Chick-fil-A Bowl Odds
The eighth-ranked LSU Tigers (10-2) take on the 14th-ranked Clemson Tigers (10-2) Monday, Dec. 31 at 7:30 PM ET in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which will take place inside Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. ESPN has the coverage. Oddsmakers have listed LSU as a four-point favorite and have set the total at 58.5.
Why LSU Covers
LSU only has two losses this season and both of those were one-possession games against Florida and Alabama – two of the top teams in the country.
Florida (11-1) is ranked third and will be playing Louisville in the Sugar Bowl. Alabama (12-1) is ranked second and will be taking on Notre Dame in the BCS national championship game.
The LSU Tigers got the job done with defense this season. They enter the bowl season ranked eighth in the country in total defense with 297.1 yards allowed per game and 11th in scoring defense with 16.9 points allowed per game. The Clemson defense isn’t nearly as stingy.
Clemson ranks 76th in the nation in total defense with 411.2 yards allowed per game. It ranks 47th in scoring defense with 24.9 points allowed per contest.
LSU and Clemson faced two like opponents – South Carolina and Auburn. LSU went 2-0 in those games while Clemson went 1-1. Both teams defeated Auburn, but LSU defeated South Carolina 23-21 while Clemson lost to the Gamecocks 27-17.
LSU’s defense was the difference against South Carolina as it held the Gamecocks to only 211 yards of offense. Clemson, on the other hand, gave up 444 yards in its matchup.
LSU has been the better bowl bet in recent years as it is 5-2 against the spread in its last seven bowl games. Clemson is just 1-6 against the number in its last seven bowl appearances.
Why Clemson Covers
Clemson may not be getting the respect it deserves here considering how explosive it is offensively. It enters the bowl season ranked sixth in the nation in scoring with 42.3 points per game while LSU ranks 56th with 30.2 points per game. Clemson also ranks ninth in total offense with 518.3 yards per game while LSU ranks 80th with 387.2 yards per contest.
The Clemson Tigers showed they can put up big numbers against a good defense. They scored 37 points and racked up 426 yards on a Florida State stop unit that is even better than the one they’ll see in this game. The Seminoles rank second in total defense with 253.4 yards allowed per game and seventh in scoring defense with 15.1 points allowed per game.
Florida State won that game, but that’s because it also boasts a capable offense. The LSU offense isn’t even in the same category.
Clemson has been the better investment this season. It is 8-4 against the spread in all games and enters this contest on a 7-2 against the spread run. LSU is just 5-7 against the number this season and has failed to cover the spread in six of its last nine games.
Clemson has been an outstanding investment when catching more than a field goal. In fact, it is on a 26-12 against the spread run as an underdog of 3.5 to 10.0 points. It has lost these games on average but only by an average of 2.6 points.
I have picked Clemson to win this game. Be sure to check out the rest of my bowl predictions on this page. Get even more input on who wins this bowl game by looking at picks from Jack Jones, Carolina Sports, and Brandon Lee.