Clemson will want to control the tempo in Week 13, so look for the Tigers to lean on the ground game against South Carolina’s leaky run defense. Our college football picks think a certain forgotten man in the backfield is the smartest target.
A rivalry game in name only. The South Carolina Gamecocks would undoubtedly take offense at that description, but the Clemson Tigers have won the last seven matchups between these two in-state foes by an average margin of 26 points. South Carolina can hardly claim to have been competitive of late, coming within three possessions only once since 2014.
Here are our free college football picks and predictions for South Carolina vs. Clemson on Saturday, November 26, with kickoff set for noon ET.
South Carolina vs Clemson best odds
South Carolina vs Clemson picks and predictions
Handicaps in this final week of the regular season often hinge on identifying motivation. A more typical thought may apply to South Carolina, though. The Gamecocks have won seven games already this season — they are going to a bowl game. Their upset of Tennessee last week, however, may have eased any South Carolina urgency.
A letdown would be understandable. The Gamecocks may have ridden that thrill right into Thanksgiving. But that kind of oversight will be costly against Clemson. Giving the Tigers any lead will inevitably lead to them running the ball more often — their motivation focused on a strong win before heading to the ACC title game.
There’s argument number one for where we will head here.
Once Clemson gets a decent lead — say, covering the -14.5 spread, or at least coming within the hook of doing so — it will gladly grind down South Carolina. The Tigers need a strong win, but not a riotous blowout. Beating the Gamecocks by 21 will be less important than simply controlling the entire game. That should provide Clemson the style points it needs to jump over Alabama in the College Football Playoff selection committee’s mind, about the only upward move the Tigers can guarantee themselves.
When DJ Uiagalelei is your quarterback, the best way to control a game is on the ground, especially when Will Shipley is your running back.
There’s argument number two.
Good news for Shipley, the Gamecocks’ rush defense is porous. Some analytics consider it the No. 121 rush defense in the country. But skip the advanced math and look at the gross stats: South Carolina gives up 188.4 rushing yards per game, No. 110 in the country, at 4.72 yards per rush, No. 109. Against Power Five opponents, the Gamecocks have given up 16 rushing touchdowns in eight games, including eight scores in their last five games.
So, the exact approach Clemson should want to lean on is the one that South Carolina struggles against most.
How to best approach this from a gambling perspective? Touchdown props. Unfortunately, the Shipley odds have gotten too cheap. With 13 rushing touchdowns this season, his anytime touchdown score odds are as low as -460. That’s not much of a best-bet suggestion. FanDuel sets his odds of scoring at least two touchdowns at +140 — tempting, even if he has scored multiple touchdowns only once in the last eight games.
A better payout can be had by betting on Kobe Pace to score just once. Who? Glad you asked. The junior running back missed five games through the crux of the season due to a high-ankle sprain. He returned last week and promptly enjoyed six touches in the red zone, scoring once.
In fact, his only touches came in the red zone. His score was his third of the season, a low number when about to recommend an anytime touchdown prop bet, but remember, that is three touchdowns in only six games, with one of them limited by that ankle injury.
Against a terrible run defense that may be underprepared this week and will tire of the physicality Clemson is likely to flex on Saturday, the Tigers should get multiple ball carriers across the goal line. In that case, betting on the longer odds is only prudent.
My best bet: Kobe Pace anytime touchdown (+350 at FanDuel)
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South Carolina vs Clemson spread analysis
This spread opened at -16 on Sunday, getting bet down to -14.0 momentarily before meeting enough resistance to rest at -14.5 the rest of the week. That’s a frustrating hook against an offense that just hung 63 points last week, including 21 in the fourth quarter.
Obviously, Clemson’s defense is better than Tennessee’s, but South Carolina will still pose a backdoor cover to worry for anyone backing the Tigers.
That said, Clemson has covered its last two games since its season took a turn for the worse at Notre Dame. The Tigers did not struggle with Louisville or Miami in the slightest. It probably is not a coincidence both those games were at home, as well. Against Power Five opponents, Clemson is 3-1 against the spread at home this year, falling short only in that turnover-riddled close win against Syracuse in late October. It can be tough to cover a two-touchdown spread when giving up a goal line-to-goal line scoop-and-score.
An early Tigers lead may balloon, simply because one of these teams has active motivation this week, while the other is coming off the biggest win in years.
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South Carolina vs Clemson Over/Under analysis
A handicap focused on a running game pretty clearly argues for the Under. Jumping over a total of 52 may require multiple Pace touchdowns, frankly.
Clemson’s offense has not been high-powered enough to threaten a number like this often this season, and its defense remains the best unit on the field nearly every week. Only one of the Tigers’ last seven games had a final score that would have cracked this total, and it fits in broad line with all those pregame totals.
South Carolina vs Clemson betting trend to know
South Carolina is 1-9-1 ATS in its last 11 games following an ATS win. Find more NCAA betting trends for South Carolina vs. Clemson.
South Carolina vs Clemson game info
|Location:||Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC|
|Date:||Saturday, November 26, 2022|
|Kickoff:||12:00 pm ET|
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