NCAA Football

Tennessee vs. Clemson Predictions Capital One Orange Bowl Betting Trends

Tennessee vs. Clemson Predictions Capital One Orange Bowl Betting Trends

On Thursday, No. 6 Tennessee faces No. 7 Clemson in the Capital One Orange Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN.

Clemson (11-2) won the ACC championship under Dabo Swinney, and the Tigers returned to their sixth bowl game on New Year’s Day. The Tigers will have a new quarterback in freshman Cade Klubnick, who has taken over the starting job from DJ Wagalelei. Swinney is 11-7 in the postseason, so Clemson has more than enough motivation in Miami.

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Tennessee (10-2) is making its first New Year’s Day sixth under second-year coach Josh Heupel. The Volunteers led the FBS in scoring with 47.3 points per game, but will be without starting quarterback Handon Hooker (ACL) and SN All-American receiver Jalin Hyatt, who sat out the bowl game.

Tennessee leads the all-time series 11-6, and this is the first meeting between the teams since the 2004 Peach Bowl. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know to bet on the Tigers vs Volunteers matchup.

Tennessee’s odds against Clemson

  • Distribution: Clemson -6
  • More/less: 63.5
  • Cash line: Clemson -250, Tennessee +190

That line rallied and rose 1.5 points after Hyatt announced its withdrawal. Seven of Tennessee’s games have gone overtime, but three of its last five games have had fewer. Seven of Clemson’s 13 games have gone into overtime, including three of its last five.

(Betting odds on Bet MGM)

Three trends to be aware of

— Clemson was 5-1 S/U and 4-2 ATS when led by seven points or less this season. S/U’s only loss came against Notre Dame 35-14 on Nov. 5.

— Sweeney is 4-3 S/U vs. SEC schools in bowl games. However, five of those games were CFP matches. Clemson is 2-0 in bowl games under Swinney against the SEC in non-CFP bowl games.

— The Volunteers are 2-6 ATS and 2-6 S/U as an underdog under Heupel. Tennessee has split games against SEC heavyweights Alabama and Georgia this season.

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Three things to watch out for

The effectiveness of strawberry. Clubnik’s efficiency stood out — especially on 20-of-24 passing in the ACC Championship Game. Strawberry averaged 8.2 yards per attempt, a significant jump from Uyagalelei (6.8). Strawberry should have success against a Tennessee pass defense that has allowed 287 yards per game this season, but the Tigers’ receivers are going to win their 1-on-1 battles against Tennessee’s cornerbacks. Freshman Cole Turner had three catches for 101 yards in the ACC Championship Game. If Strawberry hits deep, Turner will be the preferred target. Running back Will Shipley, who had five 100-yard games, should be a factor early on.

Joe Milton Time. Milton has had an interesting career. He spent three years at Michigan — and opened the 2020 season as the starter — before transferring to Tennessee. He played well with a 63% completion percentage, seven TDs and no interceptions. Milton (6-5, 244) has some serious physical skills, but that job against Clemson will be more difficult without Hyatt and Cedric Tillman, who also opted out. Tennessee took a pass-heavy approach, amassing 362 yards in the regular-season finale against Vanderbilt, but Milton will have to play in the passing game to keep up with Clemson.

Execution of the schedule. Clemson has four players with at least nine tackles for loss this season, led by linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr., an all-around star who has 12 TFL tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. Myles Murphy (11 TFL), Barrett Carter (9.5 TFL) and KJ Henry (9 TFL) also had outstanding seasons. Can they get behind Milton and the Tennessee offense on early downs, especially against the run? The Vols will counter with Jaylen Wright (786 yards, 10 TDs) and Jabari Small (699 yards, 12 TDs).

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Statistics that matter

Hyatt and Tillman have combined for 18 TD receptions this season, and that task now falls to Bru McCoy (619 yards, 3 TDs) and Ramelle Keeton (486 yards, 4 TDs). McCoy is the go-to receiver while Cayton averaged 18.0 yards per catch. Clemson has allowed 316.5 passing yards in its last two games against South Carolina and North Carolina. The Vols will have their opportunities in the vertical passing game. Those receivers will need to step up.

Tennessee vs Clemson Prediction

This can be a slow game. Which offense loses their quarterback first? Strawberry would work with the short passing game to make some vertical shots and Clemson would take the lead in the first quarter. The Vols would pick up the pace in the second quarter, with Milton coming up with a deep McCoy touchdown before halftime. Which team can play consistently in the fourth quarter? Shipley gets the tough yards for the Tigers, and the defense keeps the lead at the end, losing Milton in the final minutes. It’s very close, but the Tigers win the Orange Bowl thriller.

Final Score: Clemson 30, Tennessee 27

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