On, Saturday, December 2, 2017, the N0. 2 ranked Miami Hurricanes, 10-1, take on the No. 3 ranked Clemson Tigers, 11-1, in the ACC Conference championship game. There is a lot riding on this game, as the winner knows that they are headed to the national playoffs while the loser is relegated to a bowl game sometime around New Year’s Eve. With those kinds of odds at stake, this should be one of the most exciting games of the weekend.
Miami enters this contest at 10-1, losing last week’s contest to Pittsburgh 24-14. A shocker to say the least. The only loss for the Tigers the season was to Syracuse on Friday the 13th. It is interesting that both of these teams suffered their losses on Friday contests.
Miami is 5-6 against the spread this season. In their last seven games, they are 2-5 against the spread and have gone 1-4 in their last five contests against the spread against Clemson. The Hurricanes have won 15 of their last 16 games. They have gone under in eight of their last nine contests and the total has gone over in four of the last five games between these two teams.
Clemson is 7-4-1 against the spread this season. The Tigers are currently on a five-game winning streak.
It looked like Miami was going to enter this contest undefeated, but they got tripped up against Pittsburgh last weekend. Fortunately, that loss will not hurt their chances of getting into the national championship game as long as they can overcome the Clemson Tigers.
For Miami, it starts with an impressive defense that is allowing 18.3 points per game. The defense has recorded 39.0 sacks this season, 17 interceptions, and 12 fumble recoveries. This Hurricanes defense knows how to get a lot of pressure and make opposing offenses make mistakes.
Trent Harris leads the team in sacks with 8.5, and 14 different players have been involved in sacks this season. Jaquan Johnson is a flat out playmaker, leading the team in tackles with 81 and also first in interceptions with four and recording two fumble recoveries. Michael Jackson also has four interceptions for the Hurricanes.
Malik Rosier has played well at the quarterback decision for Miami, throwing for 2807 yards and 25 touchdowns. He has thrown nine interceptions and is only completing 55.3 percent of his passes this season, so he may have to step up his performance for the Hurricanes two when this game. Rosier has also rushed for 408 yards and five touchdowns.
Miami has a solid ground game as well, led by Travis Homer who has 861 yards rushing and seven touchdowns. Mark Walton is second on the team 428 yards, and both are averaging better than 6 yards per carry. This needs to be one area of the offense that has a great deal of success for Miami on Saturday.
The Clemson offense is outstanding, led by quarterback Kelly Bryant. Bryant is thrown for 2426 yards and 12 touchdowns season, completing 66.4 percent of his passes and throwing six interceptions in 311 attempts. If all Bryant did was throw the ball that would be pretty impressive, but he also has gained 629 yards rushing with 10 scores.
The leading rusher for the Tigers is Travis Etienne, who has 720 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Etienne has been incredibly difficult to try to slow down, earning all of those yards on just 97 carries for a 7.4 yards per carry average.
The Clemson defense is even more difficult that Miami’s. They are allowing only 13.6 points per game and have recorded 40 sacks this season. Tanner Muse leads the team in sacks with 8.5, followed closely behind by Austin Bryant was 7.5.
Hurricanes vs. Tigers Betting Lines
This is a game of two evenly matched teams, which is why it seems a bit out of character for Miami to be a 10 point underdog. They have rolled over some of the top competition in the country, including demolishing Notre Dame and should get a little more respect than that. It is true that Clemson is exceptional, and may be the very best team in the country right now, but don’t expect them to cover 10 points in this game. Take Miami and the points and expect this game to finish slightly over 47.5.
My Pick: Miami +10 (-120)
Totals:Over 47.5 (-110)
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