Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:30 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Clemson -7 -105 over North Carolina
Clemson Memorial Stadium – Clemson, SC
3:30 PM EST. For the second time this month we are going back to the Dabo Swinney well, but when there is value to be found, there is value to be had. What we have here is the 20th ranked Tar Heels taking back a converted TD against unranked Clemson. That’s red flag #1 for North Carolina backers.
We could regurgitate what we have written in previous write-ups about in-game variance (IGV) being cruel to the Tigers throughout the 2023-24 season and we can reiterate that had “IGV” looked upon Clemson favorably, we could be talking about an undefeated top-five Clemson team contending for a College Football Playoff berth. Instead, what we have is the four-loss unranked Tigers spotting some very enticing points to a North Carolina team that has excelled in the underdog role. In fact, the Tar Heels have covered in five of their last six stints as the pup and they have won the last three games outright as a road underdog. Against Clemson in particular, North Carolina is 5-2 against the number in the previous seven meetings. As a result of these eye-candy statistics, bolstered by a number next to their name in the polls, North Carolina has been touted as one of this week’s best bets and a clear-cut case of “wrong side being favored.” As such, the market cannot get enough of UNC here but as contrarian bettors, we would urge North Carolina backers to approach with extreme caution.
It was only two weeks ago that a team called the Notre Dame Fighting Irish came to Death Valley as a three-point road favorite boding a #12 ranking and the market was fading Clemson in its own stead. The Tigers would go on to topple the Irish 31-23 and led by as much as 18 at one point in the contest. This was the same Notre Dame team that took an Ohio State that was ranked #1 for two weeks in the College Football Playoff rankings to the final bell. This is also the same Clemson team that took #4 Florida State to overtime in Death Valley and could have won as quickly as it lost. One thing is clear -- when there was dissension in the ranks a couple weeks ago when the Tigers fell to 4-4, good old Dabo found a way to circle the wagons and now this Clemson team is playing with a big old chip on their shoulder.
There's every reason for general optimism taking back 7 points with North Carolina but that’s the point. When something looks too good, it usually is not. It's time to sell, as the Tar Heels defense won't look nearly as good against Clemson’s bevy of playmakers as it did versus a schedule that featured three of the most offensively inept power-5 teams in the country (Minnesota, South Carolina and Syracuse). Clemson can play like a championship team and the Tigers have a solid record of good performances in spots like this. You'll want more than a touchdown in your pocket to take a team that routinely gives up a boatload of yardage and points and is coming off an exhausting 47-45 win over Duke last week in OT.
Clemson -7 -105 (Risking 2.10 units - To Win: 2.00)