, FSU has one of the most impressive wins of the season so far and they followed it up with a 66-13 dismantling of Southern Miss in Week Two, covering as a 31-point choice with ease. However, last week, Florida State was lucky to get out of Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts with a win as the ‘Noles escaped an upset-minded Boston College a 31-29 thriller. FSU came into the game as a 27½-point favorite and led by as much as 21 before the Eagles would soar back into the contest. In-game variances perhaps prevented BC from completing an upset, as the Eagles missed a PAT and committed a program record 18 penalties which cost the Eagles 132 yards in total. One of these fouls allowed Florida State to get the first down it needed to run out the clock and escape with the win. Had Boston College played a clean game, perhaps the conversation surrounding this contest would be far different. After all, Boston College generated more total offense than Florida State did (457 total yards by BC to 350 yards of offense by FSU) and could have potentially won the game. Had the Eagles done so, FSU’s ranking may be lower than Clemson’s. Now, we get to take advantage.
Clemson will be insulted by the fact that they are an underdog in Death Valley. After all, it is not a thing that happens frequently; this is the third time in the last decade that Clemson is priced as a home pup at Memorial Stadium. When we combine this narrative with the aforementioned hot takes on this program over the last few weeks, the Tigers will have many emotional intangibles and motivation to come out swinging. Florida State has also lost the last seven against the Tigers and that once again gives Clemson an emotional edge, as well. FSU is heading into uncharted waters while Clemson will have confidence. When you factor this in with over 90,000 steamed up Tigers’ fans getting in FSU’s face, there are so many things that go wrong for the Seminoles here with all the ingredients considered. Clemson outright it is.
Clemson +110 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.20)